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Made in Heaven Season 2: Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti deliver a better sequel with many star cameos

The Prime Video show starring Sobhita Dhulipala and Arjun Mathur has been directed by Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti, Neeraj Ghaywan, Alankrita Shrivastava and Nitya Mehra

Agnivo Niyogi Calcutta Published 10.08.23, 04:52 PM
A still from Made in Heaven 2.

A still from Made in Heaven 2. Amazon Prime Video

Made in Heaven Season 2 has made up for the four-year wait with a nuanced exploration of the tangled webs of relationships, societal norms and personal aspirations in the backdrop of extravagant Indian weddings. It’s only richer, and more immersive and hard-hitting.

Created by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti, the show — with episodes directed by Akhtar, Kagti, Neeraj Ghaywan, Alankrita Shrivastava and Nitya Mehra — revolves around the lives of two wedding planners, Tara Khanna (Sobhita Dhulipala) and Karan Mehra (Arjun Mathur), as they navigate the extravagant, high-stakes world of Indian weddings while dealing with their personal struggles.

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At the end of the first season, Tara’s marriage was on the edge of falling apart after she found out about her husband Adil Khanna’s (Jim Sarbh) affair with her best friend Faiza (Kalki Koechlin). Meanwhile, Karan, a closeted gay man who was outed in an unfortunate turn of events, has been coming to terms with his sexuality.

Flashier weddings, darker tales

Season 2 takes off after a six-month leap, with Tara and Karan trying to revive their struggling business. This involves moving their office to a rundown house in a crowded bylane of Chandni Chowk. They also have a new business partner in Jauhari (Vijay Raaz) whose sole concern is making a profit. Kabir (Shashank Arora) and Jaspreet (Shivani Raghuvanshi) return from the first season as part of the core team.

Like the previous season, the strength of Season 2 lies in its intricate character development and exploration of contemporary issues in the context of the traditional Indian wedding. Each episode centres around a different wedding, allowing the creators to peek into the personal belief systems and contradictions of not only the bride and the groom but also their families. From the age-old obsession with fair skin to polygamy, second marriage after divorce, LGBTQ+ acceptance and discovering love in old age, the makers take on a range of complex but relevant themes.

Many star appearances but to make a point

After the success of the first season, Season 2 has drawn a greater number of star guest appearances. There’s Neelam, Radhika Apte, Dia Mirza, Mrunal Thakur, Sarah Jane Dias, Shibani Dandekar, Sanjay Kapoor, Pulkit Samrat and Imaad Shah. Fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee and filmmaker Anurag Kashyap also have cameos where they play themselves.

While each episode offers a rich and immersive experience, some of them stand out for laying bare the hypocrisies behind civility and class. For instance, the Neeraj Ghaywan-directed episode about an award-winning Dalit author (Radhika Apte in a spirited performance) struggling with her prospective casteist in-laws underscores a powerful political point.

In another episode directed by Ghaywan, Neelam plays a socialite having an affair with the father (Samir Soni) of the girl her son is about to marry. Their decision to elope at the end of the episode comes as a natural conclusion to the saga and you cannot grudge her for making this decision.

In Alankrita Shrivastava's episode, Dia Mirza shines as a homemaker who’s mechanically participating in the preparations of her husband’s second marriage. Alankrita effectively juxtaposes this track on polygamy against the happy ‘commitment ceremony’ of a lesbian couple.

In another episode directed by Alankrita, Mrunal Thakur skillfully plays the abused fiancée of a renowned life coach, calling out the toxicity and double standards in seemingly-perfect relationships.

Tara and Karan fight on

In the backdrop of these flashy wedding stories, the lives of Tara, Karan, Bulbul, Meher, Kabir and Jazz continue to unravel. Karan’s mother is yet to come to terms with his sexuality and forbids him from visiting the hospital as she battles cancer. This leads Karan to a downward spiral as he takes to drugs yet again. Arjun Mathur is skillful as ever in portraying the nuances, intricacies and tangled nature of his character. There are occasions when you want to question Karan’s actions but it’s difficult to put a finger on it.

Tara strives for a better divorce settlement while embarking on a new relationship with a young chef named Raghav (Ishwak Singh). Like in the first season, Sobhita Dhulipala brings the same intensity and passion to her character — an ambitious woman who would never settle for anything less. When she realises she is getting peanuts in divorce settlement, Tara goes for the jugular and demands half of the Khanna enterprise. And when things do not go her way, she plays with Adil’s ego to get what she wants.

Mona Singh and Trinetra Haldar are great additions to the mix

In a praiseworthy casting choice, Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju — a doctor who underwent sex reassignment surgery — plays Meher, a transgender woman who has joined the Made in Heaven team as a production manager. Meher hopes for a fulfilling relationship while forming strong friendships at her workplace, and Trinetra’s captivating screen presence holds one’s attention.

As Jauhari’s wife Bulbul, Mona Singh adds an angle of conflict to the central plot. Bulbul has been made the auditor of the company to keep the spending on a tight leash. Beneath her tough exterior lies a vulnerable survivor of domestic violence and Mona Singh’s restrained performance is a winner.

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