Made in Heaven Series Review, Episode 2: The Sikhs and the Stars

I put up a review of episode 1 already, I’m going this show episode by episode because it breaks down tidily into separate stories unlike Humsafar or Sacred Games. This also makes it way WAY easier for me to review, since I can do short little reviews episode by episode instead of trying to binge the whole thing and then review the whole thing. (full index of Made in Heaven reviews is here)

The first episode opened with our lead, Sobhita, and then our second lead Arjun Mathur. They were giving their pitch and trying to get hired for a wedding. And then the rest of the episode has them on the outside of this wedding looking in, we don’t see anything happen in the wedding family or with the wedding couple without their presence. But this episode starts with the marriage couple and ends with them too. Sobhita and Arjun’s stories are even more sidelined than in the first episode.

This is a different kind of wedding couple. While the first episode showed the “industrialists”, the highest of the higher classes, the richest or the rich, the same kind of family that Sobhita married in to, this episode is showing the new money. The ones who are still tied to their traditions instead of being brushed down and turned into perfect westernized wealth. These are true Punjabi Sikhs, trying to catch a foothold in the higher level of society. They have the money for a big wedding, but they still wear their turbans, and they go to Gurudwara, and they can be impressed by celebrity guests. The grooms’ family owns a hotel and the bride is from Dubai, daughter of a businessman, the wedding is bringing together two families and two businesses. But they are old-fashioned, the bride and groom didn’t date or pick each other, or even know each other well before this. Although they are new-fashioned enough that the bride and groom do know each other a little and like each other. And get to have a “young people party” before the real party. That’s what it’s all about really, the young people in this family, they can drink and wear western clothes and party, but the older generation can’t. The family is torn between past and future.

This again

We open the episode with a bang, Zoya had to shift the editing around a bit to make this the opening, but it is worth it. A young woman wakes up, her phone is ringing, she confesses to her friend that she isn’t in her room, she spent the night with “Big Name Movie Star”. And then her friend comes and they both sigh over him still sleeping in bed and take photos. It’s cute and non-judgemental. And immediately pulls you into this episode when it is followed by a flashback revealing the woman who just spent the night with a movie star is THE BRIDE!!!!

The rest of the episode is a surprisingly sweet story. Sobhita and Arjun and their team work to get the couple back together. A photo leaked of the star kissing the bride, and the groom is furious. The bride isn’t even sure she wants him back, is beginning to feel conflicted about this whole thing, but Sobhita and team convince her to make a show of praying and then cooking for him, and feeding him the food, and that will make him forgive her. The bride’s friend thinks this is all ridiculous, and the voice over is cynical about it too, that all a bride has to do is pray and cook. But, it works! Not only does the groom forgive her, he forgives her so sweetly that the bride falls in love with him for real. She wants to confess to him the next day but Arjun convinces her not to, convinces her that lying is better to protect the happiness of their marriage.

It’s an interesting message. This marriage with the old-fashioned start (arranged between families) and old-fashioned values (praying and cooking and so on) turns out to be more sincerely loving and sweet than the wedding from the first episode with the modern couple who fell in love, but get married partly because Sobhita convinced the bride to care about money. And the young woman who slept with a movie star the night before her wedding, and didn’t even know how to cook, turns out to be truly the perfect innocent bride, their wedding ceremony is without any dark clouds, she truly loves her husband and looks at him with love, unlike the first ceremony where the bride was also concerned about what everyone else thought of her. Really, the message is simply that people and couples don’t follow any set pattern. A young woman can be overcome and spend the night with a movie star and still fall in love with her fiance that she hasn’t even kissed, can be won over to a marriage of cooking and praying.

Just like in Zoya’s most recent film, Ranveer can sleep with another woman and it doesn’t really shake the foundations of the relationship he has with Alia

That’s the central story, but this episode also gives a little more information about the continuing storylines. Poor Shivani has a crush on Arjun, and doesn’t notice that the videographer has a crush on her. She is out of her depth in many ways, not sure on what to wear to the events, excited about the fancy hotel room where she gets to stay, and accidentally posting photos on social media and getting in trouble. But on the other hand, she has an instinct for people like Sobhita does, suggests the praying and cooking solution to the romance problem. And she has a tie to the kind of youthful sincere love, and old-fashioned values, that are part of this wedding. While the other staff are part of the westernized upper middle-class, she is part of a family that still prays at Gurudwara and understands those values. This is also the episode where we get to see her household, the true average household we have not seen so far, a little apartment with her mother and father and deadbeat brother, in which she has one little corner that she struggles to keep pretty and tidy.

