Can you think of a relatable yet bizarre premise? Fret not, Pradeep Ranganathan already did. Love Today follows the story of a new-age couple whose love is put to test, after they're made to swap their smartphones for a day. Do they really know and trust each other well? Will their love stand strong despite this adversity, or will it come crashing down?
Filmmaker Pradeep Ranganathan has found the knack to render a unique mix of observational and anecdotal comedy. In Jayam Ravi's Comali, he catered to the emotions of 90s kids, and in Love Today, he resonates with young couples and their ex-partners, specifically among the 2K kids.
The film delves into the dynamics of modern love in the age of social media and how the enemy of a relationship is often not an external entity, but rather an internal one.
This new age romantic entertainer emphasizes the age-old fact that "trust" is the foundation of a relationship.
The parallel analogy with Uthaman’s (Pradeep) childhood, where he digs the soil to see if the seeds germinate on a daily basis, was well-laced with the main story line.
The film also touches upon cyber-crimes and the perversity of the minds behind them. It shows the reality of how troublesome it is for women to navigate the internet space amidst the abusers. It also elucidates the detrimental effects of unsolicited pictures and videos in direct messages and how it impacts their real lives.
The first half is hilarious. At some point, it makes you wonder whether you are looking at the cinema screen or scrolling through your social media feed — for it looks like a visualization of relatable memes on modern-love and Indian parents.
Pradeep makes a confident acting debut. In fact, he reminds us of Dhanush in his formative years of his career.
His lover in the film, Ivana, scores equally well. Along with neat performances from bankable stars like Sathyaraj, Radhika Sarath Kumar, and Yogi Babu, several YouTube stars like "Temple Monkeys" fame Vijay Varadharaj, "Finally" Bhaarath, and Adhithya Kathir are also noticeable.
Needless to say, music composer Yuvan Shankar Raja’s energetic background score is a huge boon that elevates the over-the-top narrative style of Love Today. The mad energy in the screenplay, along with the funky visual effects, work mostly to ensure that the film is engaging for the youth.
However, the film does fall into the trap of villainizing female friendships under the notorious tag of "boy bestie." While it is true, that the instances shown are about cheating and these are only exclusive to the characters in the film. However, the jokes on generalizing adultery under genuine friendships are unnecessary and honestly, conservative.
There are several apparent laugh-out-loud scenes where Yogi Babu is mocked for his looks. But, the pre-climax sequence is packed with powerful lessons on "body shaming" that are very impactful. Yogi Babu's monologue holds a mirror up to you if you laughed along with those crass gags in the initial scenes. It lets you stand in his shoes, and it almost felt like a fitting reply from him to the filmmakers of his previous films who have demeaned him under the pretext of comedy and the audiences who laughed along. Ironically, there are "jokes" on tribal-themed pictures which are offensive.
And hence, the film gives you a mixed feeling. It is funny and also not funny. It taps into silly humor and attempts to achieve emotional maturity. It is progressive and yet regressive.
Love Today is running in cinemas near you.