Kunal Kohli’s latest web series is a hapless attempt where Lara Dutta and Prateik Babbar couldn’t even save it.
A newly divorced single mother (Lara Dutta Bhupathi), her commitment-phobic younger brother (Prateik Babbar), and her bright but befuddled adolescent daughter (Shinnova), all of whom make up a sweet, unusual family of three, try their hardest to navigate dating, relationships, and life. We experience their highs and lows alongside them as they find their stride, both as a group and individually.
After watching Lara Dutta Bhupathi in Hundred on Disney+ Hotstar last year, I can only say that it's her presence that makes the dull content watchable. With Hiccups & Hookups, the actor continues her streak of doing it. There's nothing new to offer in Lionsgate Play's first original Indian series created by Kunal Kohli. There's nothing to write home about the show, which also stars Prateik Babbar, who, by the way, is also good to watch.
But what about the story? Two siblings live under the same roof and share a no-filter relationship. Lara and Prateik as Vasu and Akhil are shown as best of friends; they don't even remember that the Raksha Bandhan festival needs to be celebrated (but they do). Their whole lives revolve around a dating app named Ketchup, created by Akhil. While Vasu is just separated and exploring her single life after two decades of being a married woman,
Not just that, she is also a single mother to an 18-year-old girl, Kavanya (Shinnova), who is enjoying the perks of adulthood. The series casually shows her boyfriend spending the night with her while her mom and uncle don't even object.
Just like its title, the series explores more of the sexual escapades of each of them. But is that what a modern family is about? Sadly, their sexual adventures take over the story, which had other topics also being explored. In the show, there are discussions on depression, body shaming, infidelity, proving your mettle to your parents and more. But they are brushed under the carpet as something not worthy of being acknowledged.
Talking about the location, the whole series is set against the backdrop of Bengaluru city. It's a fast-paced metro life, but I am sure not everyone says "machan", which is a Tamil word, at the end of a sentence or addresses one another as "daa" casually. But if you set a show or a movie in a location that is usually not explored by Hindi makers, a slight stereotyping is the norm, right?
As for performances, as mentioned earlier, Lara is indeed a shining star in the series. The actor is put through a lot of awkward moments in the series, which she must not have faced in her nearly two-decade-long career. But she emerges as a winner with her quirky expressions and her refusal to go overboard with her performance. The actor has maintained a level of consistency despite doing an experimental role, which worked for her.
Meanwhile, Prateik, on the other hand, is also someone to watch out for. It's not something new that the actor has done, but he performs it organically. The actor has proved that he can carry a movie on his shoulders and he picks the right moment in the series in which he excels well.
Shinnova is mostly a catalyst in the story and is shown more as someone who wants to go all out as a teenager. drinking before reaching legal age, crushing on professors, having a casual relationship in college, and more. But the debutante delivers a decent performance for her first outing.
However, the mother-daughter relationship is less explored than the sibling bond that Lara and Prateik share.
Hiccups & Hookups is Kohli's second directorial in 2021, after Lahore Confidential. The filmmaker is one of the few who experiments with genres, going from rom-coms to espionage thrillers. Here, Kohli explored family relationships with a modern outlook. But, the explorations are limited to sex, dating, and basically, the director just stuck to the title, which stretched for eight episodes.
The series can't even be called a breezy watch as it has a lot of forced moments that are put in to give it a Sex and the City approach. However, it doesn't resonate much as it seems like a mission. The sitcom approach also fails the narrative, as no story goes forward except for the sexual journey that each of them goes through.
Hiccups & Hookups is an experimental attempt but gets misfired in proving that content is still king.
Hiccups & Hookups, Kunal Kohli's web series debut, has its sadly forgettable moments. If you watch, maybe Lara Dutta Bhupathi will stay on your mind for a while.