Telugu cinema rarely gets the lighthearted romantic comedy kind of cinema right. The industry is known for coming up with over-the-top romantic comedies in which the lead stalks his way into making the woman fall in love with him. This is unrealistic, and real relationships do not develop in this manner. There are very few Telugu-language movies or television shows that deal with relationships realistically and leave room for humor as well. Miss Shetty, Mr. Polishetty, Hi Nanna, and Ante Sundharanik are some good examples of films that explore the romance, comedy, and drama genres realistically. Miss Perfect is the latest addition to this genre, and it happens to be a Disney+ Hotstar Original. This Telugu language miniseries was released on February 2, 2024, and it is about a love story that bloomed during the COVID lockdown of 2020.
Miss Perfect has eight episodes, each with a twenty- to twenty-one-minute run time, which is ideal for a romantic comedy. Lavanya is a cleanliness-obsessed woman who has recently moved to Hyderabad from Delhi for work purposes. Her neat freakish habits have bothered her father and friends to the point she was asked to consider therapy. Lavanya’s new maid, Jyoti, is employed by another resident, Rohit, who happens to be a great cook but is not very concerned about the disorderly state of his home. As the COVID lockdown was announced, Lavanya was given the task of informing Rohit about Jyoti’s inability to show up for work.
While Rohit mistakes Lavanya for Jyoti’s replacement, the latter cannot control her impulse to clean his unkempt home. Impressed with her cleaning skills, Rohit hires her without realizing Lavanya is the new HR person who joined his company and would be responsible for many job cuts. Apart from that, Jyoti was also hired by Rohit’s mother to find out if her son was in a relationship with any woman. Did Rohit find out Lavanya’s real identity? Was Jyoti successful in identifying the woman who was frequenting Rohit’s home?
There is a tendency for confusion to be created in this screenplay, but the writers and the director made sure no subplot overlapped and closed all the loopholes by the end of the last episode. The characters written and performed in the show are very realistic, which makes their conversations and situations relatable.
Shruti Ramachandran and Francis Thomas, the writers of Miss Perfect, have done an excellent job of introducing many subplots, and all of them were given a decent arc. There was an arc about the maid Jyoti wanting to pursue her passion for singing, and the writers thankfully did not forget about it. It was interesting to watch how social media allows people belonging to her strata to be given a chance to showcase their talent. This arc ends up being satisfying, just like many others.
The makers also included a subplot about Lavanya’s widower father finding love at his age and being accepted by her. It was important for this arc to be given a definite end because not many shows or movies love to explore the love shared by elderly parents. Shows like Miss Perfect pave the way for acceptance of finding love in the later stages of life. There is a lot explored in the relationship, which was rather cute because you do not always get to watch people in their late fifties trying to find a spark and romance in their relationship.
It was interesting that the makers brought up the subject of people having issues keeping their homes clean. This show gave them representation, and there was no judgment written into the screenplay. Lavanya is accepted for who she is by every person around her, and there is no room for people talking down to her except her friends, which is normal in a realistic setting. We wish the makers of the show had explored the mental health aspect of this behavior, which was briefly showcased at the beginning of the show. Beyond the first episode, there was hardly any mention of Lavanya wanting to consider therapy for her impulsive need to clean up spaces, which is how she ended up working as a maid at Rohit’s home.
However, Rohit falling for Lavanya only because of her cleaning skills reeks of patriarchy. A man who wants a woman to take care of the house has a traditionalist attitude toward the female gender. In this case, a woman here is habituated because of her nature, but a man wanting a woman only because of her one specific domestic skill is not progressive thinking. We expected better from writers who were otherwise liberal with other subplots. Lavanya coming out in support of Jyoti and encouraging her to follow her passion instead of wasting time working as a maid is peak women supporting other members of their gender. One of the few times we get to watch women not plotting against one another.
Unfortunately, there was no closure to the subplot involving Tara and Rohit meeting through arranged marriage meet up. In case there is a second season of Miss Perfect, which we believe Disney+ Hotstar should consider, this subplot requires a proper ending. Almost all the characters in the show had a definite arc, and the writers made sure they were given some believable quirkiness. The ending of the show was predictable but highly relatable. Since this is a romantic comedy, one could expect a happy ending with few anticipated obstacles. The humor in the show also worked most of the time, and the dialogue added to the hilarity.
The direction by Vishvak Khanderao is basic, but it is straightforward and does not cause any confusion. The director could handle the convoluted screenplay quite well. Telugu cinema tends to make the story unnecessarily complex towards the climax. Fortunately, the director had full control of the craft and screenplay and tied up all the loose ends without hampering the viewing experience. As the story was set during the first lockdown of 2020, there were times the characters were wearing masks outdoors and other times where they weren’t, which adds to the continuity issues of the show.
The performances could be the weakest link in the show. It was probably because the show did not require heavy lifting from the actors, as the screenplay was very lighthearted. Lavanya Tripathi as Lavanya Rao delivered a lukewarm performance, and the same could be said about Abijeet Duddala as Rohit Varma. The only performance that stood out was Abhignya Vuthaluru as Jyoti, the maid who was struggling to earn money for herself and her brother. Overall, Miss Perfect is a watchable and relatable romantic comedy. A good watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon.