The title might make you expect a rather fast-paced show, but Ashwiny Iyer Tiwary’s new directorial is a slow-burner. It stirs the depths of human emotions and lets you wallow in the pain and hopelessness. Faadu- A Love Story is about a man desperate to change the life he was born into and gambles with it out of overconfidence and desperation. He meets a woman in college who finds poetry in the most abject of situations. Together, they try to find their happily ever after, which is constantly challenged by grim reality.
Pavail Gulati plays Abhay, an ambitious and intelligent man from the Kanjurmarg slum in Mumbai, who wants to go from rags to riches faster than time. Saiyami Kher’s Manjiri is more romantic, a literature enthusiast who sees poetry in everything, and is more accepting of her reality. Abhay loses his mother to cancer, for lack of proper funds, deals with an alcoholic brother and the expectations of an auto-driver father who hopes at least his younger son will achieve something in life.
Amid Abhay’s struggles to gamble with fate and fast track his rags to riches journey, the love story stays subtle yet solid. There is no overt expression of love, just exchange of glances that say, I’m there for you. Sometimes, it seems a little to impractical, the way Manjiri stands by Abhay, no matter what, despite her own opposing views. But she is a woman who chose literature over medicine in college, so it is understood that she chooses the heart over the head, mostly.
Manjiri’s relationship with her father is a rare one where she can bare her soul as a friend, and he doesn’t judge. She can recount her visit to the sets of a B-grade film and still not be reprimanded by her father. This father-daughter relationship is a refreshing one.
Pavail Gulati’s role here is quite different from his Thappad avatar. While he tries his best to embody the angst of a man born with nothing, he can look like a fish out of the water in many parts. Saiyami, on the other hand, seamlessly blends with her character from rural Konkan.
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari zooms into the grime and filth of a slum existence, in an attempt to romanticize poverty, just like Saiyami’s character. Both Abhay and Manjiri will come across as oddballs, rather misfits in the society, and their choices can seem impractical and unrelatable.
At the beginning of the show, Saiyami and Pavail don’t really look the part as 12th pass students entering college. The show also takes leaps without altering their clothes or appearances, which seems like an oversight on the director’s part.
Faadu seems to firmly emphasize that one can choose his/her own destiny. But the price you have to pay might be too high. While a man’s desperation to change his fate makes it a relatable watch, the choices Abhay’s character makes can alienate the viewer at many points.
There are small twists in the tale that keep you hooked in a series that develops rather slowly. It’s only halfway through the story that you really get interested to see how Abhay manages to achiever his dreams. Some subplots, like the one with RK, can also seem a little purposeless in the larger scheme of things. Watch the show if you have the patience to wait for the story to get interesting in the later episodes.
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