She is ambitious, willing to push herself to the limits to scale the heights of success, and dreams of visiting all the exotic places worth visiting in the world.
He is laidback, lives in the moment, doesn’t think twice before chucking a well-paying job in a start-up, because, well, “mazaa nahi aa raha tha yaar”, and dreams of eating mutton cutlets with gravy.
She is east, he is west, but, in Little Things, the twain does meet (apologies, Mr Twain, for twisting thy quote to suit our pleasure).
Ok, so at the very outset, let’s get this straight– Little Things Season 2 (Dice Media and Netflix) is hardly about the little things in life. No; Season 2 of Little Things is grave, mature, sombre, and deals with some of the biggest existential issues of life. And after watching it, you’ll never look at life the same way again. For, something will churn, stir and shift within you, making you question all those little things that make up life; and their importance in the bigger scheme of things.
Like, what if we deserve a better partner than we’ve settled for…..better-looking, more interesting, more driven, funnier….and more, along the same lines. Or does that make us dissatisfied with life, because, well, there’s always going to be something that’s better than what we’ve settled for in life, isn’t it?
And this- should we allow ourselves to dream big because, as they say, you can make it happen if you try hard enough and want it badly enough. Or should we aspire for only that which is tangible and obviously attainable? Because, after all, dreams are just that – dreams; and they never come true.
These and other equally heavyweight issues are what Little Things Season 2 touches upon– with seeming ease and refreshing candour. Dhruv Vats (Dhruv Sehgal, also the writer of both seasons) and Kavya Kulkarni (Mithila Palkar) is a live-in couple, with the typical millennial outlook to life. They are upwardly mobile, and want to make it in life with sheer grit and hard work. At least, Kavya wants to, that is. She’s ambitious, and wants them to live the good life. Her ambition includes the both of them, because she knows that Dhruv has it in him to succeed at the highest level. And because whatever plans she has for the future are always with Dhruv, never without. She wants to visit exotic places, own a big, beautiful home in Mumbai, and enjoy the perks of earning handsomely.
Dhruv, on the other hand, is laidback and least bothered about aims, ambitions and goals. He leaves his math PhD midway in the last level, because he’s bored by it. He chucks his job at a start-up because he’s not happy working there. He thinks nothing of letting Kavya keep the home fires burning with her well-paying job till the time he’s able to decide what he wants to do in life. He’s ok with her picking up the dinner tab at a fancy restaurant they’ve taken his school friend to. He’s ok with earning way less than her, at a math coaching class and by taking math tutorials online.
The school friend in question, Sandeep, is a typical, boorish Delhi-ite. He berates Dhruv for letting Kavya ‘Bhabhi’ pay the bill. He is homophobic, looks down upon the rented accommodation trend and pigeon-hole sized flats of Mumbai. And pretty soon, his behaviour gets to Dhruv. Dhruv realizes that he has nothing in common with his childhood friend anymore, and mulls ending the friendship. But Kavya brings him face to face with sombre truths about how school friends are an indestructible connection to our childhood, are someone you grow old with, and other such heavyweight gyaan. Only, when said in typical Mithila Palkar style – with a delightful charm and naiveté – it doesn’t seem like gyaan, but like very sound advice, that gives you a warm fuzzy feeling within, and at the same time, makes you reflect upon a few time-tested certainties of life. Brilliant stuff, this. It’s the first episode, and you are forewarned of the kind of content to follow.
The second episode takes us straightaway into rough terrain– Dhruv quits his job. In all honesty, we, the viewers, are more worried about Dhruv quitting his job, than Dhruv himself (in the show, obviously). After bidding goodbye to the high-flying job, he enjoys two plates of momos, goes to Kavya’s colleague’s housewarming party with her, and on the way home, very casually drops the bomb. The contrast between their diametrically opposite situations is depicted superbly- she gets promoted to senior manager the same day that he loses his job.
And that is also when they have their first fight of the season. Kavya is upset that he didn’t think it necessary to discuss with her before taking the crucial decision of quitting his job. Couldn’t he see that his decision affected both of them? Dhruv is decidedly shocked at her reaction – he had expected more support from her, considering that she knew how unhappy he was in his job.
