Modern Love Mumbai: The battle for love in the city of dreams!
Cast: Fatima Sana Sheikh, Pratik Gandhi, Meiyang Chang, Chitrangadha Singh, Arshad Warsi, and others
Using India’s city of dreams, Mumbai as the backdrop, Amazon Prime’s Modern Love Mumbai explores modern love stories that stretch across various class, religions, and ethnicity. Mumbai to India is what New York is to the US, like a soul sister. And just like the American show Modern Love which is set in New York, Modern Love Mumbai also looks into the beautiful city and how it weaves gorgeous stories. The show compromises of six soulful and unique short stories that look into what love means to different people. These love stories are embedded beautifully with the common theme of love setting them all free.
Raat Rani by Shonali Bose has Fatima Sana Sheikh playing Lali, a young Kashmiri maid whose husband abandons her on a sporadic morning. She struggles to set herself in the big city, juggling between managing her commute to work and fixing her roof. For me, this segment was the most average and predictable one. Fatima, with her perfect Kashmiri accent and mannerism, truly shines. Not for a moment, she lets go of the character.
Hansal Mehta and Pratik Gandhi reunite after the successful Scam 1992 for a story that is nowhere close to their initial project. While Scam 1992 was thrilling and dark, Baai is a subtle, poignant tale filled with emotions. Pratik plays Manzu, a Muslim man who comes out as gay. While the rest of his family accepts his sexuality as time recedes, Manzu is yet to tell his grandmother, whom he affectionately calls Baai, about his identity. Pratik Gandhi does total justice to Manzu. The vulnerability that Manzu experiences while falling in love with Rajveer could not have been done better. The segment elicits all emotions from the audience.
Mumbai Dragon, the third segment in the series is a clear winner. Helmed by Vishal Bhardwaj, the story is set in the Indo-Chinese community in a corner of Mumbai. It explores both external and intrinsic emotions and pays attention to the sensitivities of the cultural setup. Yeo Yann Yann is the best find in the entire series. The way she expresses her anger when her son falls in love with an Indian girl doesn’t go overboard but projects her insecurities about losing her culture and sharing her son with another person. It is cute how she goes along with the love-hate relationship with her son and his girlfriend.
A twenty-something young man falling in love with a sixty-something years old woman; sounds odd right? But the fourth segment, My Beautiful Wrinkles, directed by Alankrita Srivastav, handles this subject delicately, resulting in a very poetic film. The two main characters, in the process, explore themselves and let go of the past relationships that have been holding them. My Beautiful Wrinkles is yet another delightful segment in the series.
I Love Thane feels a little isolated from the rest of the segments. It is beautiful and impressive but different from the rest of the segments in some way.
My favorite of all the six shorts is Cutting Chai, which explores the monotony of married life. The segment puts ahead a very realistic picture which ends well as well. It attempts to find beauty in this monotony, in the simplest of things.
Modern Love: Mumbai uses the common elements in Mumbai like local trains, cutting chai, nights at marine drive, and the Bandra-Worli Sea Link as a symbolism of love. Though not comparable to the original New York edition, the show is an impressive take on the battle for love in the backdrop of the city of dreams.
Image Courtesy: YouTube