Following its debut in Mumbai, the Indian version of the Modern Love series, based on the New York Times columns of the same name, makes its way to Hyderabad. Six short films in this anthology focus on one of India's most beautiful cities, justly acclaimed for its North-South location, distinct Dakkhani culture, syncretic nature, wonderful food, fabulous fabric, and more. Here's our Modern Love Hyderabad review for you.
Even though the stories in Modern Love Hyderabad are about boy-meets-girl relationships, the undertone is about re-enforcing familial bonds – for example, between father and daughter. In Devika Bahadhunam's About That Rustle in the Bushes, we learn why the father is overprotective of his daughter. Rather than being judgemental, the straightforward account highlights the father's shame and desire to see his daughter happy. V K Naresh simply steals the show, and Ulka Gupta is effective.
Another dating tale about seeking a change in the Hyderabad entertainment sector is filmmaker Uday Gurrala's What Clown Wrote This Script!, which stars Malvika Nair as a stand-up comic and Abijeet Duddala as a producer who wants to explore the OTT arena rather than continue with television soaps. The Jandhyala film festival adds a wonderful Telugu twist to this workplace romance. The stand-up comedy segments aren't quite laugh-out-loud funny, but they nail it in their insights on ordinary young Telugu males. It would have been intriguing if Malvika's character had expanded on the stereotype of a Telugu woman.
Finding your Penguin, directed by Venkatesh Maha, is the only dating story that bravely ventures into uncharted terrain. When the female protagonist, played by Komalee Prasad, compares the guys she dates to animals and birds just because she is a microbiologist, it appears strange. Some parts are so out of the ordinary that you have to suspend your disbelief. There are also some laugh-out-loud moments, such as when the female lead's friends give her romance advice and later when she dismisses a guy for being too flawless and uninteresting, much like a Telugu cinema hero! Rag Mayur and Ankith Koyya, among others, are mentioned in this narrative, which also mentions Vipassana classes near Hyderabad.
Fuzzy, Purple, and Full of Thorns, directed by Nagesh Kukunoor and starring Aadhi Pinisetty and Ritu Varma, focuses primarily on a couple's relationship troubles. When Kukunoor wrote and produced Hyderabad Blues in the late 1990s, he poked fun at traditional Hyderabad parents whose notion of being modern and broad-minded' was allowing their son or daughter to speak to a prospective bride/groom in the adjacent room. More than two decades later, in a funny section, he depicts two sets of parents who act unconcerned about their children's live-in relationships, but their brains' voices emphasize the need for a quick wedding. This slice-of-life drama is enhanced by Aadhi and Ritu's performances.
In all of these stories, the characters are basically likable folks who are allowed to sort out little concerns.
Even in the grandmother and grandson narrative, which alternates between a slum, an orphanage, and a spotlessly immaculate office area. "Why Did She Leave Me There?" with Suhasini Maniratnam, Naresh Agastya, and Krishna Manjusha might have been set in any city, yet it works beautifully in the context of Hyderabad. The rhythms are incredibly predictable, but they have the ability to make our eyes tear up. Suhasini's performance is unsurprising, but Naresh Agastya stands out as the CEO/motivational speaker who must reconcile with his past.