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TV Review: Modern Love Mumbai (2022)

Modern Love Mumbai is the Indian version of the Amazon Original anthology series, ‘Modern Love‘. MLM follows the same aesthetics as the original work. Set in Mumbai, each of the six episodes present different love stories expressing freedom and questioning the boundary to reach the human desire.

Modern Love was set in New York and all the stories were based on the essays published in The New York Times under the same title. So I am not sure if MLM also followed this route. But each of the stories has its significance and has the essence of the plot’s simplicity to sensualize. These stories are very close to life and most of the audience can relate.

Three of the six stories are about married women thoroughly divided in ages. One is as young as their twenties, the second is in her forties, and the third is in her late fifties or mid-sixties. One is about homosexuals, and another is about a young woman searching for the ideal man through a dating app. And there is one particular for the Northeast Indian mother-son story who is in the conflict of getting or not getting mixed in multiculturalism. So this indicates that MLM was written and developed with care.

I liked the panel of directors who worked on their part of the stories. Shonali Bose returned to the director’s seat for Raat Rani years after ‘The Sky Is Pink‘. Raat Rani is about A girl from Dal Lake, Lali, who marries a Mumbaikar, a security guard Lutfi and arrives in Mumbai but her life is dull until Lutfi is transferred to the other station leaving his bicycle behind for her.

Hansal Mehta directed a controversial episode ‘Baai‘ about homosexuality. Hansal previously directed ‘Aligarh‘ with the same subject. This is about Manzar Ali who belongs to a conservative Muslim household but is interested in men but is not able to tell his ailing grandmother Baai.

Another veteran director Vishal Bhardwaj did the Northeastern family drama ‘Mumbai Dragon‘ where the mother faces difficulty in accepting her son with his girlfriend who doesn’t belong to her ethnicity.

Alankrita Srivastava did ‘My Beautiful Wrinkles‘ about an old widow Dilbar who takes interest in a young athlete Kunal, a plot that is similar to one of the four stories in her ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha‘. Alankritas direction is like a wave for the liberalism of womanhood where she develops bold intentions in the plot and addresses them in a peculiar way. Alankrita shows the loneliness of Dilbar that absorbs and the passion and hunger in women in general for more adequate lust melts young men to daydream and draw their nudity in their honest illustration. Sticking with the old memories may lessen your optimism. Confessing private intentions is courageous but healthy for releasing the negative energy she had in life.

Super excited to see Little Things-famed Dhruv Sehgal who directed one of the episodes ‘I Love Thane‘ about Saiba who is seeking her ideal through a dating app but gives a shot at Parth to whom she finds out through work this time.

Nupur Asthana did the last episode ‘Cutting Chai‘ about a married woman Latika in her forties thinking about her life decisions, about becoming a wife, and a mother but not a novelist, something that was her ambition.

It is the beauty of small portions in the screenplay that gives you the feel about how these things matter in life, the human connection is strong in the drama. Like in Cutting Chai, Latika begins to regret her life decisions and imagine people around her agreeing and disagreeing with her. That is indicating how careful a young man or woman was when he/she was young and had to listen to society about what he/she should have decided and what not. In Raat Rani, Lali is about to throw her husband’s old bicycle from the flyover until she thinks about utilizing it by learning to ride it and earn bread through it.

Modern Love Mumbai is the positive energy that addresses optimism and encourages us to move on or give it a chance. Although, any tv or film product can have similar elements, but the beauty of MLM stories is that the plot inclines towards a push that is needed to make the audience think. The continuity of each episode never looks pressing too hard at all.

I enjoyed when Dilbar gives a try to fantasize about young athlete Kunal in the fourth story or Manzar meets Rajveer after his fondness for the previous boy matters into heartbreak in the second episode. Same case with Saiba who gives a shot at Parth by breaking her norm to find men from the dating app. That explained a lot. Therefore, the audience gets to learn or realize a few things in life if not all by watching Modern Love Mumbai.

I don’t remember if I ever happened to see Naseeruddin Shah playing a Sikh character, that is another accomplishment in his celebrated career I reckon. Good to see Sarika after a long time, she deserves to get more recognition. Pratik Gandhi is quite an actor who has the ability to play different roles. From a rich Gujarati stockbroker to a Muslim homosexual from a conservative household, Pratik really has made a distinction in his choices. For me, from all the stories, the one actor amongst all who is the winner is Fatima Sana Shaikh in the first episode. The accent, the body language, the emotional breakdown, everything was there. She nailed her character. It was a delight to see such a quality performance.

MLM has impressive writing and direction as well as quality performances due to good choices about casting in the stories. Ram Sampath‘s music score is very touching and full of life. Modern Love’s creator John Carney was involved in financing MLM so that is also why the tone was maintained and none of the makers Bollyfied with curry aesthetics.

There is every capacity to go for more than one season. Because MLM is all about some quality essays to write about and stories to speak about. Stories will never die, and love won’t compromise. There is much human connection still to work on through different mediums. So MLM must go on.

TV Review: The Golden Girls

Four old women, Dorothy (Beatrice Arthur), her 80yo mother Sophia (Estelle Getty), Rose (Betty White), and Blanche (Rue McClanahan) live together in Miami and become fast friends for years. During this time, these girls come across many incidents, relationships, women issues, and funny events. It is an unbreakable bond that keeps you entertain.

