Modern Love: Mumbai chronicles a different story in each of six episodes, with the city of Mumbai being a part of all the narratives. The series is now streaming on Prime Video.
Since the series is an anthology, the plot has been divided into six different parts, which are later revealed to be inter-connected in essence.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Raat Rani summary (Episode 1):
Lali (Fatima Sana Shaikh), a cook, is married to Lutfi (Bhupendra Jadawat), a guard at a posh society.
One day, Lutfi just leaves without a word. While Lali initially thinks it’s nothing serious, it soon dawns upon her that he really isn’t coming back.
They would travel on his scooter. He leaves a cycle behind for her to travel now, which she is unable to ride properly on the Mumbai roads.
Lali is distraught at the thought of being alone now, and she breaks down in front of her employers.
Eventually, she learns to ride the cycle and crosses a highway in Mumbai at night. This leaves her elated, and she starts to become more joyous.
Tracking down Lutfi, she has ice cream with her one last time, telling him that he is too late now and even if he wants to come back now, she has “crossed the highway”, a metaphor for moving ahead without him.
Lali gets her roof fixed, complete with a Kashmir-inspired painting, and starts a late-night tea business on her cycle.
As she glides through the highway at night, where two-wheelers aren’t allowed, she references how society doesn’t allow many things, but this shouldn’t stop you.
Baai summary (Episode 2):
Manzu (Pratik Gandhi) is returning to his ancestral home in Mumbai. A conversation with his family brings up the fact that he is gay, and the past.
Years before, when they were children, riots took place in the city. The assailants reached their house, but something that their grandmother, whom they call Baai (Tanuja Samarth), said had made them leave.
Baai reveals that all she did was offer them money and that those who spread hate are often for sale. Manzu has always felt Baai is too conservative to accept him, and everybody tells him that if he does, Baai will pass away due to the shock.
His sister, Rehana (Kashmira Irani) was forced to get married and the moment his parents came to know about his sexuality, they started treating Manzu as if he had a disease.
Rehana is supportive of Manzu, and even tells him to bring his partner, Rajveer (Chef Ranveer), to meet the family.
He met Rajveer in Goa, and after the two resonated during their initial meeting, they started a relationship.
When he does bring him, his parents are fuming. Rehana stands up for Manzu, regretful at what had happened to her in the past, and the two get married. While Manzu doesn’t see his family there, his mother and sister eventually arrive, much to his happiness.
Manzu finally gathers the courage to talk to Baai, but before he can, she already asks if Manzu and Rajveer love each other, with a tone of acceptance.
Manzu is left teary-eyed that his grandmother is so understanding of him. But, at this moment, she also passes away. But not with shock, possible with being fulfilled that Manzu confided in her. Manzu and Rajveer stand in the front, as she is taken for burial.
The gay man who ousted him earlier with his child in the background, signifying that he never had the courage to come out and continues living a fake life.
Mumbai Dragon summary (Episode 3):
Sui (Yeo Yann Yann) has her own Chinese eatery. At the start, she takes the vow in front of Chinese General Kwan Tai Kon, who is worshipped in China, that she will never speak Hindi again.
When Pappi Singh (Naseeruddin Shah), a regular customer comes to the eatery, he questions why she is only speaking in Cantonese.
Some time ago, his son, Ming (Meiyang Chang) brought a girl with him named Megha (Wamiq Gabbi), to meet her.
Adored by her mother, Ming receives a vast amount of food from Sui, who thinks of it as a token of her love for him.
Sui told Megha about her family’s past. However, the moment she realised that the two were in a relationship, she started to become hostile towards her.
Megha, a vegetarian, does not eat garlic. Sui made eggplant dish for her, which she loved, and asked her to send it every week.
Sui realised that it was Megha who dissuaded Ming from pursuing his career as a dentist any further and try his luck as a singer. Post this, she started to call her a ‘vegetarian witch’ and urges Ming to leave her and marry in his own community.
When Sui realised that the two are living together, she left in anger. Megha told Ming that he needs to communicate with his mother. Following this, Sui took the vow that she won’t speak Hindi till her son returns.
Back in the present day, Ming comes back and talks to Pappi and Sui. His mother keeps giving him a number of boxes of food, despite him telling her not to.
