Made in Heaven Character Post: Tara/Sobhita

Fun fun! I don’t think I’ve done this since Jab Harry Met Sejal maybe? It’s a combination of the characters being written in such a way that there is a lot to talk about, and there being enough people interested for us to have a real conversation.
(oh, and index of all my Made in Heaven reviews is here)

There’s an instantly iconic image in the final episode of Sobhita naked in a bathtub wearing all her jewelry and surrounded by more jewels. It resonates on three levels which are the three levels of the character:
Image result for made in heaven sobhita

The bride who is adorned with jewels, the daughter-in-law who is the jewel of the household, the person herself doesn’t matter, it is a way of showing your wealth and position, having a beautiful person wearing expensive beautiful jewels.

The Goddess statue in temples who is dressed in real jewels, remote and opaque and powerful, taking jewels as her tribute.

The golddigger wife, the woman who did all of this for the jewels and now has only the jewels to comfort her.

Sobhita/Tara is all those things in this series. She is forever a bride, married so far above her that people only see her as her husband’s wife, her in-law’s daughter-in-law, not as her own person.

At work, she is a Goddess. Seeing the bigger picture, gently changing the course of events, impossible to fully understand, beautiful and somehow otherwordly.

But at heart, she is the goldigger. That is what the end of the season brings her to, acknowledging that she set out to win over Jim Sarbh and she did, and she isn’t ashamed, she accepts that. It’s what she did and who she is, and there is no need to feel guilty or try to punish herself any more. That’s the person Arjun knows too, the awkward woman trying to look richer and more in control and more perfect than she is.

It’s an interesting character. In broad strokes, this is the villain in a soap opera. She is a poor girl, she trains herself to act rich, she gets a job as a secretary just to be near to a wealthy man, she seduces him step by step, then she releases a sex tape to break his engagement and guilt him into marrying her, and then she takes his money to pay for the business she wants to open. EVIL.

But this show takes a step back and asks us to consider what kind of a person would do those things, and what kind of a world she must live in. Sobhati was raised to believe that her beautiful face was her fortune, and marriage was her goal. As are all women in India, marriage is the greatest thing to hope for, the only thing to hope for.

All women are told that, but Sobhati was smarter than other women. In a different place, she might have aimed herself towards movie stardom, or politics, and become the biggest star or the most powerful politician. But she was told that marriage was where she should look, so she looked for the best marriage. And she made a plan and figured out how to get there. We have just seen 9 weddings, is what Sobhita did that different from the Sikh bride who cheated on her fiance and then decided she loved him and wanted to make the most of her marriage? Or the Munglik bride who went through the secret ceremony? Marriage is complicated, especially for a woman in India, and there is really no way to make it work if you do it completely “fairly”. So Sobhita does it unfairly, finds a single rich man who is not that interested in his fiancee, gives him the option of sleeping with her, releases the tape, and then makes herself into the exact kind of wife who could make him and his family happy. Is it that different from a woman whose family forces her and the groom together and then she makes herself into the kind of person he would want?

Sobhati is a very very good wedding planner. She knows how to make people happy, she can figure out what they want, she can ease the way for these new couples. And the greatest wedding she planned was her own, giving Jim exactly what he wanted.

At least, that’s how I see her. How about you? What did you like, what didn’t you like, what parts of her story did you find most interesting?

Advertisements

19 thoughts on “Made in Heaven Character Post: Tara/Sobhita

  1. As much as I cheered when she walked out…I felt that was out of character…despite the insecurity and indignity of her situation…she is a shrewd social climber who has clambered her way to the top….breaking the cycle is a good character arch but given the reality of women in her situation it is seemed very “filmy” for her to just walk out…the more “real” conclusion would have been to engage in clever politics (maybe with her inlaws help)..or use a baby to secure her place in the house.

    Like

    • I wonder if it is partly a function of not knowing if they will get a second season. I could see the first episode of the next season doing a soft reset, maybe she and Jim go to couple’s therapy, maybe she discovers she is pregnant, maybe her in-laws get in touch with her and ask her to come back home, something like that.

      On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 9:05 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

      • I think Tara’s character developed throughout the show and she went through a mentality shift that prompted her to walk out. As she says in her heartfelt speech to the girls at the grooming school, she felt as if she had erased her past self completely and doesn’t know who she is anymore. I think another major event that really made her question herself is Adhil’s cheating – besides the fact that her husband cheated on her, through her flashbacks we can see that she used to be “the other girl” herself, and now that she is in the same position as Adhil’s former fiance, she is forced to come to terms with her own behavior in the past – you could even say there’s some karma themes involved here. Of course she is furious with Faiza for sleeping with her husband, but was she really any better for sleeping with someone else’s fiance purely for wealth and status? Who is she, really? While she might have come to truly love Adhil, in the last episode she admits to Adhil what she has known all along – she is the odd one out, always trying to fit in, and never quite managing it due to her roots. By finally deciding to tell Adhil the truth and walk out on him, she is finally making the decision that the sacrifices she needs to make for the life she wants isn’t worth her respect and honor, and decides to get what she wants in life another way. She finally figures out who she really is. By showing the storyline of Tara’s sister’s happy marriage with her husband and her son and contrasting it with the yelling match Tara had with Adhil, Tara can see firsthand the difference between a relationship based on genuine love and the fake relationship she struggled so hard to build, and she leaves quickly because the difference pains her. Adhil also doesn’t seem to want a baby at all right now.

