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Friday, December 8, 2023

Made In Heaven Web-Series Review: Zoya Akhtar & Team Exhibit Reality Alongside Razzmatazz

Made In Heaven follows the lives of Tara (Sobhita Dhulipala) and Karan (Arjun Mathur), two wedding planners in Delhi.

These two headstrong individuals often mask their supreme vulnerability – sometimes even from each other, as their wedding planning agency “Made In Heaven” forces them to open up and reveal themselves.

The show portrays today’s India as a potent blend where tradition jostles with modern aspiration, set against the theme of the ‘Big Fat Indian Wedding’.

Indians believe marriages are made in heaven and it is against these sacred unions that Tara and Karan’s personal journeys are juxtaposed.

With world-class production values and a magnificent scale, the show provides the viewer with a grand cinematic experience of intricacies and the drama around upscale Indian weddings.

The series is directed by Zoya Akhtar, Nitya Mehra, Alankrita Shrivastava and Prashant Nair.

Whilst Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti are the creators of this show.

Filme Shilmy gives their final verdict on this extravagant yet realistic Prime Original series.

Wedding and Heaven become Metaphoric of Life

Contrary to the initial expectations, the web-series is not a rehash of Band Baaja Baarat, Monsoon Wedding or Rishta.com.

At times, in a lightly humoured way, the series offers a mirror to the scandalous side to Big Fat Indian Weddings.

It is fascinating to see how the weddings mostly are used as a form of utopia, almost like a beautiful life that is far from reality, whilst the lives of the principal cast are quite mundane.

Furthermore, the fact that we see the wedding planners arrange the fantasy marriages amidst mishap in their lives highlights how the world carries no matter what.

The fantasy created through weddings is quite emblematic of life here in the UK since there is a great demand for the ‘Big fat Indian wedding’.

In a way, the title Made In Heaven is a juxtaposition regarding our dreams versus the brutal realities of our lives.

The series showcases that realistically speaking, there is no heaven… Everyone, in a way, is stuck in their own rut.

Social Relevance of the Series

The narratives are quite progressive, modern and relevant to today’s generation.

Be it the themes of pre-marital sex, infidelity, homosexuality and late-life marriage, these ordinary concepts are emblematic of Indian society today.

Also tackles other issues like substance abuse, domestic violence, infertility, homophobia and molestation – to name a few.

Many of these issues are prominent in today’s society.

Moreover, the show is more relevant than ever.

Seeing what Karan goes through after being arrested under section 377 makes one feel enraged and upset that such a law even existed.

Even though the section has been abolished, the series reminds us of how much LBGTQ+ members have suffered and were often denied the right to their ‘heaven’.

By tackling these various issues and subjects, this web-series achieves what Bollywood couldn’t do in so many years.

Four Phenomenal Filmmakers Unite

When it comes to the depiction of the pompous high-class Indians, Zoya has already depicted this in movies like Luck By Chance and Dil Dhadakne Do.

Even the class disparity which we saw in Gully Boy is visible in the web-series.

However, in this show, it is interesting to see is how the smaller-class lead up to becoming a part of this elite class.

Alongside Zoya, it’s great to observe the other strong Indian directors:

Alankrita Shrivastava (of Lipstick Under My Burkha fame), Nitya Mehra (of Baar Baar Dekho fame) and Prashant Nair (of Umrika fame) present each episode in their own way.

The social milieu (mainly) of the high-class in Delhi is encapsulated well and makes one feel amused at how ignorant and demanding of the rich can be.

Whilst watching the series, the transition into each episode seems quite flawless and cohesive, which is not easy to do, given that each episode is directed by a different filmmaker.

A special mention goes to the technical team as the editing is crisp/succinct and the cinematography is spellbinding.

Superlative Performances by the Cast

The web-series is topped up by the brilliant performances.

Sobhita Dhulipala plays the ambitious Tara, who is passionate about her wedding planning agency and strives for security in a marriage that is less than ideal.

Her screen-presence is solid whilst her dialogue delivery and facial expressions are well in-tune with the character.

Sobhita has full potential to headline more shows and films because she carries herself well as an actor!

Arjun Mathur is a show-stealer as Karan, gay man living in a country at a time where homosexuality was illegal.

Arjun gets the right tone of Karan’s character. He portrays a layered and somewhat lonely character with such gusto, authenticity and maturity.

It is progressive to see a homosexual role portrayed in an ordinary and non-stereotypical fashion.

Jim Sarbh is another great actor and it is wonderful to not see him essay a ‘villain’, per se.

He plays Tara’s husband and is the business-tycoon character Adil Khanna in the series.

He exhibits many grey shades, but at the same time, we don’t really end up hating him. Rather, we just get curious whether all rich and famous behave in the same way he does.

On the contrary, we understand his attitude and his circumstances in life. Thankfully, his character is not of a stereotypical pompous rich man.

Kalki Koechlin essays Faiza, a friend of Tara, who mentally crumbles as seen through the therapy sessions she undergoes.

Together, these actors are phenomenal but the credits also go to the supporting cast including Shashank Arora, Vinay Pathak, and Vijay Raaz (to name a few) are brilliant too.

Plus, there are appearances by well-known faces throughout the series, so keep your eyes open.

What’s wrong?

There are, undoubtedly, a lot of strong points about Made In Heaven.

There is nothing ‘wrong’ with the series, but there are a few areas of improvement.

In an attempt of conveying the juxtapositions of Karan and Tara’s lives with the idyllic weddings, the series gets covered in several subplots.

As a result, it becomes important for the viewer to focus on not just the principal characters’ lives, but also of the recurring cast.

Given that the show is supposedly launched as a ‘binge’, watching the show continuously can get slightly repetitive.

Plus, like any other Zoya Akhtar venture, this too is quite convoluted.

Therefore, patience might be required for the audience to comprehend and appreciate the complexities of the characters.

Having said that, the viewer does not feel bored and every episode leaves us wanting to watch the next!

Final Word

On the whole, Made In Heaven truly holds a mirror to society and it exhibits themes which are relevant to viewers across the globe.

The way Zoya, Alankrita, Prashant and Nitya use the opulent marriages as juxtapositions to the monotony of life is a beautiful representation.

To see four exceptional filmmakers unite to highlight reality alongside razzmatazz is a delightful vision and thankfully, the execution is fabulous.

Make sure you check this series out on Amazon Prime!

⭐⭐⭐⭐(4/5 stars)

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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