OTTplay Logo
settings icon
profile icon

U & I review: Ram Karthik, Nakshatra’s conversational drama makes for a decent watch

Written and directed by Siva Sai Vardhan, the five-episode show focuses on a couple on the cusp of a divorce amidst COVID-19 lockdown

U & I review: Ram Karthik, Nakshatra’s conversational drama makes for a decent watch
U & I

Last Updated: 02.35 PM, Feb 26, 2024



Kalyan and Nithya, a married couple in Hyderabad, are on the verge of getting divorced and are set to leave for their hometowns. Their plans come to a grinding halt when the COVID-19-induced lockdown is announced all over the country and they’ve no option but to tolerate one another for the coming months. How will the last leg of their relationship pan out?


Writer-director Siva Sai Vardhan, with his web originals Hello World, Geetha Subramanyam and Pelli Gola, has displayed a fair understanding of the complexities within urban, modern-day relationships, using a rather measured, light-hearted approach to address them. U & I, his latest endeavour, is cut from the same cloth as his earlier outings and deals with a relatable premise.

U & I focuses on the travails of a couple on the cusp of divorce that needs to survive together during lockdown, come what may. The danger with this premise is always its predictability - you know that the couple won’t grow out of love but will find themselves falling for one another again. Yet, within a beaten-to-death space, the conversational drama remains engaging, breezy and light-hearted.

For a major part, the show serves as a nostalgic peek at the lockdown - how it brought out the best and the worst in one another, humbled us, helped us introspect, find deeper meanings in relationships and offered an authentic portrait of our near and dear. U & I touches upon these aspects but doesn’t try to preach and never blows the drama out of proportion.

By setting its story within an apartment, the director, beyond the lead couple, also offers a glimpse of relationships between couples of various age-groups and how the gender-equations keep altering over time. While Kalyan comes across as a partly irresponsible, insensitive husband initially, you notice the many layers in his personality with every episode. Beneath the stubbornness of Nithya is a simple woman, who’s merely disappointed with her partner.

The show provides a holistic picture of everything that a warring couple could experience when they’re forced to stay under one roof - companionship, desire, frustration, ego clashes and tussles over household responsibilities. The issues remain very basic - cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, attending obligatory family meetings (online) and both characters act impulsively and you relate with them.

It’s the crisp conversations, good visual detailing and balanced performances that keep the viewer invested. The show never takes sides and portrays the flaws of both its characters sans judgement. Unlike several stories where couples parted ways after the lockdown, the director reverses the idea and looks at the lockdown in an optimistic light, presenting the characters an opportunity to relook at their relationship.

Within the household, the director brings in several quirks to contribute to the drama. The couple, that’s not on talking terms, uses Alexa, sticky notes and even a game of scrabble to communicate with one another. The game of ‘puranic’ tambola, as part of family bonding sessions, is used well to highlight the relationship dynamics. The sequence around Nithya’s PMS issues could’ve been weaved more organically into the narrative.

In a few segments, the treatment of the show feels like it’s dealing with the issues of a newly married/live-in couple rather than someone who’s about to get divorced. However, with the crisp runtime, compact theme, its follies don’t affect you much. Both Ram Karthik and Nakshatra Trinayani are sincere while portraying the vulnerabilities of their characters.

The idea to make space for a handful of songs through a live band is innovative and doesn’t distract the viewer from the narrative. The production design (Shiva Kumar Macha and Devika Sushil Kapadia) and Sridhar KV’s cinematography largely contribute to the liveliness of the proceedings. Sans any verbose dialogues and indulgences that compromise on the mood and the trajectory of the story, the episodes progress seamlessly and end at the right time.


U & I is a relatable, light-hearted conversational drama between a couple during lockdown. The show makes good use of its simple yet intriguing premise set amidst the lockdown, addressing many dark corners in modern-day relationships with adequate doses of humour and depth, when necessary. Ram Karthik and Nakshatra’s controlled performances keep a viewer engaged.

(The show is streaming on ETV Win )

Get the latest updates in your inbox