        Like

        • Thank you for such an insightful comment!

          I think you hit the nail on the head with Tara realizing through out the season that she doesn’t want what she has. Walking out was ultimately the most selfish thing she did, was what she wanted for herself more than when she went after Adhil or anything else she did in her life. I look forward to learning more about her upbringing because, to me, it feels like she never wanted the kind of marriage and life she had, that she got more satisfaction from her work and doing a good job than she did from her marriage. But her mother had brainwashed her into believing that a good marriage to a rich man will make her happy, and it took this long journey of the season to discover how much she didn’t want this marriage, even if she had learned to love her husband, even if she sincerely wanted a child, the whole life as the daughter-in-law of this super rich family is not what would make her happy. Come to think of it, we also see her mother trying to stop Tara’s sister from getting married to the man she loves, which has been proved to be completely wrong advice and Tara’s sister is much happier for having ignored it. Her mother has a view of marriage which is completely wrong, and surely affected how Tara views it as well, and she has to go through this season and see all the other couples getting married to fully understand how wrong it was, and how much this marriage is not working for her.

          Like

          • That’s a great point that I hadn’t thought of before – it makes perfect sense that through planning all these other weddings she has come to see how much her own marriage lacks and now wants to leave it.

            Based on Tara’s acting, I’m not certain how much her mom succeeded in brainwashing her actually – during the flashback scenes, Tara doesn’t seem to be in wholehearted agreement with her mother’s views, as she usually looks away and doesn’t really react much. Maybe it’s more of her own ambition and desire to leave the poor community that spurred her to seize an opportunity to leave, and maybe she resents her mother for the way she thinks marriage is the solution to everything because Tara had her own dreams of being independently successful?

            Do you think Tara was distant and cold towards her mother and sister when they came to the factory opening because they were a reminder of her past from a low-income family and Tara at that point was trying to prove that she was above them now? I’m also curious as to how Adhil’s family even agreed to a marriage between him and his secretary in the first place after seeing the community they are from – are they super progressive, or are they naive not to be weary of golddiggers? How did Faiza and Tara become best friends despite being from 2 starkly different communities anyway?

            Like

          • Such interesting questions to think about!

            I think Tara was rude to her mother and sister in that moment, because she saw herself in them, and she was ashamed of herself in that moment. Part of her jumping classes was feeling ashamed of where she came from, beating down that part of herself. She goes from feeling uncomfortable with them as a sign of her own past, to hating the parts of herself in her mother (the moments when her mother says to forgive Adhil, to be grateful, and so on and so on. The same things Tara is telling herself, but she hates those thoughts). Until finally she has that really wonderful afternoon with her sister, showing her finding peace with herself and something to love about where she came from and who she is inside. I look forward to more digging in the second season to the differences between her mother and sister and what Tara has in common and different with each of them. We never even found out what her sister thinks about her marriage, and how it is falling apart. But the fact that her sister rebelled and married for love makes me think that she probably wouldn’t agree with how Tara’s mother feels about the marriage.

            We saw a little bit of why his family welcomed her in Tara’s first meeting with Adhil’s father, where she charms him with her simplicity and dignity. I could see them deciding they would rather have a daughter-in-law who is sweet and sincere and will never challenge them, than a daughter-in-law who is more confident and aggressive. Plus from what we saw of their friends, it seems like they could even have spun it as something to be proud of “look how good and open-minded and generous we are, we welcomed the humble secretary our son fell in love with to our family”. But I bet they wouldn’t have felt the same way if Tara was less beautiful, and less perfectly dressed and behaved and everything else.

            On Sat, Mar 16, 2019 at 6:22 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

            >

            Like

  2. Has anyone discussed (I read through these quickly) the scene where Tara and Jim talk about remembering what they were wearing when they first met? He assumes it was the office. But it was not, we see a scene where Tara is an invisible woman in a sari, greeting guests in a posh hotel and she sees him. She starts as a hotel worker NOT a secretary. She has even a longer road to travel. I thought that tiny 20 seconds was brilliant.

    Like

    • We haven’t discussed it yet and I am so glad you brought it up! Because, YES! She went from average lower middle-class girl taking a grooming class, to working at a high class hotel in the hospitality industry (which also fills in some of her knowledge of proper behavior and things like what tray to use and what glass and so on, it is the kind of thing you would learn in training at that sort of hotel), to taking a secretarial course and getting a good job in an office, to finally playing out her plan of seducing Jim. It also made me wonder even more how much was true love for her and how much was planning. I think maybe it makes it more love and less planning? It would be one thing to keep your eyes open for your main chance and go after Jim because he hires you and he is there, it’s something else entirely to see him earlier and pick him out, apply to his company in hopes of catching his eye.

