Made in Heaven was a breath of fresh air when it first streamed in 2019. There was a novelty in its treatment and the manner in which it showed the perfectly imperfect world of weddings in India (New Delhi, to be precise). A lot has changed since. The audience has a plethora of content—Indian and international—to choose from. They have become more mature in their tastes and choices of what they watch.
The excitement and anticipation to see what Tara (Sobhita Dhulipala) and Karan (Arjun Mathur) are up to and how they plan a couple’s big day through their wedding agency Made in Heaven was at its peak, but did it live up to the hype?
We did a Made in Heaven marathon last weekend and here's what worked for us and what didn’t.
A loosely-bound narrative
Weddings are emotional and all this love and happiness was well-showed in the first season. However, that personal touch seen four years back is completely missing this time around. Instead of focusing on the planning, the couple’s love story, and the setbacks that the team faces with each wedding, the makers draw attention to the individual mess and turmoil that the characters go through, which in most places seems unrelatable. The second season picks up from six months after the first season—Tara and Adil (Jim Sarbh) go through a bitter divorce, Karan’s love life is complicated and his mother’s health is deteriorating, and Kabir and Jazz are trying to figure out their ‘situationship’. While the audience knows there will be a another episode, there are many loose threads and the narrative doesn’t flow seamlessly.
High on entertainment, low on social values
Right from the first episode that deals with low self-esteem associated with "dark-skinned" individuals and domestic violence, to a Muslim man marrying twice, break-up due to prenuptial agreement and pre-marital pregnancy, the second season addresses a lot of social issues (once again) that are a part and parcel of Indian weddings. While bringing these issues to the fore is woke and on-trend, so to say, how these situations are dealt with is an issue. In one instance, Tara tells a bride she should ignore the problem at hand and go ahead with the marriage if the money is good. One would have expected better after four years.
The generic commentary at the end of every episode has to stop
When it comes to Made in Heaven, it’s absolutely alright if you’ve missed the episode and skipped right to the end. This is because you’ve got the videographer Kabir (Shashank Arora) letting you know, through his monologues, what you’ve missed and what the wedding that just took place did not tell you despite being in plain sight the entire time. This worked in season 1 because Kabir was emotionally invested in the wedding and his take on things made sense. It doesn’t this time around because he seems to be just not interested in what’s taking place around him leading to a major disconnect. This is exactly why you feel a bit surprised to hear something from someone who just wasn’t there (either physically or mentally).
Inclusion for the sake of tokenism
While it was great to see Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju play Meher, a transgender woman at the production head position at Made in Heaven, her character deserved better treatment—the only solution one thinks in every situation cannot be swiping on dating apps. We want to know her story, but never get the time to as she’s mostly placed in situations where she’s either harassed, bullied, or seen educating someone about who she is.
Zero emotional connect to the leads
While we completely understand that the lead characters (Tara and Karan) are far from perfect, and we must love them for who they are, it’s tough to do so when each decision they take is worse than the previous one. While Tara shows that she’s always going to go for the money and bring Adil down on his knees, Karan is unable to cope with his mother’s deteriorating health and resorts to gambling and drugs. In fact, he uses the company's money to settle a pending loan. Tara plays petty and takes away Adil's family home as part of the divorce settlement. By the time the season ends, we’re actually happy for Adil as he and Faiza (Kalki Koechlin) are happily married.
What we love
Radhika Apte and the Buddhist wedding
The episodes in Made in Heaven are as good as the weddings shown in them. In season 2, it’s not the fancy big fat Indian wedding that takes the cake, but the Buddhist wedding shown in episode 5 titled ‘The Heart Skipped a Beat’ that is the most heartwarming. Radhika Apte plays a Dalit Ivy League lawyer and author, who asks for a Buddhist wedding, instead of the usual ceremonies, much to the disapproval of her to-be in-laws. The reason this inter-caste alliance stands out is because it brings to light what it’s like not to be treated as an equal and asking what one truly deserves on their big day. Directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, the episode also gets the aesthetic bang on point as we watch Apte walk up in a white and gold sari through a pool of water before the rituals begin in the presence of Buddhist monks.
We've missed you, Mona Singh
A welcome addition to the cast is Mona Singh who plays Bulbul Jahauri, the auditor of the wedding planning agency and the wife of Ramesh Jauhari (Vijay Raaz), a business partner in Made in Heaven. She may seem a tough no-nonsense person from the outside who does her very best to curb the company’s expenses, but the personal events in her life bring out a soft and vulnerable side to her that is very refreshing. As far as the characters who one connects with in the second season go, Bulbul ranks right at the top of the list.
Back in 2019, we were looking forward to a second season of Made in Heaven, but are we equally enthused for a third one? You tell us.