Modern Love Hyderabad’s Nagesh Kukunoor: ‘One language isn’t better than other’ | Web Series

Filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor helmed three episodes – My Unlikely Pandemic Dream Partner, Why Did She Leave Me There…? and Fuzzy, Purple And Full of Thorns of Modern Love: Hyderabad. As the anthology series inches close to its premiere on Amazon Prime Video, Kukunoor told Hindustan Times that he isn’t necessarily bothered by the expectation from the audience. Also read: Amazon Prime Video’s Modern Love Hyderabad teases stories

One might think that the makers of the Hyderabad chapter might be nervous ahead of the release, but Kukunoor said, “I think the bar was set with the original Modern Love set in New York. I think all of us are aspiring to land somewhere in the same neighbourhood.” Modern Love: Hyderabad will be released on July 8, after the success of Modern Love: Mumbai.

While the director has always maintained that romance isn’t his cup of tea, his stories dwell around relationships. He mentioned, “The beauty about this whole series is the fact that there’s no definition for love. The unfortunate part is, that every time we talk about love we equate it directly with romance, and also purely in a heterosexual way. The fact that it has no boundaries, and can happen with all kinds of people drew me to the series. We have tried to maintain as many kinds of relationships as possible.”

When asked about his fondest memory from the city, he recalled memories of his school days in Hyderabad, “How do you encapsulate the story of a lifetime in a story or two? Seeing the same road now and realising that it’s crazy that we are in such a hurry to erase the past. When I left in 1988, I never thought that I would return to India, forget Hyderabad. But life threw a googly at me and here I am.” Nagesh Kukunoor is heavily drawn by the unique quirks, vibrant culture and of course, soul-food, which have been a part of his episodes from the series.

A still from Modern Love Hyderabad.
A still from Modern Love Hyderabad.

Language or content, which is more important for connecting with the audience? The director believes both go hand-in-hand. “Having good control over the language is extremely critical. I know a lot of directors who say filmmaking is a visual medium, I think it stopped being so the day audio came into the picture. It doesn’t work like that, at least not in my stories. I take language very seriously. Telugu is my mother tongue but I can’t read or write Telugu, so I had to use proper dialogue writers to make sure I did a good enough job,” he said.

Language can often dictate the fate of a show, especially amid the ongoing language row in Indian cinema. However, the debate doesn’t make sense to the director. “You speak one language that doesn’t necessarily mean one language is better than the other. It’s a form of communication and that’s that! I speak three languages – Hindi, Telugu and English. I enjoy all of them independently,” he quipped.

Pan-India films are the newest trend in the industry. However, Modern Love: Hyderabad will only be available in Telugu with subtitles. “I do not like watching dubbed versions in another language. I hate it. You clearly don’t get what the filmmaker intended. With subtitles, you are a little distracted unfortunately but it’s the second-best thing. With Modern Love: Hyderabad I literally sat with all the subtitles. I feel when it’s given to another agency, so much is lost in translation. I made sure that for all six episodes,” he said.

Director Nagesh Kukunoor on the set of Modern Love Hyderabad.
Director Nagesh Kukunoor on the set of Modern Love Hyderabad.

“I connected strongly and emotionally with Why Did She Leave Me There…? This one resonated with me,” he concluded on being asked to pick his favourite episode from the show. Why Did She Leave Me There…? stars Suhasini Maniratnam and Naresh Agastya in lead roles.

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