      And on a much smaller level, a background in high class hospitality also is great training for running a wedding planning business! Fills in a gap there of how they are so good at their jobs, not just the pleasing the clients part of it, but the little things like how to set up the tables and properly serve food and stuff.

      On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 4:08 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

      • I hadn’t thought about the hospitality training but that explains a lot. I think she saw Jim at the hotel, liked the way he looked (why I do not know) and set her sights on him.

        Like

        • Yeah, she learns he is rich and single in that moment, and also sees that he isn’t super interested in his fiance (it’s obvious there is no spark between them). But surely there were other men in Delhi that had the same qualifications, there must have been something she liked about him. It is sweet that Jim remembers her from that first meeting. I won’t even blame him for not remembering her as the waitress, it’s not like they had a conversation or anything. So that he remembers what she looked like when she was just a new secretary hire he saw for 30 seconds says something about his true feelings for her. And it is also kind of a classy thing for him to say at their anniversary party, owning their whole history, not trying to pretend she was never his secretary and his mistress.

          I still don’t like him though and I want him and Kalki to go off and have their life outside of the series from now on.

          On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 4:18 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

          >

          Like

          • I can’t stand him. I did not even see the prior to marriage feelings he had for Kalki. Hes a cheater. Bas.

            Like

          • Okay, take this over to the Jim/Kalki character post and help me figure out what the heck we are supposed to take away from their relationship! Because I don’t get it.

            On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 4:38 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

            >

            Like

  3. Oh and just for the record, aren’t you all so proud of me that I am sustaining a long conversation about a movie that Shah Rukh is NOT in? OKay Okay, he produced it, but still….

    Like

  4. It’s great to see a female lead with morally dubious choices and flaws. Which is why I was kinda disappointed when she took the high road and left him. Agree with the comment above that that is completely out of character. I don’t want her to develop a conscience now. The way Tara is a fighter,I can’t agree with her letting go of her hard won prize so easily that too when the other woman in question is her best friend. I love how she stands up for the brides and women always. On the first episode she advised the bride to think of money and in the dowry episode she advices the bride about her sneaky in-laws’ demands. Clearly a woman who knows the whites, blacks & greys. Also her unrelenting support for Arjun is heartwarming.

    Like

    • There’s is one interpretation that occurred to me watching the episode. It is possible that earlier, when she was bathing in jewels, she decided she wanted to leave him but keep the jewels, but knew the hardest part would be getting out of the door without being stopped. So she waited until there were guests, which would distract his parents and give her witnesses if there was any violence (plus set up a defense for society since they all saw her confront Jim with still talking to Kalki). And she saved up her reveal that she tricked Jim into marrying her in order to distract him so she could get out. And then she got out, with her clothes and her jewels, instead of with nothing. The whole thing was planned out, just like everything else in her life.

      On Thu, Mar 14, 2019 at 4:58 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

  5. I think Tara has become the most interesting character in the whole series for me. As the protagonist, I started rooting for her, and then as the show slowly unveiled more and more of her morally ambiguous backstory, even though I felt taken aback for supporting her (I’ll admit, I never expected her to turn out to be a golddigger!), I couldn’t help but feel for her based on all the information they provided given her backstory and motivation for doing what she did.

    She’s a really strong character just trying to survive and fight tooth and nail for her place in society and her happiness, and you have to admire her for that. She also has a lot of redeeming qualities such as her empathy for other women, her ambition, and her passion for her work, and deep down you know she is a good person by the way she goes out of her way during wedding planning to ensure that she always sticks up for what is right to her. Despite all her flaws and mistakes, I really feel for her and hope she will find her own piece of genuine happiness soon! I’m pretty sure she will never find happiness with Adhil, so she would have to find it somewhere else.

    Also, Tara strongly reminds me of June from The Handmaid’s Tale!

    Like

    • I was thinking maybe we could forgive her less easily of her husband wasn’t so horrible. If he was a sweet sincere guy who really loved her. But you know, if he was a sweet sincere guy who really loved her, she would have made him an amazing wife forever. She tricked and cheated to be Adhil’s wife, but she made herself really love him, and she was truly the perfect wife once they were married. If he had been a non-cheater, sweet and loving, she would have been torn with even more guilt than she already had for tricking this horrible man, and she would have been an even more amazing wife to make up for it.

      I think we forgive her because we understand the strain of the situation she came from (Jazz’s backstory gives us a little of that), and because we see how no marriage is really perfect (that’s in every couple we see), and because we see her own guilt build up over the season, as well as her own awareness of her own unhappiness.

      On Sat, Mar 16, 2019 at 6:33 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.