Revathy and Nithya Menen on Amazon Prime Video’s ‘Modern Love Hyderabad’: Love and bonding over food in this long-pending collaboration


Hyderabadi food is an integral part of their story, directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, say actors Revathy and Nithya Menen

Hyderabadi food is an integral part of their story, directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, say actors Revathy and Nithya Menen

The first story of Modern Love Hyderabad, which will stream on Amazon Prime Video on July 8, will feature powerhouse performers Revathy and Nithya Menen as mother and daughter. The short story My Unlikely Dream Pandemic Partner, directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, portrays the characters, Mehrunisa and Noori, who are compelled to address relationship issues and strengthen their bond in the process. In this interview with The Hindu, the two actors state that this has been a “long-pending collaboration”.

Nithya recalls meeting Revathy years ago on the sets of the Tamil film Veppam: “Revathy ma’am discussed a story she wanted to direct, which did not happen. Later, Anjali (Menon) wanted to make a film with the two of us as mother and daughter, which also did not happen. So when this collaboration happened, I jumped at it.” To this, Revathy pitches in: “It happened, at last,” and adds that the digital space has helped forge unusual and interesting collaborations. 

The duo got to work with Nagesh Kukunoor, a pioneer in the indie cinema space for India. Revathy asserts, “It is lovely to be able to narrate beautiful stories without worrying about box office constraints.” Nithya agrees, “Whenever any project is discussed, there is always the question of feasibility. It is wonderful that these constraints are beginning to melt away slowly.” Both the actors are not new to alternate formats of entertainment. While Nithya has been a part of the web series, Breathe: Into the Shadows, Revathy has worked in Tamil television projects beginning with Iravil Oru Pagal and Penn, among several others in the 1990s. She has also directed stories for the anthologies, Kerala Cafe and Mumbai Cutting, and acted in Navarasa.

Food and Charminar 

The trailer of Modern Love Hyderabad shows a glimpse of the two actors sharing a meal in front of the historic Charminar in the Old City of Hyderabad. Revathy discloses that the scene was filmed around 3am, and the otherwise bustling area sported a deserted look. 

Nithya made her debut in Telugu cinema in 2011 with Ala Modalaindi and Revathy way back in 1984. This is one of the few times the actors are part of a story set in the bylanes of the Old City. Revathy says she is familiar with the Old City’s food and shopping jaunts. 

Fan moment

Nithya Menen is a huge fan of Revathy: “My mom and aunt look similar to her and my mother would often state that we both would look perfect as on-screen mother and daughter. My parents are also huge fans of her work. When I saw one of the shots in the trailer, I was so glad that we actually looked like mother and daughter.”

Food is also an integral part of their short story. Revathy warns, “Be prepared to get hungry watching the show. I would suggest that everyone gets some good food on their plate while watching our episode.” 

City specials such as Hyderabadi dum biryani and mutton kheema were used as part of the story. “We had a chef, Anjum, who dished out amazing Hyderabad specialities,” shares Revathy. Nithya reveals that she entered the sets as a vegetarian and walked out returning to her non-vegetarian ways: “They served me vegetarian kheema and similar variations but Revathy ma’am would sit across and relish the mutton dishes and I too ended up indulging.” 

Life Experiences

When asked if pandemic and isolation experiences helped in their approach to the characters, Revathy states, “Not the pandemic, but as soon as Nagesh narrated the story and my character Mehrunisa, I caught on to her. I felt I have known her all my life and it was easy to portray her.” Nithya counts on day-to-day experiences that helped her learn and evolve to bring in the required emotional intelligence to enact different characters. 

Revathy and Nithya Menen in ‘Modern Love Hyderabad’
| Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video

Over the years, Revathy has portrayed mother to characters of different age groups, ranging from the mother of three young children in Mani Ratnam’s Anjali to the mother of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan recently for the Adivi Sesh starrer, Major: “There are times when a character is described just as a mother, in a stereotypical manner, and then there are mothers with a well-defined character. Whether it is the part of a mother, daughter, sister, doctor or lawyer, the character has to have something in it for me to say yes.”  

All about love

Nithya chooses the first season of Modern Love as her favourite and recalls the story featuring Anne Hathaway, while Revathy picks the story from the second season featuring Minnie Driver as her favourite: “I was so happy to see such a story because I love to drive and share a bond with my car, though not in a similar manner.”

Modern Love Hyderabad explores relationships between couples, mothers-daughters, fathers-sons, grandmother-grandson, and so on. The actors share director Kukunoor’s fascination for love beyond the bond between couples. “In English, the word love is used broadly. There are so many beautiful words in Indian languages to describe the bond. Take Tamil for example — love can be kadhal, nesam, paasam, natpu, and I think that is beautiful,” Revathy explains.

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