Sobhita’s story continues to slowly move along and so does Arjun’s. Definitely lots of filler in their stories. Which is fine, they need to pace things out a little so we can care about the episode by episode stories instead of just the personal DRAMA all the time. We get a flashback to Sobhita’s wedding and how Kalki supported her and bucked her up. We see Sobhita pressure her husband Jim to have sex with her because she is ovulating and him avoiding. And we see Sobhita at the celebration for the new factory Arjun has opened, where she is surprised by her mother and sister. She speaks to them differently, rapid Hindi instead of the smooth Hinglish style she uses with her in-laws. And she is embarrassed by them. It ends with Jim and Kalki hiding in the factory and making out. It’s just more of the same from the first episode. Sobhita married up and is trying to make a success of her marriage as hard as she can, she is trying harder than it seems on the surface and is more worried than she seems. And Kalki and Jim’s affair is more of a betrayal than it seems, as we learn that Kalki was Sobhita’s loyal friend first, and that Sobhita believes her marriage is sincere and solid enough to support a child.

Arjun keeps flashing back to his first love, but has another man staying with him, an American who is a regular visitor when in India for business. His landlord is suspicious and installs cameras in his apartment. And he is friendly and kind to his landlord’s teenage daughter (possibly foreshadowing that her friendship will either save him, or doom him when his secret comes out). It’s still less interesting than Sobhita’s story, although his landlord’s family is a whole collection of wonderful actors, Vinay Pathak from Aaja Nachle as the father, Ayesha Raza from Veere Di Wedding and Dil Dhadakne Do as the mother, and Yashaswini Dayama from Dear Zindagi as the daughter.

Vinay Pathak!
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12 thoughts on “Made in Heaven Series Review, Episode 2: The Sikhs and the Stars

  1. Vinay Pathak was also just he dad in Luka Chuppi. I was in the middle of watching MIH when I went to see LC and the whiplash of the two characters really threw me! I love the actress playing the daughter…would love to see her in more things.

    The chase scene in the hotel room was hilarious in this one!

    It is interesting to read your reviews knowing what actually plays out by the end of the season.
    Jazz’s brother is just the tip of the iceberg with her hidden depths. I thought that scene where she kicks the drug equipment under the bed and just lays down in resignation was particularly affecting.

    Zoya and Reema obviously get A+ grades for creating and writing this show, but I found Zoya’s directing in these first two episodes a bit choppy (especially compared to how smooth later episodes are), like they could have been slightly better if she wasn’t so busy working on Gully Boy or something. But maybe that’s just the usual for pilot and early episodes in any new series.

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    • Agree about the choppiness of the directing, and I think it probably is just first episode problems. There was so much she wanted to set up before moving forward and it all got kind of overstuffed, with needing us to understand the world of weddings in India, and the world of these characters, and so on and so on.

      I liked the chase scene in this, and the way that whole sequences punctured typical masculinity. The movie star is a coward, but once he gets the hockey stick and starts posturing, the groom is a coward too. Both of them are just acting out violent anger, but don’t really know what to do with it.

      On Mon, Mar 11, 2019 at 9:39 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. This wedding and couple was so much fun. I thought the name Harsimran was meant to convey every NRI Punjabi bride ever in a not-so-Simran way. The part where Arjun convinces Harsimran to just shut up and move on & where the friend says ‘you scored bug girl ‘ had me laughing out.The whole situation and the non judgemental resolution is very young& sweet. Also the whole wooing routine that the superstar does with the bride is something we see so much in the big shot weddings & events in real life that it looked like a funny spoof and set the tone for the rest of the story.

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    • I loved the part where her friend asks “just how arranged IS this marriage???” in response to the advice to cook and pray. And her mother saying “this is what it takes to make her learn to cook?” This wedding was so fun because it started out seeming the fakest and least sincere of them all, with the over the top bride and groom, and the bride faking being this perfect bride in a very cynical way, and then it turns out that no, there was real feeling underneath it! Maybe it was because it was so fake? Like, everyone knew from the start what they were dealing with, this was a couple put together as part of a business deal, and any actual emotions that arose were a bonus. Versus the “love” marriages we saw where they had to lie about everything that might make it appear less than perfect love.

