Little Things Season 3 review: Dhruv Sehgal, Mithila Palkar are even more real and relatable in this Netflix Original
Little Things Season 3 deftly projects the ripple effects of a long-distance relationship but does not restrict its scope to a myopic stance on the issue.
Language: Hindi and English
In an exclusive interview, Little Things writer and actor Dhruv Sehgal had revealed his sole ambition with the third season of the Netflix India Original show was the leading couple, Kavya (Mithila Palkar) and Dhruv (played by himself), get even more real than they did in Season 2.
Season 3 proves Dhruv was spot on with his assessment. Dhruv and Kavya become even more relatable, without compromising on the originality of the treatment, in season 3. The trailer showed a long-distance relationship would serve as the bone of contention in the third season. This is established in the first scene of the new season. Once it is out of the way, the show actually focuses on not only the ripple effects of a long-distance relationship on both the partners, but also the perennially dangling sword above their relationship, of an impending marriage.
Dhruv moves to Bangalore to assist a professor at the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in her research, while Kavya continues to work at the same company in Mumbai. Through his writing, Dhruv Sehgal and other writers explore the concept of a 'happy place', and how one can find it when they decide to step out of their comfort zone. For some, it is a new city that gels better with their sensibilities, and for the others, it is the hometown which was always an option somewhere at the back of their mind.
The impact of a long-distance relationship usually revolves around the partner moving to newer pastures. But since they were already greener for Dhruv (since he confessed he felt more productive in Bangalore), the show smartly throws light on the partner left behind. For Kavya, everything is the same, except she has to get through it all in the constantly glaring absence of Dhruv. The 'little things' she did with him back in the days come back haunting, reminding her of his absence every day.
The long-distance relationship is not limited to the live-in partners but also extends to their respective families back home, in Kanpur and Delhi respectively. Two episodes strategically showcase a day in the life of Dhruv and Kavya, when they return to Delhi and Kanpur respectively. They can be seen trying to share with each other aspects of their life through video calling. The ghar wapasi gives both a much-needed reality check, and they come across certain realisations; like their parents growing old, and people around them still harbouring archaic notions (Read: "Why don't you two get married?").
These two episodes, along with a flashback on their past relationships, offer interesting insights into the people they are, and their outlook towards marriage and commitment. Despite the irresistible chemistry shared by Dhruv and Kavya, the makers tend to take risk in Season 3 by letting the audience in on their solo journeys.
Little Things Season 3 continues where most long-distance relationship-based shows would have ended — at the reunion of the two partners. It also focuses on how Dhruv and Kavya readjust in their old space, which initially meant the world to them.
The writing in the show demonstrates a gradual change in the perspectives of both Dhruv and Kavya, and how they land on the same page after multiple arguments.
Credit must be given to Dhruv Sehgal and other writers for allowing his character to have the shorter end of the stick. Dhruv Vats is flawed and temperamental, which probably explains his disorientation at this stage of his life when he has turned 30. Kavya, on the other hand, is more understanding and calmer. (In the above interview, Dhruv mentioned he was 50 percent Dhruv Vats and 50 percent Kavya. The third season demonstarted how one half of him is tactfully balancing the other.)
Dhruv and Mithila have played their characters for almost four years now. It is no surprise they can now sleepwalk their parts in any given situation.
Director Ruchir Arun seems to have secured a strong grasp on the treatment, mood and tone of the show, just like the actors. Sumit Aroraa has also directed four episodes, and succeeds in maintaining the tricky tonality of the show. Cinematographer Aniruddha Patankar captures the 'little things' in all their glory, reminding the viewers of the story behind them. Editor Saumya Sharma lends ample breathing space to the characters. Season 3 also employs VFX in two sequences across the show, probably as symbols of the characters' state of mind. These special effects do not belong to the real world of Little Things. While they also seem to add to the central narrative, they end up distracting from the tonality of the show.
Production designers Nimish Kotwal and Riyaz Shaikh, and costume designer Anandita Singhvi have more to do in Season 3, given the wide range of locations, outfits and atmospherics (since the show is set across multiple cultures and cities.) One interesting visual change in Season 3 is in Dhruv's costumes, which go beyond solid T-shirts and shorts, as he assumes a more outgoing role in the latest instalment. Neel Adhikari's background score, as always, is a major highlight of the show. He highlights the characters' changing perspectives through soul-stirring music and lyrics.
Season 3 is definitely a jump from Season 2, which itself was a leap from Season 1. The new instalment builds on the tone of Season 2, but also offers a resolution with much more clarity. That is also an aberration since the conflicts never turn messy or even silly for a long period of time.
Dhruv and Kavya seem like a couple who are willing to iron out their differences for the sake of long-term commitment. In Season 3, they effectively get promoted to yet another stage of a relationship. Whether they get married or not should be explored, but the two contrasting parts residing in Dhruv Sehgal definitely seem to have married each other, discord notwithstanding.
Little Things Season 3 is produced by Pocket Aces. It is currently streaming on Netflix.
All images from Netflix.
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