After all the planning, learning, unlearning and dreaming that we do, relationships sometimes fail us. Modern Love: Mumbai—an anthology of six nuanced love stories set in Mumbai—offers a searing and refreshingly different portrayal of love and longing in modern times. The series is an Indian take on the American show, Modern Love, inspired by The New York Times's eponymous column.
In one of the shorts called 'Raat Rani', Lalzari (Fatima Sana Shaikh) is a Kashmiri woman who lives within a stone’s throw of Shah Rukh Khan’s house. Lalzari takes delight in the simple pleasures of life, be it a ride across the Bandra-Worli Sea Link or relishing an ice-cream. She loves her husband even when their relationship turns precarious. When he leaves her, she thinks he is messing with her. It hits home only when he asks her to change her WhatsApp profile picture of both of them together. The episode, directed by Shonali Bose, follows Lalzari's journey from abandonment to self-empowerment.
Chef Ranveer Brar and Pratik Gandhi play prominent roles in 'Baai', which is about a gay couple. When Gandhi's Manzu tells his ailing grandmother about his boyfriend, she does not fret or fume. For her, all that matters is love.
'Mumbai Dragon' is full of tantalising culinary montages. It tells the story of Sui Mei, an Indo-Chinese mother who keeps her Chinese roots alive. Mei is concerned about her son Ming, who has fallen in love with “a vegetarian witch”. “Have you ever thought about how you will live your entire life without garlic and on vegetables only?” she asks him. “Only dim sum and noodles will be cooked in my house. You will only marry within our community.” Ming finally gathers the courage to tell her that she is smothering him with her love. He puts his foot down and follows his heart.
In 'My Beautiful Wrinkles', one loses oneself in the breathtaking beauty of Mumbai. The short tells us that “there is no right age for love and romance”. Kunal (Danesh Razvi) falls in love with Dilbar (Sarika), who is 30 years older than him. Dilbar feels she led him on and is caught in a whirlpool of emotions ranging from guilt and embarrassment to shame. After Kunal confesses his love to her, Dilbar realises that she, too, is in love. However, she decides to keep it limited to sexual fantasies and the occasional coffee.
It is hard to find love in today’s times. 'I Love Thane', directed by Dhruv Sehgal, features Saiba (Masaba Gupta)—a cool 34-year-old landscape designer who struggles to find the right modern man amidst “the plethora of men running around online dating”. Gupta is paired with Ritwik Bhowmik, who plays municipal officer Parth.
Nupur Asthana’s 'Cutting Chai' has Chitrangada Singh and Arshad Warsi in the lead. It is about a woman stuck in a rut and struggling with her dreams. Singh's Latika wonders “where is all the love, the romance and the adventure that was promised in the movies and books we read all our lives?”
Modern Love: Mumbai tells relatable stories that are full of insights. It expands the horizon of love from a simplistic boy-girl relationship and takes you on an emotional roller-coaster. It is a must-watch for everyone wanting to fall in love. Each short is around 40 minutes long, and perfect to binge on during your lunch break.
MODERN LOVE: MUMBAI
Available on Amazon Prime Video