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Love Today Review

Love Today
Sai Tulasi Neppali /
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait for OTT
Who is the villain of a modern romance? In Pradeep Ranganathan's rom-com Love Today, there are no bad guys blowing up Tata Sumos or hordes of goondas halting a wedding. Pradeep knows that Gen-Z love stories aren't about caste feelings or mismatched horoscopes. The biggest threats to the young couple in his movie are the contents of their own phones. All it takes to detonate their blissful relationship is 24 hours with full access to each other's past.

In Love Today, a sly father (Sathyaraj) agrees to let his daughter, Nikitha (Ivana), marry her boyfriend, Pradeep (Pradeep Ranganathan), if they can swap their phones for a day and still keep their love intact. He knows all too well that most youngsters treat their phones like extensions of their bodies: it's the place where all their secrets and embarrassments reside. Cunningly he suggests that if Nikita and Pradeep claim to know and love each other completely, then sharing their passcodes could be the ultimate romantic gesture. Like saying, "here is a key to my soul".

But as expected, all hell breaks loose when Nikita and Pradeep dive into each other's DMs and browsing history. It turns out neither is a paragon of virtue. Both are flirts. Both are still in touch with their exes. Pradeep watches porn; Nikitha watches sunrises at the beach with a boy saved in her phone as "bujji kannaaa". Just as Nikitha's father had anticipated, the once lovey-dovey couple are at each other's throats within hours.

The story's phone-swap angle feels gimmicky at the beginning, but it's soon apparent that the phone has a more substantial role to play: it's really the film's main character. Pradeep's mother (Radhika) is constantly berating him about his phone addiction. Pradeep's sister, who is happily engaged, slowly succumbs to the thought that her fiance (Yogi Babu) is hiding something by not freely sharing his phone passcode with her. Pradeep and his friends create a secret shared Instagram account to have some harmless fun. Every character seems driven to perverse behaviour by their phones. And thus the film explores the many ways in which these devices rule our lives and mediate today's relationships.

But not to worry - the story's almost-philosophical stance on phones goes down easy because the writing is relentlessly fun and engaging. Pradeep who not wrote and directed the movie but also stars as its lead, Pradeep, pulls off a hattrick on all counts. For one thing, he creates killer comedy sequences. In one scene, he stumbles across a recorded call in which Nikita is sweet-talking her ex. Pradeep is stunned by what he hears. Pradeep, who also wrote the movie's screenplay (is there anything he can't do?), shows the impact of this betrayal most creatively: Nikita's words swirl around the room and take on a pounding rhythm of a rap song that boomerangs in Pradeep's head over and over again.

There are a few bits of scatological comedy, which I'd rather forget. But otherwise, Love Today has an intellectually appealing story with some surprisingly powerful metaphors. In fact, it has a deeper message about trust and loyalty that surfaces towards the end.

Ivana and Pradeep admittedly look a bit mismatched because Pradeep's character doesn't have any obvious assets to balance Ivana's outsize beauty. But I suppose that's the nature of love. Their characters certainly seem head-over-heels, calling each other by icky petnames like "baby" and "bujji pandhi" (my sweet piglet). My favorite part of their relationship, though, was when it began to unravel. Ivana does a terrific job of acting out and weeping over her boyfriend's transgressions.

The star of the cast is Sathyaraj, who plays Nikita's fastidious father. He has all of ten minutes of screen time, but he leaves a lasting impression. His devilish grins and his "I-told-you-so" stares as the young couple fight and argue are gleeful to watch.

Love Today is a great showcase of Pradeep's many talents as a next-gen director. He seems plugged into the current dating culture, and he understands its realities in ways that may elude an older filmmaker. And he has a knack for romcoms - all his short films as well as his debut movie, Comali, were of this genre. Good for us, because Lord knows, good romcom directors are in very short supply these days.
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Love Today (telugu) reviews
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  • Cast
    Pradeep Ranganathan, Ivana, Sathyaraj, Yogi Babu, Radhika Sarathkumar, Raveena, Bharath, Adithya Kathir, Aajeedh Khalique, Vijay Varadaraj, Akshaya Udayakumar
  • Music
    Yuvan Shankar Raja
  • Director
    Pradeep Ranganathan
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
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