In an idyllic hill station tucked away somewhere in the Nilgiris, lives a spirited young girl who repairs time-pieces for a living. She sends her father out in the street because he won’t give up drinking, but wakes him up from his roadside sleeping place with a hot cuppa each morning. This Little Ms Perfect is Aranya (played by Ayesha Takia), the heroine of director Nagesh Kukunoor’s Mod, an inconsistent but well-intentioned love story that unfortunately doesn’t work.
Aranya is pursued rather endearingly by shy suitor Andy (played by Ranvijay Singha), who reveals he’s been crushing on her since they were in school. But shortly after she loses her heart to him, Aranya discovers Andy may not be who he claims.
Kukunoor infuses the film with charming characters, like a Kishore Kumar-obsessed musician, and an obesity-battling gift-shop owner. There are some quaint ideas too: Aranya refuses to own a mobile phone because it gives you brain cancer, she says. Andy wants to give her the world’s best kiss, but doesn’t quite know how to when she puckers her lips. Despite these little moments, and the presence of at least two solid actors in Raghuvir Yadav and Tanvi Azmi, Mod is a test of your patience because the screenplay is a complete drag.
The film unfolds lazily well after the twist has been revealed; and the central conceit isn’t even true to its own logic. There are plot holes the size of craters here. Ayesha Takia has a calming presence, but Ranvijay Singha, despite his earnest efforts, simply doesn’t have the chops to carry off such a complex part.
I’m going with two out of five for Nagesh Kukunoor’s Mod. Let down by sloppy writing, this is one hard slog.