Made in Heaven Episode 7 Review, the Royals

Well, this is a fascinating episode! In some ways it feels too simple, in others too complicated. But the way the story brings out surprising contrasting emotions in Arjun and Sobhita, that surprised me. (oh, and index of all my Made in Heaven reviews is here)

The wedding story in this one is really dark, and kind of basic until the end twist. They are organizing a wedding for an ancestral royal Rajput family. It’s a progressive and good wedding, the bride is a pilot, she will be the first working woman in the family. And the wedding is also a bit of a selling moment for the family, they are about to merge their ancestral family palace with a global hotel chain. In the middle of all this excitement, Shivani stumbles on a mehndi artist who is being molested, and they discover the man molesting her is the king, father of the groom.
Image result for sharat saxena
I never trusted him, because he played the bad guy in Asambhav already.

The first part, what I just described, that is the basic bit. As soon as I saw this very innocent and fragile looking young mehndi artist, and the overly bluff and friendly king, I could feel it coming. The twist is after that. Our noble wedding planners encourage the young woman to file a police report. But they also arrange for her to meet with the bride beforehand so the bride can apologize and give support. Only instead the bride takes the opportunity to offer a large bribe for her to keep quiet, and she takes it. She may be a pilot, and a fellow woman, but she is joining the royal family and she will protect them. It’s about doing what you have to to get in, and then doing what you have to to stay in. Everyone makes choices, the question is what you can live with.

That’s where Arjun lands in the episode, he goes to talk to Vijay Raaz about the situation. It’s picking up on the last episode when Vijay Raaz revealed to be another cursed “munglik”, seen as bad but actually better than other “lucky” folks. Along with picking up on the actual plot shifts in which Vijay Raaz become a friend and partner to them. Arjun goes to talk to Vijay, not even knowing what he wants from him, and Vijay gives him the choice. All he has to do is say something, and Vijay will arrange for the king to be beaten, to have a broken leg or hand or worse. And once he has that choice, that is when Arjun discovers he doesn’t want it after all, he has choices and that is not the one he wants to make.

And that’s where the theme comes in. Sobhita spends the episode thinking about her choices. She has “won” in every way. Back years ago, we see how she went from secretary to wife. She started as the pretty secretary. She asked for a cigarette and made an impression. In the last episode, we saw her fake being drunk and carefully arrange a giggly late night in his hotel room, even though she knew he was engaged. And in this episode, we see how it all happened, her cheerfully having an affair with him under the nose of his fiancee, and then getting caught on the office camera. That was a terrible thing, to be video taped and her image spread around, for everyone in the office to be staring at her, and her reaction of shock and horror is sincere. That’s what starts to win Jim over, seeing her actually cry in shame over the whole thing. That was real. But then Sobhita chose to double down on it and play this out. When Jim’s father Dilip Tahil comes to pay her off, she turns down the money. She leans in to that sincerity, her feelings for Jim (whatever she has convinced themselves they are) being more valuable than any simple check. And it worked. Dilip was immediately touched in that conversation, Jim sought her out later, and now here she is years later, her husband is with her instead of his mistress, and all his friends have chosen to support her. But is it worth it? What did she sell in order to get this?

We see that in the beginning of the episode. She returns from having torn apart Kalki’s house to find Jim waiting and ready to blame her, to tell her in the cruelest way that she has revealed her low class origins, she can pretend to be one of them but she isn’t really one of them. Was it worth it? Was selling her dignity to gain a place at the table worth it?

And then there is Arjun. He chose not to sue his landlord and went against his lawyer’s suggestions and rejected filing a case for police brutality. And now he is spinning out, no where to direct his anger but at himself. Arjun’s character’s journey is finally coming in to focus in these last few episodes. In the beginning he felt lost and useless, borrowing money, leaning on Sobhita. But then he hit rock bottom and there was nothing left to fear. Arjun does a wonderful job subtly changing his expression, his posture, everything, as he becomes more comfortable with himself. And conversely, I am appreciating more how he was showing his weakness and discomfort with himself in the earlier episodes. In this episode, he is a rock for the mehendi artist. He is warm and supportive and kind and strong and just right in his interactions with her, she naturally turns to him and leans on him more than Sobhita, who seems out of her depth. Until the moment when she decides to take the money and not file the case and he explodes in anger. Even Sobhita doesn’t fully understand what is happening, but it is clear to Arjun. He knows his anger isn’t at her, but at himself. And he knows what he has to do, it’s not the landlord he has to sue, or the abusive prison guard, he has to file a case against section 377 and put himself up as the face of the struggle.

