I was very cautious before tuning into Little Things' last season, which was released on Netflix on October 15th. Over the course of its recent seasons, the show had grown so personal to me that it had the potential of messing up with some of my own emotional experiences. So, I took my time and let all the hype settle down before going in. Unsurprisingly, the last season of the series which has defined what modern love in India could look like, hits all the right chords. In fact, it pulled at my heart strings with even a greater effect this time around.
After over a year of long-distance, Kavya and Dhruv are finally reunited on a vacation in Kerala. They try bridging the awkwardness at first, by quite cheekily ignoring the elephant in the room, but soon address and act upon it. Within the first two episodes, we realise that these aren't the Dhruv and Kavya we knew from season one, who would sit and argue over what food to order for an entire day.
Munnar's gorgeous tea gardens set the backdrop for one episode. In the other, shot in Kochi, we get some of the best shot composition and wide angle cinematography we've seen in an Indian web series. Kavya learns what turning 30 might bring along with it. Later in the season, her back starts giving up on her, both metaphorically and literally. And yet, she finds peace in her own company on her birthday, strolling through Fort Kochi. She even attends an AA-like meeting where people tell each other important stories about their lives, in what is addressed as "human library". It's in such moments, that the true brilliance of the show emerges. Our main characters would just be sitting at the back, at the corner of the frame, in a way telling us how ordinary their lives are. The last season too, finds its purpose in the mundane. Meanwhile our NRI returned from Finland, Dhruv, meets a friend who talks about his ordinary underachiever dad, and how his relationship with him was the most ideal one. While struggling to come to terms with his own father, Dhruv listens to him standing there, patiently.
Through the 10-minute mini-episodes, Dhruv Sehgal's writing up until season three assured on successfully portraying modern love to us in a way we had never seen before. This time around, writers Abhinandan Sridhar, Nupur Pai, Garima Pura Patiyaalvi and Gaurav Patki make sure that the characters we've all grown old with, remain grounded and true to themselves. More Indian writers and directors need to take notice of how a minimalist approach can work so magnificently and organically when done with enough care. They get at perfecting the extensions of these characters and even get all the little nuances right. Some viewers feel that the excitement which the first two seasons had, has been missing from the latter two. But that's precisely the point of the show. Most stories we see in mainstream cinema, are aimed at asking the question- how? How do people come across each other? How do they convince their parents into marrying each other? How would they together overcome the financial barriers? Little Things has been asking those questions too, right from where it all began. But it also asks the question- Why? Why do relationships work? What goes into making them work? Why do two people remain together even after years of living the same life? Why do we constructively change ourselves over the years, once we find that right person? Why has Dhruv, the kind of guy who was once so used to having sudden outbursts of anger, gotten so mellow and mature at dealing with challenging circumstances now? Why is Kavya so worried about missing out on her new job opportunity? Our generation has never really had the chance of projecting all our subjective notions about what love in modern India means, so profoundly at a web series. A show, that is wholly Indian and relevant to its culture.
In the last episode, Dhruv is nervous about speaking to his father, during a house party that he's arranged to introduce his and Kavya's parents together, officially. He stands there in the balcony and mentions of feeding millet to birds to cut through the awkwardness. This one scene perfectly embodies their entire father-son relationship; sometimes it's better to let feelings reverberate by using the bare minimum words. Callbacks are made to the first two seasons- midnight walks around Mumbai and chai. A song playing on the radio is enough to bring back a thousand old memories- not just of these two characters. It just made me want to curl up in the corner of my bed, forgetting all the chaos around the world. As Roger Ebert in one of his reviews once wrote, "Deep movie emotions for me usually come not when the characters are sad, but when they are good."