Kumari Srimathi 2023 / A smartly written Telugu family drama with an underdog protagonist worth rooting for


Sometimes the ability to create good drama (and comedy!) just depends on one’s attentiveness to how the world works and how people would reasonably react to it. And this new Telugu-language series illustrates this perceptiveness and empathy to great effect. Kumari Srimathi tells a story free of unnecessary gimmicks and stylization, but still manages to make clashing cultural values and the struggle to make money compelling just through an attention to detail.

Right off the bat, there’s so much that drives Siri, our title character: her love for her late grandfather, her frustration with her conservative but well-meaning family, and her outrage at all the assumptions people make about her as a single woman. All of this is channeled into her impulsive gamble to save their old ancestral home. But Siri, played by a tough and incredibly sympathetic Nithya Menen, isn’t the only star of the show. Many times these family dramas are content with assigning stereotypes to secondary characters. And this show also admittedly does this, but there are significantly more of them who feel just as real as the protagonist—all attempting to negotiate for the things that matter most to them, all coming from an earnest place.

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