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Review | 'Little Things Season 4': great cinematography, breezy storytelling

After watching three seasons of Dhruv Vats (Dhruv Sehgal) and Kavya Kulkarni (Mithila Palkar) run circles around life events, it’s a relief to see them submit to the system in 'Little Things Season 4'.

October 15, 2021 / 02:25 PM IST
Mithila Palkar and Dhruv Sehgal in 'Little Things' Season 4 on Netflix. (Image: screen grab)

Mithila Palkar and Dhruv Sehgal in 'Little Things' Season 4 on Netflix. (Image: screen grab)

Little Things was a YouTube hit among young people even before Netflix picked it and pushed seasons two and three on us. The easy writing and short episodes are just perfect for watching when you’re just chillin’. Though I must admit that most of the protagonists' ‘problems’ seem to be banal.

I want to ask, ‘Like Kenny G? Elevator music?’

Since when do we watch shows because they’re about the everyday lives of young people? Shows that revel in their ‘okayness’? Why is being inoffensive a ‘must have’ quality? Whatever happened to revolutionary ideas?

And then I see young people watching their favourite episode of Friends again and again.  Because, comfort.

People like comfort food because the rest of their lives suck. I watched the eight episodes of this final season of Little Things after having missed out seasons 2 and 3 completely. And I realised that you catch up with everything that must’ve happened between the two live-in lovebirds in the last two seasons. Clever storytelling or just a predictable tale?

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After all, what could happen to a fictional live-in couple? Remember the movie Luka Chuppi? A small-town couple (Kartik Aryan and Kriti Sanon) who want to try ‘living-in’ (the word ‘sin’ is implied) and run away to a neighbouring town to rent an apartment. With creepy interfering neighbours, it was as they say today: high on cringe quotient. The completely annoying Kangna Ranaut-Imran Khan film Katti Batti, which had that awful dialogue about him not being able to aim when peeing, also tried the ‘live-in’ idea. This web series is miles ahead of them in storytelling.

Thankfully, Dhruv Vats from saddi Dilli and Kavya Kulkarni from Nagpur are sanitised when it comes to such revelations. He burps horribly in one episode, but she suggests he get an antacid without gagging even though they’re inside a car. That’s such a boring thing, it made me wish for at least one Pyaar Ka Punchnama scene. Especially when she drags him to a salon, making him miss out on a footie match. I am a footie fan, and I won’t ever watch a match on the phone if the club I support is playing. Let alone at a hair salon, waiting for my girl to get her hair done. And I sort of judged Kavya for doing that to him. And yes, when she materialises from the salon, like Dhruv, I too wondered what exactly did she get done. Knowing how easily he gave up wanting to watch the match on the big TV to be with his girl, the sudden cursing (all footie fans are supposed to swear at the TV, Ted Lasso characters told you) was just dumb. Would have been funnier if he had grunted and grimaced like Roy Kent, no?

In every episode chirpy Kayva sees a problem, Dhruv gets ragged at first then realises he’s wrong, and then they kiss and make up. But if this constant cycle bothers you, then just watch the show for some superb visuals.

And the cinematographer Aniruddha Patankar makes you want to get to Alleppy and Munnar. Fort Kochi has been shot brilliantly in the Tamil movie Maara, and Patankar’s work seems just as fairy-tale-ish. The green tea gardens are so gorgeous, they should have just created a mellow moment between the two instead of having them talk, talk and talk some more as they walked through the bushes. And why does Kavya suddenly steal a candle from the church? I was happy watching her overwhelmed by the atmosphere inside the church (and him not), and suddenly she was stealing. Why? Because she has a sudden desire to show she can be ‘unlike herself’. I wished Dhruv had put lots of money in the donation box to make up for her ‘bad girl’ moment. I wished there was an alternative to her unnecessary chirpiness.

The characters of the two sets of parents are just perfectly written. The awkwardness of the dads, the gentleness of mothers will make you stop the show and call home. While everything else going on between the two was banal, the parents made the whole show special. Even when Dhruv mentions his relationship with his dad, how he speaks on the phone with his parents or how Kavya’s parents ‘treat her like a guest’ is spot-on. Also wonderful is the appearance of Sanket who shares about his childhood and his dad. It will force you to look back on your own years of growing up with dad bringing you a puppy he rescued from the gypsies. Great writing there.

You then forgive the really needless appearance of the neighbour who makes beetroot papads, the box that contains broken stuff (as someone who has shifted homes several times, I exclaimed, ‘you packed it wrong!’)...

The singalong song of ‘Julie, Julie!’ surprised the heck out of me (predates even me!) but I melted when Dhruv looked at Kavya and said, ‘Kulkarni, allowed hai kya itna sundar dikhna? (Are you allowed to look this beautiful?)’

Taking a cue from the wonderful idea of Gnana Vriksha (living books), I hope Dhruv Sehgal will share something less ‘nice’ next time for his audience. I also live in hope that Mithila Palkar will condition her hair some day and play a less excitable 30-year-old.
Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication.

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