'Little Things' season 4, now streaming on Netflix, brings back the familiar warmth and cosiness that set this show apart.

A screengrab of the 'Little Things' trailer, where Mithila Palkar is looking at Dhruv SehgalScreengrab | Netflix India
Flix Review Saturday, October 16, 2021 - 14:46

Little Things season 1 premiered on Dice Media’s YouTube Channel in 2016 and reportedly gathered 15 million views within days. For all of us who grew up watching unrealistic melodramatic love stories, Little Things came as a big breath of fresh air. Created originally by Dice Media and picked up by Netflix from season 2, Little Things tells the story of Dhruv (Dhruv Sehgal) and Kavya (Mithila Palkar) who are in a live-in relationship in Mumbai. The show struck a chord instantly because of its scintillating writing and excellent performances by its lead pair.

Dhruv and Kavya, whom we first met in their cutesy twenties, are now in their thirties, and finally ready to tackle the questions that come with wanting to spend a life together. The fourth and final season of the show, now streaming on Netflix, opens with the couple reuniting after spending 14 months apart. Dhruv has been in Finland for over a year, working with his school friend Sanket. Dhruv enjoys his work but can’t make peace with the fact he must be a subordinate to the guy who used to come second in class while he stood first. Kavya has been in Nagpur to spend more time with her family, but after years of living independently, she has found it difficult to live with her parents again.

After over a year apart, Dhruv and Kavya reunite in Kerala, where they have planned a short holiday together before moving back to Mumbai, where Dhruv has accepted a new job and Kavya is interviewing for her old one. The couple explore Alappuzha, Kochi and Munnar and talk about what went right and wrong in the months they were apart. Dhruv has not realised that Kavya stopped drinking coffee while they were apart, while she notices that he has lost some pounds and gained more confidence after his stint abroad.

Director Ruchir Arun takes some liberties by including multiple drone and jib beauty shots of Kerala, and even including some slow-motion montage of the couple walking around. While it looks pretty on screen, the sudden change in its scale is jarring. Little Things became popular not just because of the intimacy between its main characters, but also because it was easy-going in its execution. The makers swapped grandeur and scale for realism and relatability. To suddenly see graphics pop up like it’s a tourism video, and the rather cinematic camerawork, does feel odd.

There are lingering issues that the two skirt around but never delve deeply into, perhaps in a bid to stay true to the tonality of the show. In fact, the entire Kerala sequence seemed rather stretched, especially because the couple doesn’t really use this time to get any ugly confrontations, resentments, or serious doubts out of the way. Another small issue I had, that has never been an issue before, is the refusal to show any physical intimacy between the lead pair after all that time apart. There are token mentions of a hickey and phone sex, but perhaps including at least one scene on how a couple that has been apart for over a year deals with having sex again, would have stayed true to the show’s commitment to realism.

Things start getting more interesting once the couple is back in Mumbai and living together again. In the latter four episodes directed by Pranjal Dua, Dhruv deals with the challenges of his new job in academia while Kavya faces an unexpected health setback that threatens to create a long break in her promising career. But in what some may feel is a rather conventional ending, the two finally decide how they want to spend their lives together.

Dhruv and Mithila are reliably brilliant in their roles, but this time, the actors playing their parents often stole the scene — whether it's Loveleen Mishra and Pawan Chopra as Dhruv’s parents or Navani Parihar and Rishi Deshpande as Kavya’s.

The episodes in Mumbai bring back the familiar warmth and cosiness that set this show apart. It highlights intimate gestures or seemingly simple acts that couples in long term relationships often take for granted — a foot massage, having someone with you at a medical appointment, helping your partner’s parents like you would have your own parents. Or just having someone in your life who loves you even though you may occasionally burp loudly in their presence.

Over four seasons, we have seen Dhruv and Kavya chase their professional ambitions, spend time together and apart, and understand what they truly want from life. While seasons 1 and 2 explored their life as a twosome, season 3 forced them to find space in their relationship to grow or be happy as separate individuals. Season 4 doesn’t neatly tie up all the loose ends because in life as well, there are no happy endings or neat plot structures.

As Dhruv says in a heart-warming scene, life just seems to be about going around in circles. You solve a problem and feel you’re moving forward, only to find some new obstacle. Kavya smiles and replies: then what really matters is who you are going around in circles with. We couldn’t agree more. But as we bid goodbye to Dhruv and Kavya, we wouldn’t mind a spin off show on their moms and dads, whose desi parent cuteness is sure to tug at your heartstrings. 

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