      I also really enjoyed how much this episode skewered the celebrity spin doctors. The lie about the movie star’s dog being sick, the explanation that it was just the angle of the photo that made it look like a lip-to-lip, all the kind of things we here in the movie star press all the time. Plus the “solution” of needing a cute photo of the couple to instagram so everyone would believe their love story again, something else we see all the time, a “spontaneous” moment of love image released just as soon as rumors of marriage problems appear. But the nice thing was, again, under all that spin was real emotion. Maybe they were covering up that she really did sleep with the star, but the “truth” is that she is in love with her groom and they will be married and happy forever, so who cares about all the details along the way?

      I think this episode is part of why I was so disappointed in the next two (the only other ones I have watched so far) where the personal life of the leads took the forefront and the couple of the week took a bit of a backseat. I’m hoping that it is just a middle-of-the-series issue and episodes 5 and 6 and 7 and 8 will go back to being more about the couple of the week, and then 9 will be when we return to all our continuing stories.

      On Mon, Mar 11, 2019 at 11:15 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. I am condoning cheating on your fiancé, or cheating at all. But I found the whole nonjudgemental view of the bride by her sister/friend very refreshing. This is an arranged marriage (not forced but still arranged) and the bride is in her early 20s (young but old enough to have had and want sex). The bride has no idea the sexual chemistry she would have with her future husband. She meets a superstar that she has been enamored by and has consenting sex while she is still “single.” And the sister/friend (and even Shobhita) completely understands of all of this. No shaming the bride, no judgement – just a story the girls might be able to covertly chat about and enjoy reminiscing about when they are sitting around 30 years from now having a girls’ night and sipping a glass of wine.

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    • Yes! Agree totally. Especially with this situation, a famous fantasy movie star that you will never see again. With a different couple this could even have been one of the “cheat” names, the “if you ever get a chance, you have my permission to sleep with ____ because it would be such a once in a lifetime opportunity”. The show doesn’t explicitly go there, but there is also the lesson that her final sewing of wild oats is what let her fall in love with her fiance for real. No one ever says it out loud, but it’s there for us to read in the series of events, she has doubts about the wedding, she is nervous about sleeping with this guy she doesn’t know, she sleeps with her fantasy man, because of that she ends up talking honestly and alone with her fiance, and then she falls in love. She had to get the shallow sex and fantasy out of her system, and then she was able to open up and appreciate the real thing she is being offered. It’s the whole idea of having a movie star at the wedding, right? Give the bride her fantasy so she can make peace with her reality. Her groom was the one who set it all up, she just took it a little farther in this case.

      Oh, and I also love the layers of protection she is offered! The wedding planners and her friend keep the night in the hotel room secret from everyone else. Her father and the groom’s father lie about the kiss photo. No one wants the wedding to fail or this couple to start off on a bad foot, no matter what she might have done in a drunken impulsive moment.

      On Mon, Mar 11, 2019 at 11:19 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I love the layers of protection too. It really felt like this was an arranged marriage with loving parents and in-laws and the decision was always the bride’s. Did you note how many times she was asked whether she wants to go through with the marriage, and she doesn’t hesistate in saying yes every time! The only time she shows even slight hesitation is when she is asked to cook and that is only because of her own insecurity over thinking she can’t cook.

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        • Yes! This was a good healthy version of an arranged marriage, better than the love marriage we saw in the first episode in some ways. The bride and groom were both going in with open eyes and with full support and love from both sets of parents. Versus Sobhita and the first episode bride who had some kind of love from their husbands, but no real support from their in-laws and just generally no equality between the couple.

          On Mon, Mar 11, 2019 at 12:45 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. I loved this episode so much!! It also made me wonder if Zoya and Reema are sprinkling the series with gossip they’ve heard over the years. And which star had they heard about seducing a bride?

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    • You know what surprised me the most? The complete stupidity and lack of professionalism in a movie star sleeping with a bride. So I could see it either way, either this is something that happened and everyone heard about it, or this is the worst case scenario everyone is afraid of. It’s in Fan too a little, these stars get shocking access to very privileged and protected young women, and are even encouraged to romance them a little, but it is supposed to be a kind of “look but don’t touch” thing, they can’t take advantage. And if it got around that they did, it would be bad for business. Who would risk hiring an actor to entertain of their wedding if there is even the slightest chance they might slip?

      On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 12:48 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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