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Meaner, Richer & Darker: Made In Heaven Is Back...

..And kept many of us awake on a Wednesday night (why did you drop this early, Amazon?)


Made In Heaven Season 2
Photo source: Amazon India

“Sometimes heaven doesn’t ordain a companion for us. Some of us are meant to travel alone," says Karan (Arjun Mathur) in Made In Heaven season 2.

Even as he says that, I see him with his friend and business partner, Tara (Sobhitha Dhulipala), no less a companion. Intimacy between friends is rarely explored in cinema and literature — but in Made In Heaven, their friendship ebbs and flows as they grapple with Tara's new status quo and Karan's inner demons. There's a lot for a viewer to unpack as the layers of their friendship is unpacked.


Created by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti, the season 2 has kept many of us awake on a Wednesday night as the show dropped early. Directed by various filmmakers and with Ankur Tewari's music, this season is as binge-worthy as the first one, albeit some minor things. But, meh!


Every episode deals with a taboo, and the first episode featuring Zayn Marie (and hello, Sabyasachi) is a banger! A dusky bride is forbid by her mother to let go of a dusty rose-coloured Sabyasachi lehenga, and forced to undergo glutathione treatment to turn fairer. While the bride (with the help of Tara, Arjun, and her fiancé) comes to terms with her skin tone, IRL dermatologists and influencers who recommend these treatments aren't met with disdain. Life's like that.


When the clinic asks Tara to try their glutathione treatment, saying, "skin poora saaf ho jayega," Tara scoffs and says, "saaf!"






Sabya's fleeting time on screen is so memorable, and makes you want to see more of him. The first episode also introduces us to Bulbul-ji, played by Mona Singh. Bulbul (also Jauhari's wife) comes onboard as the auditor for MIH — you simply can't stop falling in love with her character.


The second episode introduces us to a supermodel and actress, Adhira (Mrunal Thakur) and Anik (Siddhant Karnick), and MIH team getting entangled in their lives as always. Discomfort is writ large on Adhira's face right from when she appears on screen, allowing the audience to sample the thoughts of an abusive relationship.


"The rings beats the crown" — says Adhira as she convinces herself that a life with Anik, a life coach, is what she needs. No amount of intervention helps.


Sarfaraz Khan (Pulkit Samrat) plays a comeback as he gets married to Leila Shirazi (Elnaaz Norouzi), a leading actress. MIH team travels to France to put together a wedding layered with PR nightmares, crafted social media personas, opulence and Sarfaraz's desire to act with new and younger actresses in every movie. He tries convincing Anurag Kashyap (who plays himself) to fire Leila and cast an upcoming actress.


"They (male protagonists) want a new, younger actress every time to make themselves look young." — says Amber (Parul Gulati), Leila's manager.






Life turns upside down for Jauharis when the elder son and his friends are suspended from the school with molestation charges. As if Bulbul doesn't outshine from the moment she walks in, the Jauharis handle with anger, emotions, personal triggers, even tenderness and eventually convince their son to report the actual crime.


Someone on the internet said Mr. Jauhari is the feminist we didn't know we needed, and I must agree. Jauhari is benevolent — an unfamiliar side in the first season — and when you witness it, you understand his resilience.


Pallavi Manke (Radhika Apte) is a Dalit Ivy League scholar who battles oppression, not just with the world but also with her family, who isn't comfortable with their identity.


Even as Pallavi's fiancé's father lauds her accomplishments, he says, "look at her achievements, from where to where!" The writing is stratified well enough to portray his disguised scorn for Menke's caste, but also towards gender, as he openly says, "look at your mom asking questions as if she understands," during a conversation about a research paper.


Apte (of course) performs with grit and strength, beyond moving you — ensuring you tear up when she gets married.


This season unwraps the lead character's insecurities and imperfections with more honesty. As Adil Khanna (Jim Sarbh) tussles with divorce and his dad's death, he discovers Gauri Khanna (a step sister). Faiza (Kalki Koechlin) remains slightly unfazed and a more human this season as she tries to build bridges with Adil's mom and Gauri.


While Jazz realises she doesn't have to conform herself to what the society might find agreeable vs what she wants, she falls more in love with herself, Kabir cannot decide whether he wants to pursue education at NYU or work on a documentary picked by Amazon Prime. You already know what Kabir or someone like Kabir would do.


Karan almost feels powerless as he struggles with his mom's cancer, drug problems, financial crises, and fall-outs with Tara. Nawab (Vikrant Massey) makes a comeback, and the moments between Karan and Nawab are pure heart.


"I know you'll love her and will always love her. But you don't have to like her, my friend.'' — says Nawab while consoling Karan after his mom's death. And no matter what anyone says, it's the friendship between Karan and Tara that keeps him going. When Tara asks what can I do after his mom's death, it makes you wonder: what a profound little sentence!


How else do we know how to handle a loved one's grief?


And Tara, is well, Tara! Even as she starts dating Raghav (Ishwak Singh), a chef and restaurateur, you know she'd want more. You feel sorry for Raghav, but you swiftly move on to admiring her resting bitch face and unsettling badassery.


As Raghav and Tara split apart, she says, "What you see or don't say has no bearing on what I deserve. This is what I deserve." Tara goes after what she wants; those who may have felt sorry for her in the first season won't savour the same emotion now.


So many beautiful characters, but the most fantastic of them all is — Meher (Dr. Trinetra), a trans woman seeking love and finding some and more with Danish (Neil Bhoopalam). What a delight to watch her on screen! And I only hope to see her cast in more such tenacious roles.


You can sense there won't be another season as the end credits roll; what more can Tara and Karan offer? In a parallel universe, you already know they'll never travel alone, even if Karan says so, as long as they have each other. And that thought is what I slept on!


 

Made In Heaven is now streaming on Amazon Prime.


Have you watched it? What did you think?





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