Once in a while, I will come across a plot which seems so obvious it makes me wonder why it has not been done before. I had this experience when watching the trailer and then the film from Pradeep Ranganathan’s ‘Love Today’, his follow-up from his directorial feature length debut 2019’s comedy-drama ‘Comali.’ Ranganathan also stars in this feature alongside Ivana - whose performance in Bala’s 2018 film ‘Naachiyar’ was exceptional - as well as veteran actors Sathyaraj and Radhika Sarathkumar.
The film follows a couple, Uthaman Pradeep and Nikitha, who seem to be in a perfectly understanding relationship, which they keep a secret from their parents. When Nikitha’s father discovers this relationship, he accepts the situation on one condition: the duo must exchange phones with one another for a day. As one might suspect, trouble and hilarity ensues.
The acting performances from the entire ensemble is great. Pradeep Ranganathan is a natural, despite displaying shades of Dhanush at times. A moment in which his character crumbles into tears was pitch perfect in its physicality, evoking deep sympathy from the viewer. Ivana does an excellent job too, presenting a whole spectrum of emotion throughout the film. Sathyaraj and Radhika are cast in roles which we have seen from them multiple times before, but manage to make them feel unique. Another great performance comes courtesy of Yogi Babu, who is a lot quieter here in comparison to the usually cantankerous roles he lands.
The film tackles some timely, deep issues concerning one’s identity: the role one plays outwardly and the true self we keep hidden. The mobile phone has become an extension of this true self, where we store our true thoughts, feelings and secrets. ‘Love Today’ does a good job of exploring this in a short time frame - Uthama Pradeep claims a person needs a year to get to know another person, and then discovers more about his girlfriend over the course of a couple of days in comparison to the year he spent prior. The film starts off slowly (perhaps sections of the first half an hour could have been cut or shortened), but slowly and surely picks up momentum until all hell breaks loose.
As a specifically 21st century tale, the film uses various techniques to cement its feet in the current times. FaceTime is used multiple times, the screen becomes a TikTok duet momentarily, a bathroom becomes a portal into Instagram’s seedy DMs. These stunts are pulled off with relative success. Furthermore, the comedy mostly works.
Yuvan Shankar Raja’s soundtrack aids the chaotic tone of the film, particularly the song ‘Mamakutty,’ a scene which is visualised brilliantly through comic editing. There are more tender moments in the final act of the film, where the song ‘Ennai Vittu’ shines with its Sid Sriram vocals. The film is punctuated with musical breaks courtesy of Sathyaraj playing his veenai, where the sound design and music mix with the offbeat comedic tones well.
Overall, Ranganathan has achieved a solidly entertaining feature with ‘Love Today.’ Life is a tragedy seen in closeup, but a comedy in long-shot. Ranganathan is aware of this, and the switches between comedy and tragedy are executed masterfully. I would recommend this film if you enjoyed other quirky romantic comedies, such as ‘Meyaadha Maan’, ‘Kaadhalil Sodhapavadhu Yeppadi’ or ‘Kannum Kannum Kollaiadithal.’
Krishna’s rating: 3.5 stars
Official trailer for the film below.
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