Sweet Kaaram Coffee, the new Amazon Prime Video original series created by Reshma Ghatala, has a very unnuanced style in the beginning portions. The format of this series is like what if women who belong to the middle class decided to do their own version of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. But after a reasonably jittery journey, Ghatala manages to give a climax that somewhere shapes the characters and leaves them in a properly conflicted space, something that the series lacked in the initial part of its journey.
The story here revolves around three women who belong to three generations. Kaveri is a typical middle-class housewife who considers being this facilitator as her role in the family. Her mother-in-law Sundari has got this newfound enthusiasm to live life to the fullest. And then we have Kaveri’s daughter Niveditha aka Nivi, who had to choose between her passion (cricket) and love. What we see in Sweet Kaaram Coffee is the journey of self-discovery of these three when they decide to go on a secret road trip.
Structurally, Sweet Kaaram Coffee is actually a bit outdated. It’s been over a decade since Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was released, and we have seen various iterations of that concept in many films and series. And Sweet Kaaram Coffee becomes even more underwhelming because the “you go girl” motivation angle is too much on your face. It was almost like, I appreciate your intent, and we do need a female journey of self-discovery on screen, but can you make it a bit more subtle? The story wasn’t shifting organically from one place to another, and some of the subplots and the introduction of these free-spirited characters felt like modern-day cliches.
The finale, which tries to enter a grey space, saves the series from being a wannabe product that resembles an amalgamation of usual ingredients. Sundari, who had huge expectations about the meeting with someone, had to face many questions for which she had no answer. It was perhaps the only area in the series that walked away from the predictable safe zone of feel-good content. The character development felt very inconsistent. Sundari was probably the only character that felt more real. But when it comes to Kaveri, the caricature tone is very evident. And Niveditha is written as a mixture of Kaveri and Sundari. And if you look at the characters around these people, there is an exaggeration of their coolness or ignorance, which makes the messaging part a little too loud.
An Amazon series universe is happening in the series when we are introduced to Radhe from Bandish Bandits. Even though it wasn’t a necessary cameo, the episode uses the backdrop of that character and Kaveri’s connection with music effectively. A big shoutout to Govind Vasantha’s signature-style background score. It is evident that he is the music director without even looking at the credits, but the violin and his humming get you every single time.
As the cool grandmother Sundari, Lakshmi is nothing short of excellent. The preachy and over-detailed nature of the dialogues was reduced considerably due to how she said those lines with utmost grace. The performance looks natural, even in those vulnerable moments toward the last episode. Madhoo, who plays the role of Kaveri in the series, is trying hard to play this naive mother of a millennial. I wouldn’t really blame her, as the character looked unrefined, even on a writing level. The mood swings of that character were quite unpredictable, and at times the series uses her pleasant smile to justify certain old-school thoughts. Santhy Balachandran delivers a confident performance as the unsure Nivi. The solution to the dilemma of Nivi, given in the series, looks too convenient.
Vamsi Krishna plays the quintessential free bird with some past trauma in this series. Dev plays the role of Karthik, Nivi’s boyfriend. Kavin Jay Babu portrays the part of Rajarathnam, Kaveri’s husband, the guy who connects the three women. Their performances are okay, but the writing was just not trying to make them worth registering. Padmavati Rao gets an excellent character in the series, and the performance was equally good and subtle. A shoutout to Ranjini Prabhu, who conveyed the confidence of the young Sundari with believable charm.
I must admit that I found the series quite dull in the initial episodes as the empowerment urge made it this desperately “women-oriented” subject. But the Just a Mother episode adds some life to the series, and after that, because of the uneasy dilemmas we see in the story, the feel-good aspect didn’t look too sugary and escapist. Now that the characters are in a new space with some unfamiliar confusion, a second season looks interesting. I hope the writing will evolve if a season 2 happens.
After a reasonably jittery journey, Ghatala manages to give a climax that somewhere shapes the characters and leaves them in a properly conflicted space, something that the series lacked in the initi
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended