Nagesh Kukunoor has helmed three stories in the Modern Love Hyderabad series — My unlikely pandemic partner, Fuzzy, purple and full of thorns, and Why did she leave me there?. It premiered on Amazon Prime Video on July 8. The Free Press Journal caught up with the director for an exclusive conversation.
Modern Love is probably one of the best shows in the West and to remake it in one’s regional language is a task. When asked if he was nervous about taking the legacy forward, Nagesh shares, “There was responsibility and nervousness both, but that actually drew me to the project. I think I have been able to do a reasonable job in the OTT space, especially when your product sits right next to other great stuff. If someone searches Modern Love, all the shows will appear in one cluster. It was challenging, and I would like to see how much I have fared over the next couple of weeks.”
Out of the three stories directed by Nagesh, the one starring Revathy and Nithya Menen is making a lot of noise. When further asked how was his experience with Revathy, he gushes, “I had a blast shooting with Revathy. When I was undergoing the process of casting, I was thinking of all the actors who I had grown up watching before I moved to the US. Revathy was very close to the top of the list. Funnily, Revathy doesn’t speak Telugu, she is fluent in Tamil and Malayalam, but she worked doubly hard towards her role since she isn’t familiar with the language. It was an added stress on the sets, but when I saw her in the final cut, I loved her and called her.”
Elaborating further, he adds, “It was a wonderful process, and she is so mad on the sets. Also, since she directs too, she understands what it takes to be on the other side.”
Nagesh opens up on which out of the three films was the most challenging for him to direct and vice versa. “The challenging one was definitely Fuzzy… because I was doing something out of my comfort zone, and I hope I had done a decent job in it. Ritu Varma is terrific in it, where she plays a slightly neurotic yet loveable character. And, the most fun was hands down Pandemic Partner since 90 per cent of it is just two characters,” he explains.
On a parting note, Nagesh denies that his process of filmmaking has changed despite changing narratives on OTT. “Not as a filmmaker but as a writer, it has definitely changed. I have been writing City Of Dreams with a co-writer, and I am not used to the collaborative process since I write my own films. Also, in India, the budgets are limited for most of the shows, but Modern Love was an exception since they treated all six stories as six different projects. But, the process has all the same old school rules which independent filmmaking has taught me,” he signs off.