‘Modern Love Chennai’ Episode 1 Recap & Ending, Explained: Who Does Shobha Finally Choose?

Prime Video’s Modern Love anthology series is back again and this time the creators have brought us entertaining and moving stories from the beautiful city of Chennai. Chennai is just like any other metropolitan city that nurtures the love stories of people from various facets of society. The meaning of love changes from time to time and episode to episode, but the core remains the same. Chennai brings us a love for Tamil music, especially music by the legendary Ilaiyaraaja, who is also one of the composers on some of the episodes. Modern Love Chennai runs for six episodes, and each episode explores the theme of love in many forms. The first episode is directed by Raju murugan.

Spoilers Ahead


Shobha’s Anger

Lalagunda Bommaigal, aka Dolls of Lalagunda, is set in the suburbs of Chennai and begins with Vaiju, Shobha’s friend, going from one room of a hospital to another room, where a woman is lying unconscious on the bed. The woman on the bed is Shobha, who has just had an abortion Vaiju happens to see the dead fetus that was removed and is disgusted at the sight of it, and at the same time, she feels sorry for Shobha, who had to go through this pain. Shobha had to get the abortion done because it was obvious the man who got her pregnant was neither keen on getting married nor ready to accept the baby. She had no choice but to get rid of the child. Shobha has been visibly angry ever since because she feels cheated by this one person whom she trusted and loved. She probably wanted to keep the child, but judging by her decision to get it aborted, she knew she could not raise the child on her own.

Shobha comes from a middle-class background; she works at her father’s biscuit factory, and Vaiju works with her. Vaiju helps by advising her on how to live life. Vaiju, seeing how upset Shobha has been since her heartbreak and abortion, takes her to a godman, hoping he will provide an easy solution to get her out of the constant misery. Shobha is skeptical of all these methods because she wants to get out of her state of mind on her own and doesn’t want any help from any godman. The Godman has one look at Shobha and lets her know that the state of mind she is in is because of a heartbreak. Shobha is still not impressed, but Vaiju is.

The Godman gives her a solution, which is that to get out of heartbreak caused by love, one must fall in love all over again. It seems like an easy solution to the problem, but Shobha knows there is no one she will ever be attracted to, and along with that, she is sure she will never fall in love again. The Godman also predicts that she will fall in love with someone from the north, and the person will be a fraud. Angered again by Godman’s words, Shobha walks away, not wanting to ever come to him or any man because she knows the only thing a man can do is break a woman’s heart.

Shobha is always in a sour mood, and Vaiju keeps reminding her that women can live without men and, at the same time, cannot live without men as well. This is a double-edged sword statement because after a nasty breakup, it becomes difficult for a heterosexual woman to even think of wanting to be with another man, but down the line, there will be a time when a woman will want a partner to spend time conversing with. Nathuram is a non-Tamil boy who comes by the biscuit factory where Shobha and Vaiju work. Shobha does not pay any heed to him or any other man coming by the factory. Nathuram visibly flirts with her, and it is obvious the boy is interested in her, but Shobha is far from interested in getting together with him or any other man. Nathuram keeps flirting, and Shobha does her best to ignore the man in the hope he will get the hint, stop the flirting, and move on. Nathuram runs a Mumbai chat stall near the factory; all the women around Shobha are witnesses to the fact that the boy is interested in her, and feel she should probably reciprocate. Shobha keeps thinking of the prediction the Godman made, claiming that man would be from up north. Shoba wonders if the Godman’s words are coming true.


Who Does Shobha Finally Choose As Her Life Partner? And Why?

One fine day Shobha and her father are cornered by Lalagunda’s panchayat, for Shobha was seen helping Nathuram with his cart for a YouTube video shoot, and the YouTuber referred to them as husband and wife, making the entire locality wonder if Nathuram and Shobha are having an affair. The locality is known for being cosmopolitan with people from different languages, castes, and religions, but the panchayat objects to Shobha’s relationship with Nathuram even though there is no relationship between them to begin with. Shobha feels bad for Nathuram because he is being unnecessarily targeted, and out of fear, the man hires another woman from his native state to help him with his chat stall. Shobha slowly softens up to Nathuram and starts seeing another side to the man. Shobha, who had taken a vow of never pursuing any other man, starts having feelings for Nathuram. Vaiju reveals that Nathuram was the one who paid for the hospital bills as well. Shobha soon falls for Nathuram, even though the panchayat again stirs up other matters about Shobha mixing up with people who are not from the locality. But soon, Shobha goes through heartbreak once again when she learns Nathuram has disappeared. Nathuram also leaves behind another scandal: leaving the woman he had hired pregnant. Shobha, who herself has been through something similar, stands by the girl when she goes through an abortion. Shobha and Vaiju again come across as very helpful women who go out of their way to aid other women. Shobha could have abandoned the woman impregnated by Nathuram, but she chose to do the right thing.

Shobha is again left bitter by another heartbreak, and she has no idea how she will move on from this scenario. She knows that by not wanting to experience love, she would rather live with respect, which means marrying the man chosen by her father. She agrees to the proposal, and without any hesitation, she finally gets married. On the wedding night, she senses something familiar about the man she married. The man finally reveals that he is the Godman whom she and Vaiju had visited. Angry at the fact that this man is a fraud, she refuses to talk to or deal with him at all. The man who is now her husband profusely apologizes to her. He reveals that the field of faux Godman is highly competitive, and that is why he left that profession and wanted to be honest for a change. He got married to Shobha because he wanted to prove that he was an honest man and would like to live like that. Slowly and steadily, Shobha and her husband start to get along and start liking each other’s company, especially Shobha, because she was the one who had an aversion to relationships and love. She starts seeing the effort her husband is making to keep her happy and understand her boundaries as well. One final time, she runs into Nathuram at the same chat stall after a long time, and she is unperturbed to see the man is now married. Shobha finally finds a partner who understands her temperament and respects her for who she is.


Final Thoughts

Of all the six episodes, the first episode of Modern Love Chennai happens to be the weakest of the lot because the screenplay here comes across as wafer-thin. The writer and the director did not have any clue how to project love through this story. Yes, the underlying theme is garnering love through respect, but this whole point is made in the end. The love and fondness shared between Shobha and her husband did not feel organic. It felt like their relationship was introduced too late in the screenplay, and the writers did not have enough time to nurture it and make it strong by the end of it. The performances, too, seemed a bit underwhelming. Sri Gouri Priya, as Shobha, could have been given more layers to bring her bitterness across. Her performance was good, but not enough to keep the episode engaging till the end. Lalagunda Bommaigal easily could have been ten more minutes longer to fit in the narrative of Shobha and her spouse, but sadly, their relationship remained unexplored. An underwhelming watch starts the show.


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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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