By Mayank Jain (L&T-MHPS)
The moment someone talks about tv series, our immediate attention goes towards all the nuisance soap operas created by Ekta Kapoor (Balaji telefilms) and the similar, over the past two decades. But today’s generation is no longer interested in watching the ugly cat-fights between Saas and Bahu , or the infuriating house politics. They want to see real cinema in the form of tele films that showcase real issues, and Made in Heaven is one such tele film.
Created by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti, Made in Heaven is a masterpiece in every bit, be it the cast, the story, the production design or the narration. Even in the minuscule roles, actors such as Jim Sarbh, Kalki Koechlin, Vijay Raaz, Amrita Puri, Deepti Naval, Neena Gupta, Rasika Duggal, Vinay Pathak, Dalip Tahil and Shashank Arora perform their bits efficiently.
Besides the brilliant cast, the series brilliantly portrays the issues prevailing in the Indian society such as-sexual rights of the LGBTQ community, dowry, trauma of arranged marriages, gold-diggers, extra-marital affairs, dominance of the high society people and horoscopes ,in a very subtle manner.
The central plot of Made in Heaven is the wounded past of two wedding planners
Tara (Shobhita Dhulpalia) and Karan Mehra (Arjun Mathur) , who run an event management company named “Made in Heaven” (from where the name of the series is derived), and how their mistakes from the past affect the ambitions and relationships that they have bargained for themselves. Despite a poor monetary turnover of the company, Tara and Karan go out of their way to rescue their clients from coercive parents, scandals and misgivings, all the while negotiating and planning details of chintzy sangeet ceremonies and vintage wedding locales. The extent of their involvement in the lives of their clients is unbelievable.
What motivates Karan and Tara is not only the fat pay cheques, but also the desire to salvage the lives of others because their own are on the verge of falling apart. Tara’s industrialist husband Adil (Jim Sarbh) is cheating on her, and Karan is a closeted gay man. No matter how much Karan speaks out against Section 377 of Indian Penal Code for his own sake and the LGBTQ community to which he belongs, he doesn’t find enough validation and peace in his own life. Ours is a cruel nation for a person whose sexual preferences go beyond the hetero-normative, and the writers of Made in Heaven make a compelling narrative around this struggle through Karan’s journey.
Karan and Tara meet people who have been criminals, philanthropists, contractors, erstwhile kings and typically empowered women who have been fighting their inner demons and patriarchy at the same time. But there are no villains, only messed up people, and that’s the best thing about the show. You immediately get the non-judgmental vibes of the directors — three women and one man.
Made in Heaven shows you what the wedding albums don’t. With a wedding showcased in every episode, it shows the dark story of India’s elite weddings one at a time. Unlike several shows and films being made today, Made in Heaven directly addresses and foregrounds current sociopolitical realities, especially the ones that don’t conventionally fit into mainstream narratives.
Made in Heaven is essentially a show about the struggle for acceptance and belonging. It’s about gender wars and class wars. It’s genuinely impressive how much of these seemingly complex themes the makers pack into 9-episodes without reducing their gravity or making them appear tokenist.