Had the premise of Kalyanam Conditions Apply 2.0 been pitched to producers in the 90s, the television medium would have made for an obvious choice for a telecast. The industry has now regressed to such a state that Indian television is branded as content for homemakers who prefer heightened melodrama to liven up their dull lives. That's a reason why most situational-comedies on the digital medium have begun to fill that void and even remind you of the inoffensive television soaps of the 90s. How a couple, with both the partners belonging to different cultures, navigates through the pressures of modern-day living in a metro in a lighter-vein, forms the plot of Kalyanam Conditions Apply 2.0.
The series is a bunch of relevant, interesting ideas that are left lurching in the bin. They talk of several ills that plague millennial households on a daily basis – the online shopping addiction where you pile up material at home even if they don't serve any purpose, the smartphone obsession that comes in the way of human interaction, the wacky tactics an employee uses to tackle a boss during appraisals, the forever-delayed family holidays, the pressure to outscore your neighbour in cultural events organised at a gated community – across 6 episodes that barely last 15 minutes each. None of these episodes works or it's better to say that each episode works only partially. The director's understanding of humour is skewed, the writing is lazy and the lead performers (Senthil and Sreeja) are not effective to make an individualistic impact or salvage the execution.
Comedy is a genre that works when the storytelling is sincere. There needs to be some sense of flow and timing to it. Everything here looks 'scripted' and the tone feels like an extension of the regional shady standup comedy shows on television channels. The friction between two neighbouring State cultures while dealing with urban life is quite a universal one and a potent material to explore in a web series. The situations i.e. arguments and discussions between characters turn out to be very petty.
Notice the way the two merely blame their home States in an argument, how an overweight boss reportedly discusses food during official meetings and even pressurises the protagonist's wife to prepare lunch (?!), how the husband hands over recently purchased online goods to the thieves – neither are they intelligently scripted nor do the actors have much spontaneity while enacting it. The creators of Kalyanam Conditions Apply 2.0 just try too hard to sell the humour quotient. The writing reflects the pressure that makers may have gone through in creating a sequel to a successful original.
Just like how Mirchi Senthil in the series has to tolerate the unfunny, crude jokes of his boss and pretend he's laughing, the viewer cringes through the supposedly funny sequences. The chemistry between the lead couple is barely existent and for a real-life couple being cast as the leads, that's not what you expect. Sreeja definitely shows better promise between the two. The few genuine instances where the series strikes a chord are those that deal with the Swiggy delivery guy and the smartphone madness of the male protagonist.
The problem with multiple seasons and franchising an interesting original – the series merely becomes a money, viewership-churning vehicle. Time and again, the branding is thrust upon your face, regular inserts of Radio Mirchi, Amazon, Flipkart and Swiggy make the content feel as it was made to please its sponsors. If only the writers focused more on their script and less on the annoying ways to market their sponsors...