Sweet Kaaram Coffee started as a relatable, slice-of-life web series that takes us on a journey with three women from the same family – Grandmom (Sundari), Mom (Kaveri), and Daughter (Nivi). All three women are struggling with their own issues and are looking for a break, we can also call it an ‘escape.’
While Sundari (played by Lakshmi) is on the roads to find a loved one she lost long ago, Kaveri (played by Madhoo) is taking a break from her husband who has taken her for granted. Nivi (played by Santhy Balachandran), who is a cricketer, is running away from her boyfriend (Karthik), who is also a cricketer and wants her to quit playing after marriage as his family wouldn’t approve of a cricketer daughter-in-law. After Karthik lies to his family about Nivi’s profession and asks her to choose between him and the game, she decides to take this trip after her Mother randomly proposes it as a joke and the Grandmother takes it seriously.
Everything was going good till we were shown the internal battles women fight everyday while finding a footing in the society, sometimes, even in their own male-dominated families. But then, something in the story started going downwards.
SWEET KAARAM COFFEE STORY
Sweet Kaaram Coffee, as you must have seen in the trailer, is about three women on a road trip. As you know by now, everyone’s reasons to be on this trip are different. While the first few episodes focusses on their interpersonal relationships along with their personal transformations, we get to see interesting equations that they develop with each other. As they cut down the outside noise, they also are seen connecting better with themselves, especially the mother-daughter duo.
But we see Paati (Sundari) still looking for someone. As she keeps calling a friend looking for this person’s exact address, we see her tricking fellow travellers and changing the trip’s route from Goa to Pune, and then to Dharamshala. But who is Paati looking for?
As the story moves forward, we are given hints that she is looking for someone she was romantically interested in. Having said that, she had married the guy she loved then was this an extra-marital affair? The chances seem high as her husband turns out to be a person with dictator-like qualities.
This twist in the story is the major disappointment in Sweet Kaaram Coffee. This reminded me of Manoj Bajpayee and Sharmila Tagore’s Gulmohur and there was another Renuka Shahane’s short film that has the exact same twist in the end. We see Sundari reunited with an old friend, Deva, who is also her romantic interest. Sundari, in her younger days, did not stand up for Deva (played by Padmavati Rao) and left the town with her husband and two kids. It was nothing but a betrayal for Deva. Now, after 38 years, Sundari finds Deva to apologise to her and also to spend the rest of the life with her as a companion. These lesbian twists are really getting on my nerves now. If you want to talk about lesbian love stories, write stories that would do justice to them, their relationships, and the emotional trauma they go through due to the rejection they face in the society. And if you don’t want to talk about their issues, show them living a regular life with their same-gender companion. But please do not make one more movie where a lesbian partner is just a twist in the end.
Even Nivi’s story was half-baked. When someone doesn’t accept you whole-heartedly, how can choosing that person as your life partner be a right thing to do? When you begin the show, Karthik is a toxic, male-chauvinist character but by the end of the show, he has a change of heart and everything suddenly falls in place for the couple. Since this is a half-baked story, I am assuming that the makers have planned a season 2 of Sweet Kaaram Coffee or else, leaving us with pregnant Kaveri and confused Nivi wouldn’t make sense. If the writers are planning to focus on who does Nivi choose, Karthik or Vikram in season 2, this would be a bad idea.
I cannot end this review without mentioning how I liked the quick integration of another story of a Marathi woman these three stay with when their car breaks down. The way Kaveri gives her a break from daily chores while bonding with her was what I was expecting from Sweet Kaaram Coffee. I do not know whether the lady who played that short role was an actress or a local but she did a wonderful job – made a lasting impact.