Sandeep’s jibes at Dhruv for living off Kavya’s earnings, and Kavya’s reaction at him quitting his job sow the first seeds of doubt in Dhruv’s mind regarding his relationship with Kavya; although we, the viewers, are made privy to his mental state quite late in the series. There’s something simmering within him, which bursts forth only in the last couple of episodes.
The ensuing episodes dig deeper into the couple’s relationship, their obvious love and caring for each other, and the little things that make living together worthwhile. When she returns from a tiring offsite trip to Goa, he surprises her with her favourite Pithla Bhakri, exactly as she likes it– her mom’s style. In between digging into the unexpected treat, she tells him about this go-getter biker she met in Goa, who flirted with her (emphasising that she didn’t flirt back), and lets him in on something that’s been gnawing at her ever. What if there’s someone better for them out there? What if both of them have been too hasty in settling down with someone who’s at best, just second best? Dhruv’s reply puts her agitated mind to rest and they fall back into the easy camaraderie and harmony that is the mainstay of their relationship. This episode was by far the best of them, in our opinion. It tells us, simply and guilelessly– “It’s better to say something uncomfortable that’s bothering us, than to not say it all.”
Every episode leaves you floundering to make sense of your own place in life, and takes your breath away with the simplicity and profoundness of its implication. The end is dazzling, and you hold your breath as you try to second guess their impending future- will they still be together at the end of it all, or are they headed for a (gasp, it can’t be!) breakup?
Dhruv Sehgal and Mithila Palkar are the heart, soul and spirit of the series. It’s hard to imagine any other actors as Dhruv and Kavya. Their easy chemistry enthrals and pulls us into the goings-on. Heck, you feel as if you are sitting on the couch in their living room, watching them live their lives, (and ours too, if we may) instead of watching it on a screen. Mithila Palkar possesses the charm of the quintessential child-woman. As Kavya, she is naïve, yet sophisticated; child-like, yet determinedly driven to succeed; charmingly elfin, yet wise and worldly. Her acting takes the characterisation of Kavya to another level altogether.
Dhruv Sehgal is brilliant. We don’t know whom to applaud more- Dhruv, the writer; or Dhruv, the actor. His writing is replete with gazillion subtle nuances- a few apparent outright to even the most non-discerning viewer; but most, hidden out of plain view, to be discovered at leisure, by the sharp, perspective eyes of emotionally engrossed viewers. Writing, that is as starkly simple as it is convolutedly complex. Dhruv, the actor, is a revelation. No ott melodrama, no pretence and no hamming– just plain ol’ straight-from-the-heart acting. Dhruv is endearing, adorable and a delight to watch. His million-watt smile is his usp, and he uses it to devastating effect, at least in the first few episodes.
The cameos are outstanding too. Vikram Kochhar is superb as Dhruv’s chuddy buddy, Sandeep, in the first episode. Navni Parihar charms, with her turn as Kavya’s mother. Then there’s Paresh Pahuja, as the biker, whom Dhruv constantly refers to as roadie, with just that wee tinge of…. ahem… jealousy. But the one that steals out heart is their house help’s young kid. This little guy looks upon the world with wide-eyed wonder (and we mean, really w-i-d-e), always has a cute li’l joke ready on the tip of his tongue and charms his way into our hearts with his sweet innocence.
Director, Ruchir Arun, displays immeasurable finesse in helming this wonderful tale of a live-in couple’s journey of growth, evolution and self-discovery. He paints the canvas of their story in stellar, masterful strokes of deft direction.
We would like to make special mention of the music of the series. The music is a splendid appendage to the series, adding a refined charm to the ambience. The mellow notes awaken within us feelings that intensely appeal, as much as they tease and tantalise.
While Little Things Season 1 was charmingly adorable and delightful, Little Things Season 2 has matured and evolved into something that compels you to think, ponder, reflect. And in today’s time, when attention spans are dwindling at alarming rates, and web series are but candles in the wind, that’s pretty telling. If Little Things S1 was like a chilled mug of frothy beer– peppy and refreshing, Little Things Season 2 is like fine vintage wine, full-bodied and rich, that you swirl on your tongue and savour with unhurried delight, until the very last drop.
Enough said! Go watch it now, guys!
We, at IWMBuzz, give Little Things S 2, a well-deserved 4/5.
(Written By Rashmi Paharia)