‘Made in Heaven’ is the story of marriages. Making marriages, arranging marriages, managing marriages, compromise in marriages, living in broken marriages and also walking away from failed marriages.
The series is reflective of the changing face of India – ambition and bold jostling with our traditions and morals. The new age Indians with a world view, but still holding on to its roots. Want to be on top of the world but don’t mind following a little superstition. Fly high up in the sky but still protecting insolence in the name of family honor.
This web series on Amazon Prime is also the story of wedding planners – Tara Khanna (played by Sobhita Dhulipala) and Karan Mehra (played by Arjun Mathur). They are partners in the company ‘Made in Heaven’ serving mostly to the elite strata in Delhi. Each episode of the series focuses on a wedding or two and the various issues that come with it. The series also takes us into the intricate lives of its protagonists – Tara and Karan.
In each of the weddings the series taps on the taboos / aspirations/ emotions/ compromises/ pretense/ superstitions of our times – virgin brides, nuptials in middle age, ‘manglik’ brides, marrying for money, dowry, inter-caste weddings, splurging beyond means, exploitation of young girls at the hands of elderly men, and many others. All of this in the foreground of weddings of well educated and affluent echelon of the Indian society. Tara and Karan always find a way to make the wrongs rights in each marriage and do what feels right to the conscience. Most of the times save the marriage, but a few times forsake it.
The most refreshing part is the feminist approach to the series. All weddings emphasis on how the wedding day is the bride’s day and everything needs to be as per her desires. All the episodes have the brides as the central figure and the wedding story pans out from the bride’s perspective. The brides are innocent, the brides are bold, the brides are lusty, the brides are ambitious, the brides are demanding, the brides are smart, the brides are traditional, the brides are fearless. But above all, all the brides are so very adorable. The brides are played by some of the well known faces around – Deepti Naval, Manvi Gagroo, Rasika Dugal, Shweta Tripathi, Amrita Puri amongst others. These brides know what they want and also how to get it. The wedding stories and situations are directed very well and throughout the series you are rooting for the brides and wanting them to have it their way, such is the power of story-telling in the series. The marriages are very beautifully shot with high production values – grand sets, amazing locales, expensive paraphernalia and larger than life experiences, almost dream-like. Obviously, it’s the wedding of the rich and haughty of Delhi. And each of the wedding ends with a commentary from Kabir (the videographer at ‘Made in Heaven’). Summing up the events, the emotions, the learnings, the questions, the answers. His words are cathartic and leave you with fodder to ruminate.
The protagonists Tara and Karan are best friends and share a wonderful platonic relation. They understand each other. They trust each other blindly and have each other’s back all the while. They stand with each other through everything – yes they both go through some real lows in life. A few times in the series we see Tara just resting her head on Karan’s shoulder or they just cuddling in bed or dancing together – that’s so endearing. A relation where both are giving everything and expecting nothing, not even money, only friendship in return. And we rush to think of a friend with whom we share such a relation and blessed are those who could think of a name.
However the story doesn’t delve much into the beginning of the relation between the two. Just one shot where they meet at bar, on her birthday, which he owns and also is a DJ. Would have been wonderful to know more.
Tara is married to a business tycoon, Adil Khanna (played by Jim Sarabh). Tara comes from a very humble background but is very ambitious driven by avarice. She was Adil’s secretary once upon a time, till an office affair transpires and a sex tape of the two goes viral. Adil feels guilty and marries Tara, something that Tara had wanted and had planned. Adil now has an extra marital affair with Faiza (played by Kalki Koechlin), who is a friend of Adil and becomes bff with Tara. Faiza had been very supportive and instrumental in settling the newly married Tara in the elite circles of Adil. Tara is devastated to know of the affair but she is unable to act fearing loss of all the luxury that she is now accustomed to. Tara also wants to have a baby, but Adil’s lower sperm count isn’t helping and she feels insatiate. She now weighs her worldly riches to her sister’s modest home but with a child and a loving husband. She keeps evaluating her marriage with Adil – she admits to have changed completely and have lost her real self in her depravity. Making marriages happen around, makes her contemplate her own marriage and the basis of her relation with Adil.
Her business partner, Karan Mehra is gay. He is into one night stands but finds it difficult to love. He is fighting the demons of the past and the trauma of growing up as a gay in a homophobic world. He is still not out completely about his sexuality – only his friends know, his mother is aware but un-accepting and hoping her son will get around and he lacks the courage to reveal it to his father. It’s probably the first time in Indian context is such explicit gay content showcased. But it’s shot beautifully. It is not vulgar and the story has been dealt very sensitively. The story and the direction makes you feel for Karan and all that he has to go through for being himself. The shame, the compromises, the hiding, the beating, the taboo, homophobia, the abuse at the hands of law, the draconian section 377, all of it handled so maturely. At some level the series also captures the acceptance and support to the gay community from family, friends and society – little but prevalent. Very humane and brings out the trials of the gay community in India so beautifully. I hope the series will bring about more awareness, acceptance and love for the gay community.
Arjun Mathur as Karan is superb and has done some really bold gay sex scenes. He has acted really well and your heart goes out for Karan. Sobhita Dhulapia as Tara is good too. A little tentative in the beginning but manages well. All the support casting (other than the brides – Vijay Raaz, Dalip Tahil, Vinay Pathak, Vikrant Massey, Nina Gupta, Pulkit Samrat, etc) is wonderful and all have done a lovely job. The story telling and direction is great and keeps you glued on to the series. Every episode, its refreshing to see a set of new, energetic cast and get inside a different wedding with its own set of challenges. The production is top class. The ends seem to be all tied up pretty well… not expecting a season 2.
Binge watch it…!!!!