First things first: ‘Made in Heaven’ is the boldest web series India has produced, no doubt about it. Welcome to the revolution.
Every major character in ‘Made in Heaven’ is waiting to break free from one form of repression or another. Shobita Dhulipala’s character Tara comes from a humble middle-class background, and has married into money. Now ‘money’, aka Jim Sarbh, is cheating on her with her best friend. You can’t have your diamonds without sleepless nights.
Arjun Mathur’s character Karan Mehra is closeted and yearning to come out, grappling with emotional and financial problems.
Together these two very fine actors plot and plan through a string of affluent weddings, lavish on both food and feud, fuelled by desire and desperation and a longing to find a more relevant core in their plush lifestyle than what is affordable to the senses.
Some of these characters are wretchedly unhappy. I mean, how successful can a marriage be when the wife-to-be sleeps with a Bollywood superstar (wishful casting of Pulkit Samrat) who is invited to perform at her wedding? Or a tycoon’s sole male heir (the underused Pavail Gulati from the miniseries ‘Yudh’) who tells his parents that his wife is no gold digger and that the child she terminated in the past was his, when it was not?
Lies seem to fuel the passions of these inflamed characters. A simmering discontent underlines the well laid-out drama, like a still blue pool that whirls and swirls underneath. Accordingly, the truthful moments shine brightly in the series. There is this epiphanous encounter between our hero Karan and his snooping landlord’s zany daughter (Yashaswini Dayama — wish there was more of her in the series) when he catches her smoking and reprimands her, and she tells him he shouldn’t stay out all night. They both know each other’s guilty secrets and are comfortable in their knowledge.
The writing (Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar, Niranjan Iyenger, Alankrita Shrivastava, Vivek Anchalia) is fluent and feisty. The dialogues hit the right notes without putting too fine a point on it. While the surfaces glisten with gloss, this is not a series that wallows in superficial glamour.
Issues on societal hypocrisy (Arjun runs into a lover all set to marry an unsuspecting bride who when confronted hits back with, ‘Will you marry me?’) run through the series creating a tingling spine of revelations on topics that cinema refrains from exploring.
The performances range from outstanding to satisfactory, and the quality doesn’t depend on the length of the character’s role. Shivani Raghuvanshi has less playing time than the other protagonists, but she nails it as a small-towner Jazz (real name Jaspreet), revelling in the life of the rich and the privileged. Though a brunt of sniggers, it is Jazz who often comes up with solutions in deadlocked weddings.
For all its an optical affluence and love for the lush, ‘Made in Heaven’ tells us there is more to the working-class than meets the eye. This is a series you will want to watch all in one go. So set side a whole day for it and ignore ‘Captain Marvel’ this weekend. A ‘Marvel’ is happening right in your homes. Take a bow, all you female directors (and one gentleman thrown in as token gesture). Your time starts now.
Don’t miss it!
Made in Heaven is streaming now on Amazon Prime.