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Does Zoya telling this story make up for her not choosing to be a face of the struggle herself? I honestly don’t know. Does her art reach more people than her personal story would if it over-shadowed her art?

This is a powerful statement about privilege. Arjun is lucky because he owns his own business with a supportive partner, he is very lucky because his family accepts who he is, and he is articulate and upper class and charming, he should use all of these advantages and be the voice and face for those who can’t speak for themselves.

Sobhita is experiencing her own privilege, she has “won” this time, she is the respectable wife instead of the other woman. But she was on the other side once, the woman who drove away the respectable fiance. Can she really enjoy all she has now, knowing what is on the other side of it?

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5 thoughts on “Made in Heaven Episode 7 Review, the Royals

  1. First, Zoya is so publicly out that in many ways she IS the face of the struggle. Karan hints at it all but he doesn’t pose with his partner the Zoya does in the pic above. And what about Rehka? She has been in a relationship with the woman who she is seen with EVERYWHERE and has never said a word and she could because she is untouchable now.
    Also the Tara story gets even grimier. I for one like the twist that if you are the other woman, you are in very grave danger of becoming the cheated on wife. If he did it once, he’ll do it again. I cannot tell you how many second wives are shocked when he cheats on THEM.

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    • What I really like is how the flashbacks show Sobhita’s growing understanding for Kalki. It would be easy for her to think back and suddenly feel bad for Jim’s fiancee, or even angrier at Kalki as she thinks back to her own machinations. But instead it lets us see and Sobhita remember all the complicated emotions of being “the other woman”, feeling like he doesn’t “really” love the woman he is supposed to be with, and you are saving him, and if you convince yourself you are doing it all for love, then it is okay.

      And just from a narrative/character stand point, they are perfectly written to fill in the gaps between where she is and where she started. Especially that conversation with Jim’s father, who has been sympathetic towards her through out the show. She plays it perfectly as both the actress and the character to convince his father that she feels true love, that she is a sweet dignified good woman and maybe she is the better choice, the more loving choice. And the crying scene with Jim, which explains why he is so confident now in her true love, that she won’t just leave him and take his money. Haven’t seen the finale yet, but I hope there isn’t a further reveal like she was the one who released the tapes or something. I like the way it is set up in this episode, half true and half false. She went into the relationship with eyes open trying to seduce him, but she grew to have real feelings on some level, and she had no plan beyond sleeping with him and seeing what happened.

      On Tue, Mar 12, 2019 at 12:01 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. This was my favorite episode because it really shocked me. All the other brides have been “good” people…making the idealistic and hopeful choices that the audience wants to see…but here we see four morally complicated women (Shobhita, Kalki, Bride, and Mehendi Girl)…and the show tells us not to judge their actions…I felt Arjun’s anger when he burst out at the girl for accepting the money…but Shobhita’s response (“As a woman, I don’t judge her”) hit me hard …and forced me to reconsider my own preconceptions…it was almost as if she was telling us not to judge the Bride/Kalki as well…

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    • Yes! The early half of the plot didn’t shock me at all, it felt completely telegraphed, including that our “good” wedding planners would be very supportive and side with the mehendi artist instead of the royal family. And then that twist with the bride really really did shock me. In a comment on the Munglik episode, Molly pointed out that one theme in the show is that the Brides tend to have a fully understanding of the family they are marrying in to than even the grooms do, the brides will lie and cheat and do whatever is needed to keep peace in the family. Only so far keeping peace in the family has also lined up with the greater good, it hasn’t directly affected anyone else. This is the episode where we see that twisted around, the same instinct that lead the Munglik bride to secretly go through with the ceremony in order to make everyone happy, is making this bride pay off a rape accuser. And I wouldn’t be surprised if her husband doesn’t even know about it.

      The bride’s actions also upend that “as a woman” comment. Because she is acting as a “man”, she is taking the part of the person in power and crushing a fellow woman beneath her. And the reverse is happening to Arjun in this episode, he is experiencing life as a powerless person, his very essence destroyed, a victim of molestation just like the mehendi artist is. Arjun is the one we should not be judging (and I like that we see his lawyer not judging any of his choices) in what is happening in his life. And that freedom from judgement, from his lawyer and from Sobhita and from Vijay Raaz, is what lets him figure out what he wants for himself.

      On Tue, Mar 12, 2019 at 1:21 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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