Six love tales. Six odes to Mumbai. Modern Love, the madly well-liked NYT column which been filmed as a collection set in New York, now has a Mumbai version, the town which is soul-sister to NYC in some ways — in its capability to soak up the tens of millions who preserve streaming in, including to those that are already there, straining on the jib. Where do you go to, besides the ocean-front, for a little bit of air, some dalliance, a much-needed break from day by day strife? And to tales which maintain out hope.
Not for nothing, because the cliché goes, is Mumbai essentially the most cosmopolitan of all Indian cities. Even with parochialism creeping in, it holds out its munificent arms to migrants from all around the nation who undergo her chaotic embrace, as a result of it provides them an opportunity to be one thing they don’t seem to be, perchance to dream, and a approach to fulfil them.
A shy fresh-off-the-boat fellow goes for a run within the morning, and fantasises about an older girl (Sarika) throughout the day, whilst he piles up one rejection letter after one other searching for that elusive job. News flash, she does too. Manzu (Pratik Gandhi) is within the closet, heading off marriage proposals from his fearful of us: will his ailing grandma (Tanuja) free him up, to enjoy his one real love? The surprising connection between a content-to-be-in-Thane boy and searching-for-the-right-someone metropolis woman (Masaba Gupta) performs out in whorls of dialog (Richard Linklater a lot?) over concern for the atmosphere and attractive missal: is it one thing of a curio, or will they be capable to keep on with it? A possessive mum (Yeo Yann Yann) of Chinese origin holds on to her traditions and her son (Meiyang Chang) whereas heading off a ‘vegetarian daayan’ (Wamiqa Gabbi). A voluble Kashmiri younger girl (Fatima Sana Shaikh) learns the fun of being free as she navigates the insurmountable distance between Mumbai’s holey jhuggis and fancy high-rises. And a much-married couple (Arshad Warsi and Chitrangda Singh), him a everlasting ‘late-lateef’, her a grumbling mum buried underneath calls for from ‘pati’ and ‘bachcha’, tries to search out her writerly mojo –the pleasant Warsi giving off shades of an Amol Palekar character in a Basu Bhattacharya set-in-Bombay-movie, that director who was creating fashionable romantic classics again within the day in a metropolis that was.
I’ve a pal who laughs at me each time I inform her that Mumbai is the one true ‘mahanagar’ (metropolis) India has. In my head, I inform her to be quiet and let me soak within the electrical, salt-laden air of this metropolis which by no means sleeps. Do these tales match as much as the town they’re set in? Mumbai is a tough act to comply with. Did I fall into the identical awed-affection whereas I used to be watching this collection? Maybe not all the way in which, no. Because in a couple of segments, the tropes aren’t freshened sufficient, regardless of the try at giving the plots new settings. And some stretch the central conceit for a bit too lengthy, tagged by cosy bumper-sticker philosophical finish notes.
Still, every story does have one thing uniquely Mumbai about it — claiming the Sea Link in a humble car which isn’t allowed on it, a touch throughout the town in an area practice (in case you haven’t carried out a type of, you haven’t lived, even in case you emerge, crushed, on the opposite aspect), the internal workings of a Bollywood music studio, belligerent film administrators being accosted by hopeful singers who belt out their wares in urinals (sure, a real city legend). And a couple of have components which we might not have encountered earlier than: a Sardar (Naseeruddin Shah) who understands Chinese (Cantonese?) and common human feelings, for instance.
And total, regardless of a niggle right here and there, ‘Modern Love Mumbai’, produced by Pritish Nandy Communications, does what it units out to. It provides us some characters we start liking as we go alongside: Fatima Sana Shaikh begins off ultra-excitable, and is so further that you simply lengthy to inform her to relax, however then she settles all the way down to her vivid, bodily efficiency. Real-life chef Ranveer Brar, who has lengthy turned every of his YouTube cooking episodes into an act, isn’t any actor, not but at the least, however makes up for it by his display screen presence, though essentially the most wonderful Pratik Gandhi should discover ways to actually savour a meaty ‘nihari’ earlier than we imagine he can. Then there are the performers whom we’re programmed to love: it’s great to see such actors as Tanuja and Sarika get one thing actual to do.
And once you see that couple lastly get a second to themselves at Marine Drive, creating their very own privateness in that almost all public of areas, you fall in love with Mumbai, another time.
Modern Love Mumbai solid: Sarika, Tanuja, Pratok Gandhi, Masaba Gupta, Fatima Sana, Shaikh, Meiyang Chang, Arshad Warsi, Wamiqa Gabbi, Chitrangda Singh
Modern Love Mumbai director: Six segments, directed by Alankrita Srivastava, Dhruv Sehgal, Shonali Bose, Hansal Mehta, Vishal Bhardwaj, Nupur Ashthana