Ria and Varun seem to live in a bubble where they have hardly any friends and are never seen doing normal young people things like just hanging out with the gang.
There is a hell of a lot of snogging, but hardly any real conversation, observes Deepa Gahlot.
Only in India would a young couple seek their parents' permission to live together. And only in a Web series trying to tap the attention of Gen Z would conservative parents agree.
The first season of Minus One was a romcom, in which Ria (Aisha Ahmed) and Varun (Ayush Mehra) fell in love, moved in together, broke up and continued to live in that gorgeous Delhi bungalow as friends.
Not a very plausible scenario in which two people whose scorching sex is evidently the main reason for their being together, suddenly become chaste towards each other.
Minus One: Next Chapter is more of the same, but with much weeping and spilling of angst.
The show, directed by Shubham Yogi who has also co-written it with Gauri Pandit, is about a privileged class that can give up well-paying jobs to take up gigs like photography or dream of becoming pilots.
In this season, Ria and Varun seem to live in a bubble where they have hardly any friends and are never seen doing normal young people things like just hanging out on the weekend with the gang.
There is a hell of a lot of snogging, but hardly any real conversation.
Today's generation lives with ideas of independence and sexual freedom taken from the West, but also surrounded by media and advertising selling them the idea of marriage and parenthood. Hardly anyone has the luxury of 'falling out of love'.
It is, of course, a possibility, but for a break-up or divorce, a less flimsy reason is usually required.
The structure that goes back and forth, before and after the break-up is clever and tough to pull off. That and the use of split screens to portray the distance between the two even when there are in the room is a nice device, but does not make it easier for the audience to understand the characters better.
That is a drawback, considering they are together a lot, and their interactions with others -- parents, co-workers, friends -- are kept to a minimum.
No matter how much the viewer sympathises with the decline and end of their relationship, the two also come across as self-centered and immature.
Also, why should the only conflict points in a modern-day relationship be as clichéd as pregnancy and illness of a parent?
Lionsgate Play is probably trying to attract a young viewership with Indian content made for them -- this does seem similar to Netflix's Little Things -- and marketed the show with front page ads in mainstream newspapers.
Aisha Ahmed and Ayush Mehra are talented, attractive and uninhibited, which is a plus for the series.
Minus One: Next Chapter does work in fits and starts, but most of the time, it is just an overwrought retelling of the romantic problems of a couple that is not all that worth rooting for. Even if they were married, the graph would not have been too different.
And just by the way, millennials did not invent live-in or open relationships, boomers had done it decades ago.
Minus One: Next Chapter streams on Lionsgate Play.