Amazon Prime has created the spanking new ‘Made in Heaven’ and boy is it a watch!
Made in Heaven targets the uber rich and elite of Delhi and takes the audience into their lives, beyond the curtains. Conceptualized by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti, they tell the tale of people who have clawed their way into the highest of societal echelons but are still grappling with the thin air. The series has been spread across nine episodes and is based in Delhi. Different episodes have been directed by Akhtar, Nitya Mehra, Prashant Nair and Alankrita Shrivastava. Every single episode revolves around a new family and consequently, a unique tale with a few links from the previous episodes. This kept the audience refreshed without also having to lose touch with what they have already seen, making it into one wholesome cinematic experience.
The plot revolves around Tara (Sobhita Dhulipala) and Karan (Arjun Mathur) who have partnered up to run a wedding planning company, Made in Heaven. The company’s core target clientele involves the rich and elite of New Delhi. Recurring characters involve the two’s friends and members of the family which adds an extra bit of spice to the already intense drama going on every moment.
As the Tara-Karan team aggressively navigates through the highly competitive market of wedding planning, the plot also unravels to give the audience a glimpse into their pasts, giving a better idea of the factors which shaped them into who they are today. The flashbacks have been shown in a smart and taut manner with highly complex and rich performances by every single character. Karan is the son of a wealthy businessman. His last business failed spectacularly and has left him open to an enormous amount of debt to his father and a loan shark.
On the other hand, Tara comes from an impoverished neighbourhood of Delhi. Having worked as support staff in the company of a business tycoon, she climbs up the ladder of social echelons by marrying the heir to the business empire, Adil (Jim Sarah). Played meticulously well, Jim Sarbh is able to bring out extraordinarily nuanced aspects of the character, which at face may seem somewhat two-dimensional. Adil is a character who is torn apart in deciding which road to take and the complexities have been beautifully brought out by Sarbh’s performance.
As the series opens, there is an air of dread luring around. Zoya Akhtar has directed the first two episodes masterfully and has achieved to set the tone for the series to build upon. The slow and languorous panning of the camera along with the jarring dialogues with the episodes concluding with the commentary of the detached photographer, Kabir (Shashank Arora).
The moods are highly consistent throughout the series. The power dynamics are smoothly and subtly differentiated as the tale develops. The maze is demystified every once in a while by taking the audience back into the past and handing off signages before a major twist in the plot. Akhtar seemed to be on familiar turf, therefore being able to brilliantly execute the plots.
Faiza, who is Tara’s best friend is expertly played by Kalki Koechlin. Faiza’s character is emotionally drained and constantly finds herself in moral dilemmas, a glimpse of which we get during her therapy sessions as she tries justifying her actions and decisions. Upon every single character, a sordid truth hangs like a sword. The complexities of every single character makes it fruitless to pass a monolithic judgement upon any one of them. As soon as you may have concluded your judgement of a character, the plot takes you to yet another lair in the many depths of the plot, where the character either damns or redeems itself in your eyes.
Made in Heaven sheds ample light on the taboo in society towards homosexuality, a feat which is enormously laudable, especially in today’s day and age. Arjun Mathur’s performance of Karan strikes innumerable chords in the viewer’s heart and gives an exceptional visual of how troublesome society could be to those who are homosexual. Being harassed due to his sexual orientation, Karan desires a more literal home.
The tale’s path being so full of twists, traps and treachery, a happy ending seems almost like an impossible oxymoron. Tara’s transformation from getting to the highest societal echelons from her background is quite literally schooled. The grooming classes of West Delhi teachers her to not put her elbows on the table while she eats her meal and to smile after sipping wine, even if the taste is not very enjoyable. Tara is taught the right kinds of humour and when are the right times to speak and when to stay silent.
Shivani Raghuvanshi plays the character of Jaspreet Kaur or “Jazz” who is the epitome of innocence and gullibility. Hailing from the modest locales of Dwarka, Jazz has found her way into Made in Heaven, a platform where she gets to hobnob with Delhi’s rich and powerful. Jazz craves social acceptance. Embarrassed by her modest locality, she lies to a colleague about her location who offered to drop her off.
Vinay Pathak plays Karan’s landlord, Ramesh Gupta, another fascinating character who is troubled by society’s definitions of acceptability and has sacrificed much to be able to once again, fit in. Judging the character to be nosy would be a shallow takeaway from what the relevance of the character truly was in the overall plot. His admiration for Karan’s courage and valor is the one and only scene where the middle-aged man with a family gets to defend his real identity. This moment of recognition gives the audience a breath of relief for it is easy to picture a scenario where the same oppressor can or could have been, the oppressed.
Made in Heaven is one of the most richly told tales which we have come across. Every single character has been played extraordinarily well, in absolute sync with one another, bringing out extraordinary depths in the dynamics showcased in the overall plot.
And yes, I binged the entire series in one go!