The Tamil web series Modern Love Chennai is now streaming on Prime Video in the UAE. It is directed by Bharathirajaa, Thiagarajan Kumararaja, Akshay Sundher, Balaji Sakthivel, Rajumurugan and Krishnakumar Ramakumar.
Casting includes Sri Gouri Priya, Vasudevan Murali, Vasundhara, Ashok Selvan, T.J. Bhanu, Ritu Varma, Samyuktha Viswanathan, Pawan Alex, Aniiruth Kanakarajan, Sanjula Sarathi, Chu Khoy Sheng, Srikrishna Dayal, Kishore, Ramya Nambessan, Vijayalakshmi, Wamiqa Gabbi and PB
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How to watch Modern Love Chennai in the UAE for free
Modern Love Chennai is streaming on Amazon Prime in the UAE. You can sign up for a 30-day free trial for Amazon Prime to watch the show.
Tamil web series Modern Love Chennai review
The two previous Indian Modern Love iterations — Mumbai and Hyderabad — suffered from what most anthologies on OTT are often afflicted with — patchiness and unevenness. But that comes with the territory, as anthologies are a bunch of stories helmed by different directors with different sets of actors and technicians.
However, Modern Love Chennai has one collective creative producer — Thiagarajan Kumararaja and team oversaw the entire project — and it helps. Finally, we get a bunch of stories- six to be precise- that feel part of a single source in terms of technical feel. That helps even if the sensibility and stories are vastly different as they should be.
For the first time in the Modern Love series, we see the city’s spirit, at least in a few episodes. Both Mumbai and Hyderabad versions felt highly generic in that the respective cities did not seem to have any intrinsic part to play in the proceedings. In Modern Love Chennai, some characters, especially in Imaigal (Blur), directed by Balaji Sakthivel, truly belong to the city. An unpretentious Chennai decidedly shapes middle-class couples’ outlooks.
Also, Modern Love Chennai has the best music among the three Indian attempts in the franchise. The maestro Ilaiyaraaja has helmed the score for two episodes — Margazhi by Akshay Sundher and Ninaivo Oru Paravai by Thiagarajan Kumararaja.
Still, not all the episodes are standouts. Only three make a strong impact (Margazhi, Ninaivo Oru Paravai, Imaigal), while three others are wishy-washy. Further, a few episodes felt stretched for no particular reason.
This reviewer started with Rajumurugan’s Lalagunda Bommaigal gets right down to the theme as it ponders about the joy of love and the agony of its failure with a character musing the age-old paradox you cannot live with men and cannot live without them either. Its vice-versa is also equally true.
Shoba (Sri Gouri Priya) is emerging from a disappointment with love in the lower-middle class ethos, where it is widely believed that conservatism rules; she seems to be different as she falls for the sweet-talking pani puri seller Nathuram (Vasudevan Murali). The story is not simplistically about one failure of love is not the end of it all. But it tries to look beyond and below the surface of what people are. Sean Rolden’s music and songs add the right aural ambience to the story. The slang and setting have an organic feel. Love’s good feelings are felt in the heart, while the scars of love are seen all over the body.
Balaji Sakthivel’s Imaigal (Blur), written by Balaji Tharaneetharan, is again set in a middle-class setting through the story of Nithya (Ashok Selvan) and Devi (TJ Bhanu). They fall in love when in college, but after marriage, Devi starts losing her eyesight, and suddenly their love-dovey life is thrown off gear. It is a story that, in the hands of a less skilful director, could have been turned into an exploitative maudlin story. But Balaji Saksthivel keeps the emotions in check without diluting anything. And Bhanu’s performance, which is utterly realistic, helps matters a lot.
If situations and events change people in Imaigal, people change and alter situations in Paravai Kootil Vaazhum Maangal, written by Pratheep Kumar S and directed by Bharathiraja. The film is a tribute to another filmmaker Balu Mahendra, with the main characters named after the actors who played the leads in the 1993 film Marupadiyum (Ravi, Revathi and Rohini).
As in that Balu Mahendra film, this one, too, is a three-way love where Ravi (Kishore) drifts apart from his wife Revathi (Ramya Nambeesan) for no particular reason, and takes a liking to Rohini (Vijayalakshmi) whom he meets on the train daily. The director’s smartness is that he does not make it about the man here but instead focuses on the two women who sit and talk about the troubling issue between them. That is a mature move. But the episode sees the characters speak much.
Kaadhal Enbadhu Kannula Heart Irukkura Emoji, directed by Krishnakumar Ramakumar, is light in its treatment and is about Mallika (Ritu Varma), who loves cinema. Her expectation of love in real life, too, is a bit cinematic. And when things don’t work out, her emotional clutch to deal with that is also cinema. (She looks for break-up songs for women). But the episode does not attempt to make any larger point, and whether that is good is difficult to tell. GV Prakash’s Kukunnu, with its Punjabi flavour, adds pep and pulsation.
Director Akshay Sundher’s Margazhi is about how to deal with the pangs of divorce – not by the couple concerned but by their daughter. And the young girl Jazmine (Sanjula Sarathi), an aspiring musician, tries to find solace through music, and Milton (Chu Khoy Sheng) from her church choir. The episode, with Ilaiyaraaja’s bouncy song Nenjil Oru Minnal Vilayadum, shows us the bounce of teenage love.
The final story- the longest in the anthology, Ninaivo Oru Paravai (directed by Thiagarajan Kumararaja), is typically whimsical and zany, the director’s trademark. The story is surreal as it is about an aspiring actress Sam (Wamiqa Gabbi), and an aspiring filmmaker K (PB). She is emotionally extreme and fragile as she is recovering from a breakup. He, on the other hand, has memory issues following an accident. The two hook up, and we get a trippy journey into psychoanalysis alongside no-holds-barred physical intimacy. It, as with TK’s previous works, has a psychedelic feel. Ilaiayraaja’s riffs — raunchy and rainbow-hued — are just the right fit for the episode.
Overall, Modern Love Chennai is better off than Mumbai and Hyderabad. In style, substance and sensibilities.
An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.