Modern Love Hyderabad, even though predictable, is interesting in parts and keeps you entertained emotionally, observes Divya Nair.
Modern Love Hyderabad is a Telugu anthology of six stories that explore different facets of love through simple, endearing and complex relationships between couples, parents and in-laws.
Each story is approximately 40 minutes long and Nagesh Kukunoor dominates the series with three stories.
But is it all worth your time?
The first one titled Why Did She Leave Me There? directed by Kukunoor, features Suhasini Maniratnam and Naresh Agastya.
Rohan aka Ramulu (Naresh) reluctantly visits the orphanage where his ailing grandmother Gangamma (Suhasini) left him when he was young.
As he revisits his childhood, we see the fondness they shared for each other.
The title aptly describes Ramulu's angst and vacuum after he was deprived of his grandmother's love and affection at such a young age.
Even in their meagre settings, Nagesh has beautifully woven each scene to bring you closer to his endearing characters.
In the scene where Ramulu's stepsister hands him Gangamma's handkerchief, her only and last memory, you'd want to reach out for a napkin as well because it tugs at your heartstrings so much.
It sets the tone for the series, wanting for more.
Finding Your Penguin is directed by Venkatesh Maha (who made Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya, the Telugu remake of the cult Malayalam film Maheshinte Prathikaaram).
Venkatesh attempts a novel twist at dating through his protagonist Indu (Komalee Prasad).
After breaking up with her boyfriend, 'nature lover' Indu discovers that human beings have a lot in common with their animals when it comes to dating.
In her quest to find the right partner, she chases different animals (men) based on their personalities to impress their partners.
Although the idea sounds interesting, somehow the characters don't quite live up to Indu's expectations.
After dating men who resemble the praying mantis, a peacock and a bower bird, Indu decides to go back to her penguin, basically her ex, because that's what soulmates are made of.
But does Indu find her penguin?
As Indu shares fascinating nuggets about men and dating, it's her introvert friend Subha who dishes a life-altering advice: Sometimes when words fail you, silence teaches you about love.
The third installment My Unlikely Pandemic Dream Partner has Kukunoor at its helm again.
Featuring Revathy and Nithya Menen, it navigates the friction between Mehrunissa (Revathy, as a religious mother) and Noori (Nithya, her atheist daughter).
Six years after Noori left home to marry a boy from another community, Mehrunissa visits her home to take care of her daughter who has undergone knee surgery. The unpleasant courtesy visit gets unexpectedly prolonged thanks to the nationwide lockdown.
If food were to describe a person's state of mind and relationship, this one gets it right from Day 1.
From the love laden biryani cooked to perfection from years of experience to the sweet melt-in-your mouth Qubani ka Meetha, love takes a bitter turn when the ignored mutton burns in ghee as the mother-daughter argue over their past.
Later, a peace offering is made in the form of biryani only to culminate in haleem, relished by both on a special day of emotions near Charminar.
You'd discover so many elements to this silly, funny, annoying yet special mother-daughter relationship that it will stay with you long after you have watched it.
Director Devika Bahudhanam's title About The Rustle in The Bushes may sound creepy, but the story is more than just that.
Sneha (Ulka Gupta) is the stereotype girl-next-door who wants to settle down and is desperately seeking matches on a traditional matrimony platform.
But every time she sets off on a date without informing her parents, her retired father (Naresh) sneaks on her with a pair of binoculars and an old-fashioned camera.
As she gets friendly with tattoo artist Jai (hot and charming Anirudh Pavithran), she discovers that her father was secretly stalking her. She distances herself from her father who is restless and worried about the safety of her future.
Although it might seem like you where this is all going, you are in a surprise.
After all, a father will never do anything wrong to harm his only daughter, dear bujji.
The sequences involving Sreedhar will guarantee you some laughs but the final moments of the film will take you on an emotional ride.
And that's where the film scores high.
Next up is What Clown Wrote This Script by Uday Gurrala.
Abijeet Duddala plays Ashwin, a talented producer who is bored to death, working on a mega television until he meets Vinni Bhardwaj (Malavika Nair), a stand-up comedian who offers a realistic take on stereotypes that exist.
Ashwin falls in love with the concept and the creator and the duo work together hoping to produce an exclusive show for OTT.
Due to creative differences, the show doesn't work in Vinni's favour and the two end up on a break.
For me, blame it partly on the language barrier (I don't speak or understand Telugu fluently), but the segment didn't interest me.
Right from their first uncomfortable hug, the chemistry between the lead characters is missing and the boring producer never quite ascends to display an emotional range.
Frankly, I wanted to ask too: Which Clown Wrote This Script? So dull and boring!
Just when you want to switch off and reboot, I see some hope when Nagesh's name pops up on screen to present the final one in the installment, Fuzzy Purple and Full of Thorns.
Cartoonist Renuka (Ritu Varma) accidentally bumps into Dr Uday (extra-ordinarily charming Adhi Pinishetty), a veterinary doctor who loves taking care of injured, abandoned street animals.
Though poles apart, the duo fall in love and move in together.
A year later, Renu discovers a pair of shady purple heels left behind by Anu, Uday's beautiful ex. She confronts Uday and wants him to get rid of the same. but somehow it doesn't bother Uday who confirms that he has already moved on and Renu should stop being so obsessed over it.
Renu tries every trick in the book to get rid of the fuzzy pair of footwear, but it creeps deeper into their happy relationship, almost breaking them apart.
Once again, Nagesh deserves credit for using sketches and imagery to describe exactly how Renu feels about the whole situation.
It's a welcome change to blend old with new and it works perfectly well for this segment.
Overall, the series, even though predictable, is interesting in parts and keeps you entertained emotionally.
If you are someone who cares too much, you'll need a napkin to wipe those tears after watching some of the emotional sequences.
Special mention to M M Keeravani for creating the beautiful theme song and vocalist Hymath Mohammed for rendering Snehame and soaring your viewing pleasure.
Modern Love Hyderabad streams on Amazon Prime Video.