Made in Heaven Review, Episode 5: the NRI and Sex

This was kind of a sad episode! I want more happy ones, like the Sikhs in the second episode. Or even the Deepti episode, that was happy in the end. But the last two, just SAD! (oh, and index of all my Made in Heaven reviews is here)

This is a tricky type of episode to pull off, the travel episode. The rest of the show has been in Delhi, Sobhita and Arjun and everyone else returns to their homes at night, work is just work, their lives are full. But this episode is out of town, everything is just slightly “off”. The colors are different, they are in hotel rooms instead of homes, and they have a moment of freedom to breath, away from the pressures of their “regular” lives. And in this show, that moment also gives them a moment to open themselves up to a new world and new problems far beyond their own.

Ludhiana! Look at this cool building!

They are doing this wedding as a favor to a friend of Arjun’s. He is loud and Punjabi and offensive, and sometimes does drugs. He is small town and sloppy, but he loves Arjun (non-romantically) and is there for him. And it is his loud sloppy embarrassing but caring and troubled spirit that is this wedding, loud and trashy and embarrassing and easy to dismiss as a joke, but covering up something real and troubled.

An NRI family holds a beauty contest to find a bride for their son, and now they have hired Sobhita and Arjun to organize the wedding. What’s terrifying is that this is “normal”. For the struggling small town girls, these bride competitions are regular events, and they are golden tickets out of town. The bride has been preparing for this for years, ready to fall in love with whatever NRI man she can “win”. And the groom’s family sees this as normal too, their son is a prize, the girl who wins him should be the best.

When our group first goes in to talk to the bride and groom, something feels off. The groom’s bachelor party is at a strip club, and meanwhile the bride has no experience at all. The bride confidently and happily talks about how wonderful their life will be, how America is worth it. And no, she has never been there, but she is sure it must be better than where she is. The groom’s family has a vision for what they want and who she should be, and she is ready to make herself over and leave everything behind. It’s what Sobhita did, and the other brides they have helped, but so much more extreme. And it is all built around sex. The bride wants a heart shaped bed for the wedding night, it is her only request. And her mother nervously asks to make sure it happens, we can read her worry for her inexperienced daughter in her concerns.

And then it all goes wrong in the most unpredictable way. The husband is impotent. His ex-wife was trying to reach the bride earlier to warn her, not about loneliness or cheating or abuse, but about impotency. And how it will always be her fault, she will always be blamed for it. Sobhita and Arjun talk to her caringly, they have always cared about their clients but this is an out of town episode, they care that much more, because they are pulled away from everything else they have to care about, adrift and lost in this world with no hope. And they can’t help, they can’t even fix this one problem for a stranger, she won’t get a divorce or an annulment, she wants to go to America, and a divorce would mean her life in this town is over and there is no hope of a better future. She would rather live in her misery and make her own way.

Image result for honeymoon travels private limited
It’s the same deal as this couple in Honeymoon Travels only less honest.

All the other stories are in an odd holding pattern too. Back in Delhi, Jim is talking to Kalki and saying good-bye, Kalki is talking to her (remarkably blunt and I love her) therapist and working through how she now feels more of a loss of friendship than she does of of her lover, and Arjun’s landlord’s wife has found the video of him with another man, immediately understood that her husband is using it as pornography, and threatened him without threatening him that he has to take it to the police or she will know what it really was.

And then there is Shivani back in Delhi and Natasha Singh struggling and feeling forgotten in Jaipur. I haven’t talked about their storylines for the past few episodes because they kind of existed in parallel. Shivani got fired and came home to discover her drug addict brother had stolen everything, including the jewelry set aside for her wedding. She went to a garage in the rain and had sex with the mechanic there, clearly a regular thing. This episode, she tracks down her brother and beats him. Shivani is interesting, because she starts out seeming naive and fragile, but over and over again reveals a sense for people and how to get by in the world. That is what Sobhita sees in her, sees herself, someone with the possibility of growing to be something much more if she just has a helping hand.

And then there is Natasha, who I haven’t talked about at all. And now that I think about it, Natasha and Shivani are the yin and yang of each other. Natasha started out with the company but hasn’t grown with it. She is still the production assistant, not meeting directly with the clients or coming up with the big ideas. She’s very very good at what she does, but she doesn’t have the skills to grow beyond that. And in her personal life, she wants to be more too. She wants her daughter to go to the best school in the city and have all the perks, like a trip to Paris. This is on purpose by the showrunners, they could have made her money struggles and life challenges about paying school fees at a simple school or for a simple trip to the mountains, this is a ridiculous dream, something that it won’t hurt her daughter to give up. She wants a raise, she wants respect, she wants more at work so she can give her daughter more. And yes, Sobhita and Arjun are messing with money and probably underpaying her. But they don’t owe her a promotion to partner, just as her daughter isn’t owed a trip to Paris. Shivani is just asking for a job and a chance and she has the innate talent that Natasha doesn’t.

