‘Modern Love Hyderabad gave me free rein:’ Director Nagesh Kukunoor on his foray into Telugu cinema

The Hyderabad-born director talks about how the series made him more confident in his mother tongue, Telugu
Director Nagesh Kukunoor on the sets of Modern Love Hyderabad 
Director Nagesh Kukunoor on the sets of Modern Love Hyderabad 

This monsoon, it’s raining love in Hyderabad! The City of Pearls is going to be the milieu for the upcoming anthology web series, Modern Love Hyderabad, based on the American television series Modern Love that claimed fame with a New York Times Column of the same name.

The series, touted to be Amazon Prime Video’s first Telugu original show, will explore the vast spectrum of love through six beautifully woven stories. Modern Love Hyderabad will be helmed by celebrated filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor, who will be in the director’s chair for three stories and the writer for all six of them.

Born in Hyderabad, Nagesh has previously proved his mettle in parallel cinema with an acclaimed body of work as seen in Hyderabad Blues, Rockford, Iqbal, Dor, Aashayein, and Dhanak that went on to become commercial hits too. While his mother tongue is Telugu, the director has predominantly worked in Hindi cinema as he is more well-versed in English and Dakhni languages, which helped him understand the nuances of Hindi more than his mother tongue.

However, with Modern Love Hyderabad, the director will be venturing confidently into Telugu content for the first time. He tells us that while he recently made his first Telugu feature film, Good Luck Sakhi, it is with Modern Love Hyderabad that he got uninhibited with his mother tongue. Commenting on his foray into Telugu cinema, the filmmaker said, “Over the years, I got asked if I was going to make movies in Telugu and I would always tell people that when I’m confident about tackling the language, I will. It was just a sheer coincidence that I started shooting this film a little before Modern Love. Otherwise, I think my first foray into the Telugu space would have been Modern Love Hyderabad because it allowed me to explore different kinds of stories. It gave me a chance to be creative in writing.”

Director Nagesh Kukunoor on the sets of <em>Modern Love Hyderabad </em>
Director Nagesh Kukunoor on the sets of Modern Love Hyderabad 

He also spoke about how he enjoyed the creative freedom he got with the upcoming series. “While directing a typical feature film, one has to stick to one storyline and what does or doesn’t work for the audience. However, with Modern Love Hyderabad, it wasn’t the same. Here, I had free rein. So, this was far more exciting to venture into the Telugu space. Having shot it now, I’m a whole lot more open to working. Clearly, my confidence to work in my mother tongue has grown tenfold because of the show and by working with multiple actors. So, I think I might do more.”

The three stories directed by Nagesh for the web show include Suhasini Maniratnam and Naresh Agastya’s Why Did She Leave Me There; Ritu Varma and Aadhi Pinisetty’s Fuzzy, Purple & Full of Thorns, and the Nithya Menen and Revathy-starrer My Unlikely Pandemic Dream Partner. The remaining episodes are directed by Venkatesh Maha, Uday Gurrala, and Devika Buhadhanam and feature an eclectic cast including Abijeet Duddala, Malavika Nair, Ulka Gupta, Naresh, and Komalee Prasad.

Produced under the banner of SIC Productions, Modern Love Hyderabad will stream on Prime Video on July 8, 2022, in over 240 countries and territories.

Twitter: @RanaPriyamvada

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