The second episode of Modern Love Chennai is about a couple in the city who are trying hard to maneuver through their lives as one of the spouses is suffering from failing eyesight. They are there for each other, as promised in their college days. Will that promise work in the larger scheme of things?
Directed by Balaji Sakthivel, Modern Love Chennai Episode 2 begins with Nithyanandham professing his love for Devi on the college campus. Devi is surprised to see him confessing his love this way amidst a lot of people. She was not used to such gestures, but she felt good about Nithya finally coming forward and letting her know his feelings. Since she likes him too, she must be clear about her health. Devi reveals that she has been diagnosed with a retinal degenerative disease, which means in a decade or two, she will completely lose her eyesight, and right now, there is no cure for this condition. She lets him know about her condition because it will help him make a sound decision about whether he wants to be with her or not. She gives him the choice of walking out as well, so he does not have to take on the burden of being with her when things get worse. Devi would surely make some plans for herself once her eyesight gets worse. Even now she reveals that she is only able to see people who are standing in front of her. Devi gives Nithya some time to ponder over this situation. Nithya does not come to college the next day, and Devi is unable to spot him for the rest of the day. She figures the man has made his decision, and she will have to live with it. Nithya finally calls her out of the classroom and shows her the tattoo he has made of her name on his chest. This proves his endearing love for her. Devi is again surprised to see such over-the-top gestures made by the simple Nithya, but she feels happy that Nithya chose to be with her and not walk away.
Thus begins Nithya and Devi’s emotional journey as college sweethearts, where they spend as much time as they can with each other. Nithya stands by her all the time, and Devi feels secure around him. The two of them finish college and begin working, and their love grows as they become salary-earning personnel. They head to the office together and spend as much time there as possible, even after office hours. In one such instance, Devi reveals that she always wanted to play the veena, but her father never allowed her to do so. That regret still stays with her.
The college sweethearts finally get married, and things around them have not changed much. The only difference is that they live together now, and Nithya stays true to the promise he made years ago. He promised to stay close to her and never abandon her. Devi also reveals that she wants to have a kid and travel as much as she can in the next ten years because she wants to lose her eyesight while being happy and having visuals of the places they went to. She wants to remember all the happy memories and not be a bitter, blind woman. Nithya, being himself, fulfills her wishes and takes her around just so that she remains happy. Nithya also does not let Devi depend on him for everything because there are many things she can do on her own. She has a steady job as well, which keeps them both happy and sorted.
Does Devi Lose Her Eyesight?
Their married life is sorted. Devi and Nithya have found a foothold in their professional lives, and they seem to be content with it. The couple will soon be blessed with good news, as Devi is pregnant. Devi is skeptical, but she knows Nithya is with her all the time, and she will be able to manage her pregnancy and the actual work that comes after nine months of pregnancy. Nithya is excited too. Devi is worried that the child will inherit her eye ailment, but the doctor asks her not to worry. The worry she carries is genuine because she wouldn’t want her child to be born with this degenerative disease, and she doesn’t know if the kid would live as confidently as she has so far.
Devi gives birth to a daughter, and the first thing she notices while having a glance at her child is that the periphery of her sight is narrowing. Her eyesight has gotten worse and it is deteriorating. Her struggle has already begun because, so far, she only had herself and Nithya to worry about, but with a newborn baby in the picture, it would make things difficult for her. But she and Nithya know they will make things right, as Nithya is not planning to abandon her ever. One day, her daughter ends up putting a powder bottle cap in her mouth, which, unfortunately, Devi did not see because of her impairment. The daughter started crying, and they managed to take the cap out of her mouth. The cap in her mouth causes a cut and the child’s mouth starts bleeding. This scares the bejesus out of Nithya and Devi, who takes her to the hospital. The doctor says there is nothing to worry about and it is just a cut that will go away in a few days. Nithya and Devi are shaken by this incident because Devi feels guilty about her condition, but Nithya consoles her repeatedly, as before, to not worry when he is around, and his mother is around too. Devi feels her eye condition is stopping her from being a mother and taking care of the child. She never wanted to be dependent on anyone, but right now, all she has is Nithya and his mother helping her with her daughter.
As their daughter grows up, Devi’s eyesight has become worse, and right now, she is struggling to keep the household running on her own. Her vision has deteriorated, and this time she wants Nithya to be fully attentive to what their daughter is doing and make sure she is sent to school on time. Devi feels all the work at home is being piled on her, and knowing her condition, she expects more than the required help from Nithya. Nithya understands her frustration and tries his level best to be there for her. One evening, they are headed out for a wedding function for Devi’s friend. Nithya suggests that they have one more child. Devi is appalled at this suggestion because she has rejected it multiple times. The reason is that she has already struggled with her daughter in the last five years, and in the next five years, she is not sure how bad her eyesight will get. She wants to be practical about it, keeping her condition in mind, but Nithya is keen on having another child because he thinks so far their situation seems fine, and he wants their daughter to have a sibling she can grow up with. Devi, in despair, lets him know that she thought only her eyesight was going bad, but she also feels she is losing her life with it because she struggles a lot with her daughter, and she cannot let her second child suffer too because of her condition.
Nithya becomes all emotional about having another child, but Devi is being practical here. Nithya gets frustrated with Devi’s constant negative reaction to this suggestion, and as they are waiting for the cab to head to the function, Nithya walks out on her in anger. Devi refuses to leave with him because she is adamant about going to the function. Devi feels abandoned for the first time in years, not just by anyone but by her husband. Knowing that her condition would not allow her to walk on her own, Nithya chose to leave her. Devi cannot stop crying at her predicament. She is weeping as she feels Nithya left her alone when he had promised he would never do that. Nithya comes back quickly and profusely apologizes to her for leaving her the way he did. His anger made him act that way, and he would never repeat this act. Devi is hesitant to go back home with him, but she is soon pacified by him. Devi knows it is only Nithya who can understand her love for him, the family, and the condition she is in.
Nithya finally suggests that she take up playing the veena, which has been her dream since she was a child. If she begins her training and works hard on becoming better, she will finally have a purpose for herself, and it will not pull her down mentally as well. Devi takes this suggestion seriously and enrolls in veena classes. The last scene of the second episode of Modern Love Chennai has Devi glancing over to Nithya, and with the last bit of eyesight that she has, her eye covers the entire image of her husband’s face. Devi is probably in the last stage of her vision impairment. She might lose it soon. The last image of Nithya, happy to see Devi doing something she always wanted to do, is a symbol of a good marriage. A love that never stops elevating their partner to being a better version of themselves, even when they know their partner has a hindrance. This kind of love is rare but beautiful.
Modern Love Chennai Episode 2 is nothing but a journey the couple takes from being college sweethearts to becoming a full-fledged married couple with a child, with Devi having a visual ailment. The story is as simple as it gets, but what makes this episode emotional is the treatment of the story. The screenplay brings so much depth and layers to the story and characters that one ends up falling in love with each of them. Devi and Nithya have been carved out with utmost care. They are both flawed physically and metaphorically, but somehow the screenplay makes sure to merge their good and bad flaws beautifully. Director Balaji Sakthivel and writer Balaji Tharaneetharan sensitively bring out the story of a visually impaired woman without making her seem the victim. The woman here is financially independent, and she craves doing things on her own after the birth of their daughter. This episode hits all the right spots when it comes to emotions. A wonderful watch indeed.