Made in heaven brings out the mess behind those perfectly staged Indian weddings.
Ever since online streaming took over the market and literally got everyone to chuck the remote and get hooked to their phones, the cynic in us has been thrashing about because it used to believe that Indian audience can never appreciate quality content. Oh, how wrong it was! With the success of some of the Hindi language web series like Amazon Prime’s own “Mirzapur” and “Four More Shots Please”, we as an audience are maturing and learning to revere true talent, irrespective of cast, creed or gender. Speaking of gender, things are looking bright for the “Girl Power” as Amazon Prime’s latest venture “Made in Heaven” got released this Friday. The colossally talented team of Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti has dived down the unexplored, dark depths of our pseudo aristocratic, wine tasting, open minded, modern India and brought stories of the Big, Fat, Indian Weddings while showing the true colours of our Indian society.
“Made in heaven” is a series focusing mainly on the titular Delhi based Wedding company run by partners Tara and Karan played by Sobhita Dhulipala and Arjun Mathur respectively. The show tells the tales of how the high society individuals and families treat the concept of matrimony as another way to flaunt their status quo among friends and peers. But deep inside the loud and kaleidoscopic celebrations, almost like a subtext to all of this, lie the ancient mindset of the patriarchal structure and other dark evils that we only associate with the middle and lower middle section of our society. Truth is that women have always been undermined and no matter how much they try, they have always been looked at through a single, blurred lens.
It doesn’t really matter where you belong or how much you have achieved, you have to fulfill some very stringent criteria in order for the MAN to accept YOU as her wife. In every episode, the duo meets a new young (and sometimes old) couple and is faced with a different social stigma ready to haunt and ruin said couple’s lives. There are the boy’s parents who can’t let go off the fact that their would-be daughter in law had an abortion. Then there’s this NRI Punjabi family who organizes a beauty pageant to audition a new wife for their impotent son. And then there’s this sweet elder pair who wish to be together for the remainder of their lives but their kids don’t approve of this as it’s “embarrassing” for them. An IAS officer getting married to the girl of his dreams while his parents suck the savings of the girl’s father dry. A girl who is willing to marry a tree before marrying her man because she’s “Manglik”.
Apart from the work, detailed attention has been given to the lead character’s personal arcs. Tara Khanna is a go-getter, a truly professional as far as business is concerned, a true friend and a loving wife. She’s an individual who has done everything possible to reach to the top and has lost a lot in the journey without her noticing it. To her mother in law, she is still a struggler in the market and would be risking her son’s reputation if Made in Heaven fails. Meanwhile her total douchebag of a husband, whose baby she’s trying to have, has been screwing around behind her back. Her only two outlets in life are Made in Heaven and her best friend, Faiza. Karan Mehra is the backbone of Made in Heaven, personally handling ground staff and focussing on detailing. He’s willing to do anything for the business to grow as he has to pay off his debts to a goon as well as his parents.
An openly gay who has to constantly deal with the disgusting gazes of people in the society where homosexuality is still considered a mental disease, Karan seems to be on a verge of breakdown. But mostly his calm and collected approach towards issues helps him through tough times. Another important character in the series is the company’s official Photographer, Kabir (Shashank Arora) who seems to be a spectator just like the audience, seeing what we see beyond the fake smiles and masqueraded emotions. Having the most poetic lines in the show, Kabir observes the intricacies that otherwise go unperceived in the videos and still photographs. In one episode, he comments to the bride, “on the surface it looks like you made a selfish choice. But the truth is you were operating from the lack of self worth this world has gifted you.”
The script written by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti has the same poetic essence to it as in their previous works like “Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara” and “Gully Boy”. The characters speak what they feel and the audience shares the same emotions as the characters. Dealing with another social message in every episode, the script never goes preachy. Instead, it shows you the face of the society you’re living in as it is without adding flavours. The web series is based in Delhi and the capital’s portrayal couldn’t have been more authentic and accurate. Cinematographers John Jacob, Jay Oza, Stefan Ciupek and Tanmay Satam have shot the locations and people in a way which uniquely represents not only Delhi but other states like Rajasthan and Punjab as well. The costume design is one of the biggest highlights of the show.
Poornamrita Singh has done a tremendous job showcasing exquisite costumes unique to the characters and their lifestyle. But the biggest strength of the show is the performances. Amazingly the lead and supporting cast are some of the most underrated of the bunch, but they have taken the show to another level through the sheer power of their performances. Sobhita Dhulipala is the star of the show. Portraying the hollowness of an ambitious businesswoman and her tumultuous personal life, Sobhita is a delight to watch. Arjun Mathur is a powerhouse of an actor. Mathur displays every emotion with such believability that the troubled character of Karan Mehra feels relatable.
Jim Sarbh plays Adil Khanna, Tara’s husband, a young and accomplished entrepreneur who just can’t seem to appreciate how much his wife loves him. Rather he goes out and finds love at the wrong place. Jim’s performance is spot on along with Kalki Koechlin who is flawless as Faiza Naqvi, Tara’s best friend and Adil’s love interest. Shashank Arora and Shivani Raghuvanshi share a great on-screen chemistry and play their respective characters effortlessly. Apart from this, some delighting cameos like legendary Neena Gupta and Deepti Naval, and beautiful performances by Shweta Tripathi and Amrita Puri will steal your hearts. Directors Zoya Akhtar, Nitya Mehra, Prashant Nair and Alankrita Shrivastava are masters of their craft and have shown the same in this web series.
Such shows are a rare gem that are entertaining and thought provoking at the same time. You cannot find a reason to skip this one.