When Megha’s father insults Ming’s decision to quit dentistry for singing, she tells him that opportunities come to everybody in the form of balloons, and he needs to be ready to burst them when they do.
During a video shoot by Anurag Kashyap, who plays himself, the delays caused by the singer are costing him a fortune. Sensing this, Ming gives an impromptu ‘audition’ in the men’s washroom. He is selected for the song.
Pappi Singh asks Sui to give Megha a fair chance. Ming confronts his mother that the boxes of food in excess are leading to them rotting. With much reluctance, she accepts to send just two boxes.
Megha, Pappi and Sui all look at Anurag Kashyap’s music video, realising that Ming has gotten a huge opportunity which could make his career.
Looking at Ming giving credit for his success to Megha and her balloon analogy during an interview, Sui shows hints of a change of heart.
She leaves boxes with the guard, which Ming believes are just more boxes of regular food. When Megha opens it, she finds the eggplant dish that Sui had made for her earlier, symbolising that she has accepted her, as food remains her token of love.
My Beautiful Wrinkles summary (Episode 4):
Dilbar Sodhi (Sarika) has long separated from her husband. There’s an old car outside her house in terrible condition, but the reason isn’t stated at the start.
Her granddaughter, Siya (Ahsaas Channa) is dating a boy named Aman, but Dilbar thinks she should be with someone more responsible, citing how she left her husband because he was an ‘overgrown child’.
She regrets not being able to make something more out of her life. Once aspiring to be a writer, Dilbar has settled for recommending books to others in the present day.
She is helping Kunal (Danesh Razvi) in cracking interviews. In one of the sessions, it is revealed that he had made an erotic drawing of her and fantasises about her.
While Dilbar tells him off initially, she cannot help herself from fantasising about him as well. Meanwhile, Kunal’s life goes from bad to worse as he grapples with his feelings and pressure from his father to return to Ahmedabad if he does not get a job in Mumbai soon.
She confides in her friends about a guy, 30 years younger than her, being attracted to her, but they urge her not to feel guilty about the interest.
During a conversation with Siya, who has been betrayed by Aman, it is revealed that Dilbar was with another man after her husband, named Iqbal, when Siya asks her if she misses him.
Dilbar affirms that she misses Iqbal, as she looks at photos of him later, with the same worn-down car from before in the background.
She sits in the car with his old clothes and cries her heart out, apologising to him. This confirms that he died in an accident.
Dilbar meets Kunal again and lets him know about Iqbal and the accident, and that she was driving the car that day. He attempts to console her by letting her know it wasn’t her fault.
While she confesses that she fantasised about him as well, she convinces him that this must end here, at fantasies and occasional coffee meetings.
Kunal decides to freelance and stop taking money from his father, making strides in his own personal life.
Dilbar finally throws away Iqbal’s clothes and allows the car to be dumped, signalling that she is finally ready to move on from the past.
As she starts to feel alive again, she has shots of alcohol with her friends, in the name of their “beautiful wrinkles”; celebrating old age.
I Love Thane summary (Episode 5):
Saiba (Masaba Gupta), is 34 and looking for the perfect modern man. She works as a landscape artist for different projects.
She goes out on dates with men who just aren’t up to the mark, some even outrightly asking to hook up.
When she gets assigned to a project under the Thane Municipality, she meets their point of contact; Parth (Ritwik Bhowmik).
As the two have conversations, Parth is revealed to be completely content with living in Thane and doesn’t even pay much attention to social media, much to Saiba’s surprise.
She confides in her best friend Ashu (Dolly Singh), that it’s refreshing to find someone like him when they thought everybody they knew had left Thane.
Parth has the dream of developing Thane and making it a much better city. And the current project will go a long way toward achieving that.
However, the project is later shelved by the Thane Municipality. After a bit of talk, Parth reveals this to Saiba, who questions why she came all the way to Thane if the project had been suspended.
Since there is no project anymore, there is no reason for Saiba and Parth to meet going forward. Except, Saiba is still thinking about him.
During a melancholic conversation with Ashu, the latter tells her that, after her divorce, the first to wish her on her birthday was the hotel staff. This made her realise she needs love to fully experience life.
Affected by this, Saiba goes to Thane and hopes Parth will show up for his morning run. She confesses that she missed him, and he reciprocates.