The Golden Girls was one of the earliest sitcoms that was majorly or fully based on women. A show that was run by an all-female lead cast back in the 1980s was a bold move for any producer in those times. We as the audience hardly remember such sitcoms where the female lead ran the business in the right direction. A few ‘female’ sitcoms that I remember to be released before The Golden Girls were Maude, The Facts of Life, The Mary Tyle Moore Show, and Laverne & Shirley. But the distinction The Golden Girls had was that the show was genuinely run by the four leading women. None of the male cast of the show had any capacity of a potential supporting character. Besides a few, mostly showed up in special appearances in one or a couple of episodes.

THE GOLDEN GIRLS — “One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest: Part 1 & 2” Episode 05/09/1992 — Pictured: (l-r) Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo; Bea Arthur as Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak; Betty White as Rose Nylund; Rue McClanahan as Blanche Devereaux– Photo by: Joseph Del Valle/NBCU Photo Bank

And the four golden girls were all talented artists. Rue had Maude and Mama’s Family in her credits and Estelle made her name in the theaters and got recognition from this show. Betty White was already a tv legend and Beatrice Arthur was an immensely popular feminist actress in theater and television. It was magic when they appeared together. The formula of their presence and collective comic timing worked thanks to solid writing throughout seven seasons and 180 episodes. It was not only a sitcom as a source of guffaws but also an opportunity to raise any concerns that women felt an obstacle in their walks of life like the elders facing the upstart generation, the status of a homosexual in the society, being overweight, choosing a career at an old age and facing the challenges, and many more.

The writing and performances in The Golden Girls are the heart and soul. The writers had so much to talk about and would construct a well-timed comic line. Each of the four leading characters carried weight and were tough on each other. You cannot say that Sophia was the show stealer for her being a tough Sicilian mother and getting the best jokes from the others. The others played prominent roles as well. Sophia’s daughter Dorothy, a school teacher, had the command in the house. Horny Blanche was obsessed with men and slept with many dozens of them. Swedish immigrant Rose was the group’s dumbest individual who just couldn’t get the point in the conversation and believe anything she is told.

I must mention how strange the chemistry of the Petrillo mother and daughter was. Estelle Getty who played mother Sophia was actually a year younger than Dorothy actress Beatrice Arthur. It was such an impressive make-up that used to take three hours to shape her into the character. But what an enjoyable character that turned out to be.

The Golden Girls has a loyal following within the LGBTQ community. That is because of the story arcs that brought gay characters to highlight their distinction. The sitcom was one of the first to tackle the issue of HIV/AIDS. All four leading actresses were gay supporters.

Legendary celebrities like Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney, Debbie Reynolds, Julio Iglesias, Sonny Bono, and Burt Reynolds appeared as guests in the sitcom that guaranteed the audience sticking to their television.

Here is one shocking FUN FACT! The-then unknown extra Quentin Tarantino impersonated Elvis Presley in one of the episodes, Sophia’s Wedding. That episode was so popular that the residual checks that Tarantino earned by its repeated airing helped him in the making of his debut film, Reservoir Dogs.

Not to forget, George Clooney showed up in one episode for a small role. He wanted a part in the show so he can qualify for his union medical insurance.

It has been almost three decades to this sitcom and as much as the voice of feminism has met its global recognition now, The Golden Girls represents the true nature of liberty and advocates the rights of women and their rank in society. This sitcom with four old ladies met huge success in the decade that was dominated by The Cosby Show, Married With Children, and Cheers. The popularity of the sitcom can be judged this way that the final episode of the show in 1992 was watched by 27.2 million people. The show is recommended to those who are willing to watch a comedy with a different plot and content.

My favorite episodes of The Golden Girls:
S01 – E02 – Guess Who’s Coming to the Wedding?
S01 – E03 – Rose The Prude
S01 – E04 – Transplant
S01 – E20 – Adult Education
S01 – E23 – Blind Ambitions
S02 – E01 – End of the Curse
S02 – E02 – Ladies of the Evening
S02 – E06 – Big Daddy’s Little Lady
S02 – E09 – Joust Between Friends
S02 – E23 – Son-In-law Dearest
S03 – E01 – Old Friends
S03 – E10 – The Audit
S03 – E14 – Blanche’s Little Girl
S03 – E23 – Mixed Belonging
S04 – E06 – Sophia’s Wedding (1)
S04 – E07 – Sophia’s Wedding (2)
S04 – E10 – Stan Takes a Wife
S04 – E17 – You Gotta Have Hope
S04 – E19 – Till Death Do We Volley
S04 – E21 – Little Sister
S05 – E03 – The Accurate Conception
S05 – E04 – Rose Fights Back
S05 – E11 – Edd Tide
S05 – E16 – Clinton Avenue Memoirs
S05 – E18 – An Illegitimate Concern
S06 – E06 – Wham, Bam, Thank You, Mammy
S06 – E09 – Mrs. George Devereaux
S06 – E12 – Ebbtide’s Revenge
S06 – E14 – Sisters of the Bride
S06 – E19 – Melodrama
S06 – E23 – Love for Sale
S07 – E03 – Beauty and the Beast
S07 – E04 – That’s For Me to Know
S07 – E11 – Room 7
S07 – E15 – Goodbye Mr. Gordon
S07 – E16 – The Commitments
S07 – E19 – Journey to the Center of Attention
S07 – E22 – Rose: Portrait of a Woman
S07 – E23 – Home Again, Rose (1)
S07 – E24 – Home Again, Rose (2)
S07 – E25 – One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest (1)
S07 – E26 – One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest (2)