The finale episode of Modern Love Chennai is directed by the creative producer himself, Thiagarajan Kumararaja, and it is all about love, loss, heartbreak, pain, and trauma. A couple falling in and out of love and whatever happens in between—their story after the breakup—form the crux of this episode.
Modern Love Chennai Episode 6 begins with Sam and K being intimate and making it clear that this is the last time they will be seeing each other. Sam and K keep things sorted between them and finally end their long-term relationship rather amicably. As K is about to leave, Sam remarks that this is how it ends. This means Sam cannot believe their relationship ended without any drama, tears, or emotional breakdowns.
We see Sam taking the help of a psychiatrist who insists that she should not stop taking her red pills since it took Sam a long time to recover from her emotional trauma, and continuing the medication is imperative to her good mental health. But is the doctor a part of her delusions? A doctor wouldn’t refer to their medicines as “red pills.” A certified medical practitioner would always refer to the medications by their specific names. This is possibly a reference to The Matrix, and in the context of the story, it makes sense since K and Sam come across as movie buffs. Sam used that as a reference to indicate a medication that shows her reality, which she doesn’t want to see. Sam has become dependent on her imagination of the events for her peace, and that will be the case until she continues running away from what actually transpired.
Scenario One: K Did Not Have Any Accident
Sam has been told about the accident that K was in and how he needs Sam’s help to regain his memories. There is a chance that the accident did not happen at all. The psychiatrist had asked Sam to get rid of the stuff belonging to K in her house. They had an ugly breakup, and K blamed Sam for it. This was something that Sam was unable to get over. She could not forgive herself, and that is the trauma that led to the delusions in which K returned to be a part of her life. What are the odds that Sam came to know about K’s accident and the fact that he needed her right when she was advised to erase all evidence of him from her life? If Sam consumes the medicine, it will keep her grounded, and she will have to deal with the fact that K is not a part of her life anymore. Though Sam gets rid of his stuff from her place, one can see that she is not taking any of the pills, which means she would rather create a false narrative that he has met with an accident, and he would need her assistance to bring back memories that he lost due to it. This entire creation is to keep K in her life in some way or another. She took it a few steps further by imagining that K wanted to get back together with her. She had K’s screenplay with her, and that is where she got her narrative from. Trauma works in tricky ways, and Sam went into some deep waters.
Scenario Two: K Did Have An Accident
Another possibility would be that K did have an accident and is indeed in a coma, but he never needed Sam’s help to get back his memories. It was the result of her not consuming the medicine. The psychiatrist mentioned to Sam that she had gone through Sam’s journals, which probably contained the details of her delusions. It is possible that Sam tried to meet K independently or even that K indeed needed Sam, but proximity to him would mean undoing all the mental health work that Sam had done to that date. That is what the doctor could have meant when she asked Sam to stay away from K. His accident probably brought back the pain and the trauma, which sent her back to relying on the delusions she had created for her comfort. It is more likely that her meeting with K did not happen, because it was exactly like the scene described in K’s screenplay. She took the screenplay as a reference to make it a part of her reality, but it wasn’t true.
Which Ones Are A Reality, And Which Ones Are A Delusion?
Let us consider that K has met with an accident, and the doctor requires assistance from Sam to help him remember his past. In order to help K remember all the good memories, Sam brings a bottle of chits to the hospital that has clues to things they know about each other. The memories she shares with him have actually happened, and Sam keeps going back to relive all the good times with him. The evening they pretended they were married and had the best night of their lives, and the night they ran through the rain like crazy people, were real. The day when they met for the first time on a film set and slept with each other, and the breakup that they had, which Sam refuses to talk about, are also realities. They broke up bitterly, and K left by saying many hurtful things that Sam never got over. Sam’s conversations with her psychiatrist also seem real.
Coincidentally, the fortune teller is the same woman as Sam’s psychiatrist. Sam’s delusions are such that she starts mixing up faces that she has seen in real life and utilizing them as per her narrative in her delusions. She probably created the character of a fortune teller in her mind so that she could have a justifiable reason to separate from K, as in reality, the psychiatrist had asked her to do the same. In a second theory (though we are not sure of it), it is possible that the character of the psychiatrist doesn’t exist, and Sam used the face of the fortune teller for the same. In both cases, she wanted an antagonist in her life who could sow the seed of doubt in her relationship with K.
Sam’s first delusion would be the amicable breakup we saw at the beginning of Modern Love Chennai Episode 6. Sam met K at the hospital many times to help bring back their good memories. But if they were in a long-term relationship, there must have been some bad memories as well. Yet K knew about none of them, and that is why we believe that the entire narrative has to be a part of her imagination. A lot of the scenes in Modern Love Chennai Episode 6 are very Sam-centric. In one of the memories, K describes the scene from his screenplay where two long-estranged lovers meet at a place where they had met for the first time, and as an extension of that memory, Sam and K meet one final time to give each other some closure. This must be a delusion because it would be too much of a coincidence to have the scenario replicated from the screenplay. K comes back to her and begs her to take him back because he thinks she is worth preserving. He believes that since he only has good memories of her and none of the bad ones. This is again a delusion created by Sam to reassure herself that K wants her and that there is no turning back for them. Even her psychiatrist specified over the call that she was not keen on Sam visiting K and had asked her not to skip the therapy session, but Sam did it regardless.
Thiagarajan Kumararaja, who is also the creative producer of this show, takes us on a roller coaster ride inside the human mind after it goes through the tremendous pain of heartbreak. Through Sam, Kumararaja introduces us to a complex character that not only goes from falling in love to trying hard to fall out of it, but also the multiple ways in which she fails to accomplish her goal and ends up in a cycle of pain. Her character is crafted with the utmost care and sensitivity, but sadly, there is no conclusion to what she is seeking. Her trauma is portrayed in such a way that it becomes difficult to find a difference between her reality and the workings of her mind. The screenplay and story are straightforward but messy. The story of the film is a blend of the San Junipero episode of Black Mirror, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Shutter Island, and Inception. All these movies tackled love, loss, pain, trauma, heartbreak, and delusions bordering on schizophrenia. Maybe Kumararaja wanted the audience to interpret what is her reality and what are her delusions, but the screenplay should have made the narrative easy to follow.
Modern Love Chennai Episode 6 requires at least two to three viewings to understand what the writer-director Kumararaja is trying to say here. But again, since it has been released in the OTT space, there is the luxury of understanding the nuances on the second and third viewing. Despite having issues with the screenplay, Kumararaja does not do anything wrong in the technical department. The cinematography, the editing, the production, and the sound design all come together in sync to give us this visually stunning piece of work.
Not to mention the ever-looming influence of Illaiyaraja. The title of Modern Love Chennai Episode 6 is named after his song, and the music that the man has created for this show is luminous. It blends perfectly with the narrative and raises the quality by many folds. The man is 80 years old, and to have given such niche work through the episode is a testament to his long career as a composer. This movie will surely become the talking point for a while because of the way it is presented and the conspiracy theories surrounding the story of the film, which will lead to many viewpoints and conclusions. It has been a while since a piece of cinema such as this started a discourse. Thankfully, this one is a love story. All in all, Ninaivo Oru Paravai is a must-watch.