He tells her that he was writing an email to her that is almost complete, which states that, while he has seen the entirety of Thane, he wants to see the rest of Mumbai with her. Their relationship begins with a kiss.
Cutting Chai summary (Episode 6):
Latika (Chitrangada Singh) has been married to Daniel Martins aka Danny (Arshad Warsi) for over 17 years, with two children togeher.
Caught in the mundane life as household chores take over, Latika has never been able to truly ignite her writing career after a successful start with a short story. She just can’t seem to complete her novel.
When she complains that Danny and the household don’t allow her to write, he accidentally blurts out that she’s only blaming him because she can’t write.
Latika has an important event in the evening, and she implores Danny not to be late again. The two start to make their way to the event.
As she iterates her annoyance at Danny always being late, she ponders how her life would have been had she made different choices in life.
Waiting for the train, Latika remembers that it was this exact spot where she had her first heartbreak. Her boyfriend at the time, Vikram Chaudhary, left Mumbai on a train, but she did not accompany him. He became an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) later in life.
She meets a newlywed woman at the station, who tells her she acts as if she likes tea, because her husband likes it, while in truth, she prefers coffee.
As her husband arrives, Latika tells him his wife like coffee more than tea, and these small things need to be communicated at the start or they grow into big problems. Latika is referencing her own frustration in marriage and what she dislikes about Danny.
She calls Danny’s sister, Alicia (Pushtii Shakti), to complain and the two go on a mini rant. He was late to Alicia’s wedding as well but showed up with orchids to alleviate the situation.
Latika reminisces her time as the assistant of the Yellow Taxi Publishers’ editor Amal Ali. During an event, Amal told her to socialise with the writer there.
Unable to muster up the courage, she went for coffee instead. A staff member at the hotel told her the coffee is bad and gave her a cutting chai he made himself instead. This was none other than Danny himself.
After hitting it off during this encounter, the two started dating and got married. Latika starts imagining things differently.
She runs scenarios in her mind of staying with Vikram, and not talking to Danny during the event but it still ends with Vikram telling her exactly what Danny did about not being able to write.
Latika gets on the train and texts Danny to ask him if he has reached. He replies that he is on the train. She spots him, as he chuckles during their texting.
She has flashbacks of each time that Danny messed up but still managed to make it up to everybody he disappointed, and all the ‘cutting chais’ of course. He was even caught recommending Latika’s short story once, an extremely sweet gesture.
After all the ‘what ifs’, she has finally realised that this is the life she chose and it is the best possible outcome for her.
Latika texts him she’s right in front of him but before he can apologise for getting late again, she gestures not. He apologises for what he said earlier, and that he did not mean it. Latika knows this and forgives him.
The two embrace as they stare out of the train together with the lingering issues now resolved.
Modern Love: Mumbai endings explained:
At the end of Cutting Chai, all the earlier episodes also get their own endings with all stories intertwining. Lali was caught by the police for breaking the highway rules, and the fine was paid by her employers. It looks like she’s having the time of her life.
As she rides away on her cycle, she almost crashes into Dilbar. Kunal comes to one of her book recommendation sessions and informs her of his decision to relinquish all help from his father. This means he will have to shift neighbourhoods.
He is now a freelancer and Dilbar loves his new, normal sketches. She lets him know that she will miss seeing him running every day. He, in turn, invites her to his marathon. They hint that they will be meeting each other someday, not completely closing the curtain on this relationship or ‘fantasy’.
The scene shifts to Manzu and Rajveer, hand in hand, travelling in a taxi with the former’s sorrow clear as day. As they took Baai’s body that day, Ming witnessed it and prayed for her.
He proceeds to join his mother for the Chinese New Year celebration, along with Pappi, and Megha, who is now very much a part of the family now and there is no hostility from Sui.
Coincidentally, Saiba and Parth are also at the celebrations. They discuss how to describe Mumbai in captions, but are unable to think of something. Saiba is just content with the fact that the city gives her hope. They are still as different but closer than ever.
Kunal is alone at the seaside, and right next to him, Latika tells Danny that she needs to complete her novel this year at any cost.
He suggests dividing the duties. When she demands a window and a view for inspiration, Danny jokes that they should break the building next door as well for a better view, making her laugh.
The season ends as they proceed to have a dance together out in the open, with the two working on their marriage in tandem.