Films And Shows That Show Modern Love In All Its Sweet Mess

From the first season of Never Kiss Your Best Friend to Bangalore Days, OK Kanmani to Love Story, here are stories that keep the contemporary heart beating
Films And Shows That Show Modern Love In All Its Sweet Mess

With Modern Love Mumbai releasing on Amazon Prime Video on 13th May, we thought it is a great time to look back at the love stories we have produced over the years, ones whose modern setting and unique, charming perspective on love and longing has kept the slowly decaying genre of love stories alive. 

Streaming Platform: Netflix

When was the first time you saw a love story end with the lovers, who after bickering, biting, and seething, find themselves together, but as friends? When was the last? Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu was not just radical for its time, with mature, understated performances by Kareena Kapoor Khan and Imran Khan, but also our time right now, reminding us that friendship, too, is its own love story. 

Streaming Platform: Disney+ Hotstar

An arranged marriage. A stoic man with a tragic past. A young woman with small dreams. Anjali Menon writes an unusual love story between Divya (Nazriya Nazim) and Shiva (Fahadh Faasil), unusual perhaps only for the screen. Like most women do in the real world, Divya shows up, determined to untangle the mess in Shiva's mind, holding his hand past the tragedy — a manic pixie dream girl's coming of age in the process of relieving Shiva of his pain.

Over the course of the Malayalam film, the baggage is dropped, too — the parents silenced, the nosy househelp fired. The resolution comes in the form of a beautifully light-handed montage, as though no more words need to be spoken. Divya breaking down and Shiva shedding his final tear combine melancholy and relief, making way for the couple to explore each other in peace.

Love Story (2021)

Streaming Platform: Aha

Sekhar Kammula's Love Story is a violent depiction of caste inequalities and a vulnerable exploration of caste denial. Revanth (Naga Chaitanya) and Mounica (Sai Pallavi) flee the structures of oppression to the invisibility of the city. For a short while, they find their freedoms, too, until life takes them back to their roots. Love Story isn't a seamless film. However, the tenderness with which Sekhar depicts the complexities of love and ambition is worthy of attention, giving us a beautiful story about two confused individuals figuring out modern love.

Streaming Platform: Zee5

This is a sugar-pill of a show, of two friends Sumer (Nakuul Mehta) and Tanie (Anya Singh) in London who keep jumping around the boundary separating love from friendship, desire from distance. The glossy magazine perspective might be unnerving for those who are looking for grounded storytelling, but the beauty and chemistry of season 1 will charm you out of our doubts. 

Streaming Platform: Netflix

While many consider the film to be a coming of age, we forget the pivot around which its protagonist Sid (Ranbir Kapoor) came of age — his affection and eventually love for Aisha (Konkona Sensharma). The casual affection of their friendship — washing clothes together, eating in, dipping into chai, falling asleep on each other's shoulders in an end-of-day auto ride — morphs into something more intense, a heat that is finally cooled in the swell of rain in the climax. 

Streaming Platform: Netflix

A — pardon the pun —  cumming of age, this sweet and silly 8-part show follows Ray (Vihaan Samat), a 24-year-old virgin, tracking his journey, from being able to articulate his virginity without too much shame, to recklessly masturbating to coconut ice-cream ads, to buying a condom of the right size, to, finally, swiping his V-card in an — pardon the pun — anticlimactic swell. The show is all heart and speaks with a specificity and charm that is easy to swallow, hard to forget. 

OK Kanmani (2015)

Streaming Platform: Disney+ Hotstar

Look at the names themselves — Tara (Nithya Menen) and Adi (Dulquer Salmaan). Cool, urbane, clipped, like the film, which is a total charm offensive from Mani Ratnam. It is said that he gave every generation its own love story — Mouna Ragam (1986), Alaipayuthey (2000), and now OK Kanmani, which plays devil's advocate for live-in relationships. 

Spirit (2012)

Streaming Platform: Disney+ Hotstar

You need to use a word like 'modern' to describe the love/friendship between ex lovers Raghu (Mohanlal) and Meera (Kaniha). They may no longer be together, but the film is among the first depictions of a post-divorce couple who've managed to remain great friends. Even Raghu's relationship with Meera's new husband (and his best friend) Alexy (Shankar Ramakrishnan) had the sort of maturity you can only find among modern, evolved people. So when Raghu and Meera's son appears to be closer to his step father than his biological dad, that's another sign of how they've grown together, rather than grow apart.

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