“Did you see her wedding pictures? Damn, they looked so happy, didn’t they? And weren’t the decorations absolutely breathtaking?”
How often do you hear people say that, especially when your Facebook is hit with the big fat Indian wedding season fever? How often are you left mesmerized by that stunning lehenga that celebrity – or even your colleague – wore? And how can we ever forget the way they go all out those creative hashtags? What are weddings without their share of social media, right?
In short, weddings are supposed to be all colors, extravaganza, music, food and so much happiness. They are supposed to be the best, the most memorable days of our lives.
Cautionary note: If your perception about weddings is anywhere close to what I’ve written above, Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti are about to break that bubble and introduce you to a world we have probably seen before, but never quite cared to notice. Because who’ll enjoy the biryani then, right?
Amazon Prime’s Made in Heaven, Zoya and Reema’s latest digital venture – also their first – ironically deals with an alternate side of weddings that aren’t that heavenly. And if you expected an elite version of Band Baaja Baarat from the trailer – I don’t blame you, the makers played their cards really well – you are anything but right.
Revolving around the lives of Karan Mehta (Arjun Mathur), Tara Khanna (Sobhita Dhulipala) and their wedding planning venture Made in Heaven, the nine-part series gives the viewers an inside glimpse into the lives of not just the two minds at work but their team and the families involved in the marriages they organize. Each episode is about a different wedding, a different circumstance and how Made in Heaven deals with them amidst their own personal tales. Mind you, not all is hunky-dory, anywhere.
Without further ado, let’s get into the finer aspects of the series.
- Performances: The best part about this show. You are hooked because of Arjun and Sobhita. Talking about Sobhita, she is a find! Having starred previously in Raman Raghav 2.0 and Chef, this might just be the breakthrough she was looking for. You can’t help but empathize with her when she is going all out to strike a balance and become an insider in her own family, but is somehow unable to do so. Arjun is brilliant too. Portraying the role of a homosexual man trying hard to succeed but somewhere stuck in a box of memories of his complex past, he gives a standout, sensitive performance that thankfully does not fall into the stereotypes. Kalki Koechlin and Jim Sarbh as Faiza and Adil, along with Shashank Arora and Shivani Raghuvanshi as Kabir and Jazz make for a stunning ensemble.
- Storyline: Like I said earlier, I did not see this coming. Never did I expect a show that would indulge in several angles in these big fat weddings that are so problematic yet extremely normalized. Right from rich parents wanting to do ‘background checks’ on their supposedly ‘gold digging’ to-be daughter-in-law just because she doesn’t belong to their high-class society to the taboo behind getting married after the ‘right’ age; right from people forming judgments about whether a wedding is going to last while the pheras are on, to spending lacs and crores on making a Bollywood celebrity dance at the sangeet – the series deals with it all. And oh, so well! Not to forget what the central characters are going through while everything goes on. It’s a remarkable feat to achieve.
- Execution: Because what are weddings without the visuals? Zoya’s films are known for their screenplay and her show is no different. The visuals are brilliantly juxtaposed with the songs, so much so that you can almost feel the melancholy – yes, there will be weddings that will make you feel like that. It touches upon several subjects, including Section 377, class discrimination, #MeToo and superstitions among others and honestly, it’s complex to manage to show so much convincingly, but the writers, comprising Zoya, Reema, Alankrita Shrivastava and Prashant Nair, pull it off with an in-your-face yet rare subtlety.
The only (little) complain? The length. I honestly loved the show, but if they could reduce the length of it by even 10 minutes, it would have been crackling. Each episode lasts about 50 minutes, and while you might find yourself to get slightly off-track for a few minutes in between, the direction, the screenplay, the narration, they do more than make up for it.
Overall, this show is another big feather added to Reema and Zoya’s caps. It is novel, hits you in the right places, and introduces you to a few actors who might just be the future along with a show that is a must-add for your binge-watching list. We give it 4 chirps and a much-deserved applause.