In this odd world of the out of town, Sobhita moves within herself and reaches a decision on her own life. She floats around, not sure where she is going to be when she comes home or where she will go. She flashes back to how she first met and got together with Jim, going after him on purpose while he was engaged to another woman. And then she flashes back to meeting Arjun, somewhere around the same time, when he was a DJ at a party on her birthday and she was a shy girl who liked film music. And the episode reaches it’s emotional peak when he surprises her late at night at her hotel room, after his friend has almost died from a drug overdose, he still remembered to come by and wish her “happy birthday”. And she finally breaks down, crying in his arms as he tells her “I’ve got you”.

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15 thoughts on “Made in Heaven Review, Episode 5: the NRI and Sex

      • Since I’m so used to reading subtitles, it took me a while to realize that more than half of it is in English.

        I liked this episode because it was so intense and sad (there aren’t really that many light episodes in this show!…wonder if the second series happens if they might lighten things up). This episode does move along the beautiful friendship in the story with Tara and Karan. And then the scene with Jazz and her mechanic man was really kind of a twist. There’s something there with them and for some reason I started shipping them right away. The scene later in the episode when he helps her find her brother shows that he really cares for her. However, because almost definitely the show will have Jazz making her way into the middle class by the end of the series (much like Sobhita’s upward mobility), Jazz and her comfort sex guy will be doomed.

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        • I really liked comfort sex guy too! And for a show with a lot of complicated sexual relations, with weird power dynamics and guilt and stuff mixed in, it was surprisingly refreshing to just have two people like each other and have sex without anything else going on.

          I would love to have Jazz stay with her comfort sex man in the end and bring him into the middle-class with her. But that’s probably not going to happen. Oh well.

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  1. For a show that’s centered on marriage and opulance,this is a really sad show. The friendship between Arjun and Sobhita & Jazz’s liveliness are the two positives in this otherwise bleak, disheartening world.

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    • Plus Deepti Naval and her new husband! And the Sikh couple! They were super cute, that was happy.

      On Mon, Mar 11, 2019 at 11:29 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Beauty contest to select a wife? I’ve never heard of it and I’m in India! Hope its not a common thing around Delhi, Punjab.
    All these stories have a power imbalance which I guess makes good drama. Nothing to talk about or learn from rational people choosing right people for the right reasons.

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    • I’d never heard of it either! But the show says it’s a common thing, so I guess it is?

      I would love an episode about rational people choosing right people, because there’s always going to be some kind of drama in a wedding, and I’d love to see something about the more subtle forms of drama.

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  3. I’m not sure we are supposed to think Natasha is not particularly good at her job. The other firm wouldn’t be trying to recruit her if she wasn’t. I hope 1) they do a second season and 2) some of it is less dark. Also the best and most telling flashbacks are Tara’s. And they get worse.

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    • I completely agree. I think as with many businesses, there are people who are in charge or sales or coming up with the big ideas and those who are in charge of logistics and handling the business aspects of things. One would not work without the other. One example of this is Excel Entertainment. Farhan has said on numerous occasions that he could not be creative unless Ritesh was so good at logistics and business aspect of things. And Ritesh has acknowledged that he lets Farhan have creative freedom and only jumps when he has a strong opinion on the creative aspect.

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      • What I’m not clear on is when Natasha says she is sick of doing “production”, does she mean she thinks she should be creative or sales? Or does she just mean she wants more respect and less on the ground work? Because if it is the first, from what we have seen of her character she would be terrible at that. But if it is the second, she deserves that kind of respect and support from the company because she is really good at the organizing and logisitics. I’m still only halfway through the last episode, maybe that will become clear, or maybe we will learn more about her in the second season.

        On Tue, Mar 12, 2019 at 10:56 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I think she is very good at her job, but good at her current job. She seems to be pushing to be made partner, or get a promotion. But we don’t really see her have a knack for more than what she is currently doing, she isn’t part of the planning or client meetings. And from what I have seen of the next episodes, they don’t seem to feel the loss that much, Shivani steps up and fills her shoes. I don’t think this series of the show really knew what to do with her, she kind of goes in and out of the episodes and (from what I have seen so far) isn’t really resolved. Maybe they are saving her for the next year.

      On Tue, Mar 12, 2019 at 10:34 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. One of the best things, for me, in this episode – and the series throughout – is it takes you down a path where you think you know what is going to happen next because of your own preconceived notions and having watched probably too many Hindi movies, and then squashes it. This is one of the reasons, I have found some of your reviews and predictions so interesting to read having seen the whole series.
    Specifically, with this episode, I found Jazz’s storyline to be the most interesting. For a second toward the end of the last episode, I was so worried that she was having sex with the mechanic for money (since she had just lost her job) or that he would use her vulnerability to force her into prostitution. I have never been happier to be wrong!

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    • Yes! I had the same thought, that we were going to learn she used to be a sex worker or something and was returning to that. No, he is just a nice guy from the neighborhood who wants to help her!

      Come to think of it, that’s kind of theme of the show, none of the women are damsels in distress, and treating them as such is what is more likely to get them in trouble than treating them seriously. Sobhita deserves to know her husband is having an affair, the bride in this episode deserves to know her husband is impotent and to make her own decision about what to do next, and Shivani shouldn’t be written off as some poor girl who needs to be saved just because she is thin and young and slow to speak up.

      On Tue, Mar 12, 2019 at 10:38 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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