‘Made In Heaven’ Season 2 Review: Yet Another Dense & Discomforting Look At India’s Upper Class

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When the first season of Made in Heaven arrived on Prime Video, apart from the pearl-clutching, tradition-loving section of the Indian audience, it was praised by critics and audiences alike for its detailed and layered portrayal of what goes on in upper-class Indian weddings. But I didn’t quite fall head-over-heels in love with it, at least not immediately, because I could not understand why we were spending so much time on those who are explicitly bigoted and obtuse. As time passed, I came to the realization that the Indian upper class is very oblivious—some of which is intentional and some of which is pure ignorance—to its prejudices. Hence, they need to be critiqued until self-correction begins. In case that wasn’t incredibly obvious in season 1, the second season of Made in Heaven ensures that its themes and messages are loud and clear while having plenty of room for interpretation.

Made in Heaven Season 1 concluded with Tara walking out of her marriage with Adil, the vandalizing of Tara and Karan’s office due to Karan’s pro-LGBTQ+ stand, and Tara and Karan entering a partnership with Ramesh Jauhari. Season 2 opens with the revelation that the new Made in Heaven office has been set up in an old home that belongs to Jauhari’s wife, Bulbul. Since Tara and Karan’s business is still not bringing in any profit, Bulbul is brought in to the firm as the auditor. Kabir is looking to move to New York with his girlfriend, Dilshad. Jazz is looking to get married, take care of her parents, look after her recovering brother, and excel at her job. Pant, who appeared in one episode in the first season, has taken up a more hands-on role this time around. Meher has been hired as the production head in order to ensure that this new chapter of Made in Heaven (MIH) sails smoothly despite Tara and Karan’s tumultuous personal lives.

Writer-directors Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti, and Alankrita Shrivastava cover a lot of ground, and that’s why I advise pacing yourself and watching Made in Heaven Season 2 over the course of a few days instead of consuming it all at once. It’s a lot, and it can be overwhelming. I don’t mean that in a negative way, but rather in a positive, important, and necessary way because we need to come to terms with our reality if we haven’t already. Let’s start with the weddings first, and then get to the personal lives of the core six. Without spoiling which is which, MIH’s projects tackle India’s obsession with fair skin, tolerating abusive relationships, extramarital affairs, Bollywood couples, second marriages, inter-caste marriages, same-sex marriages, polygamous marriages, and marriages with a significant age difference. It’s safe to say the commentaries emanating out of each of them are so relevant, and the commentary is so pointed that it’ll make you hit the pause button, take a walk, and then engage with it again. And that’s completely purposeful because the writers are not here to paint a pretty picture of the Indian upper class.

In case the aforementioned topics seem repetitive because they’ve been covered in other media, then that’s also the point that the writers are trying to make. We are in 2023. Casteism, classism, abuse (emotional and physical), exploitation, and homophobia have been heavily critiqued by movies, TV shows, the law (nationally and internationally), and people with an inkling of common sense and humanity. Yet, do we see an exponential decrease in any of these practices? We are seeing people doubling down on caste-based and religious discrimination while labeling it as their “way of life.” There’s a sudden push towards regressing gender roles by a few decades and blaming feminism for the debacle of society without recognizing the fact that a society that stands on misogyny and patriarchy deserves to be destroyed. And India as a country still refuses to green-light same-sex marriage because our “leaders” think heterosexuality is what is keeping things together. So, these stories need to be told until fair skin isn’t a deciding factor in a marriage, women stop equating abuse with love, marriages aren’t treated like a business transaction, casteism is abolished, polygamy is consensual, and consenting adults, regardless of their gender and sex, can live with each other.

Shifting from the wedding-related stories to the comparatively personal stuff, but without getting into too much detail, I believe that the character arcs of Bulbul and Meher are simply fantastic. It is true that Meher’s journey gives us an intricate look into the exclusively Indian trans experience, and Bulbul’s journey gives us a glimpse of what it’s like to bring up two boys in these highly volatile and misogynistic times. But more than that, it’s the time spent with them, the level of agency they’re given, the dialogue-writing around them, and how the protagonists support and amplify their opinions that make them instantly memorable and relatable. With the polygamous marriage and the relationship between Kabir and Jazz, I think Made in Heaven Season 2 has a pretty explicit pro-monogamy agenda. I am probably projecting because I think it’s okay to date one person at a time, break up, and then move on to the next. However, going by all the rumors about open relationships in Bollywood, it won’t be a stretch to assume that the storytellers are just done with that nonsense. Apologies for the gossip-mongering.

Tara and Karan do make my head spin. At one point, I like them, and the next moment, I completely hate them. For example, Tara is supposed to be this powerful figure who is upholding her femininity without doing the one thing that’s usually expected of women, no matter what the circumstances are: showing empathy. There’s this amazing exchange where someone says that Tara didn’t have to dress up for his friends, and Tara replies that she always dresses up, and the guy’s friends are incidental. But when it becomes evident that she’s still her mother’s meat puppet, then it’s hard to root for her. Karan’s relationship with his mother keeps him from being the best version of himself, and it is infuriating to watch him go through yet another cycle of gambling and drugs. However, it is the unpredictable nature of these two characters that makes the viewing experience so intriguing because people, in real life, are like that. Sometimes they are inspiring, and they can motivate us to be better people. Other times, they are cautionary tales that can teach us not to make a mess of ourselves.

Every single director attached to Made in Heaven is splendid. All of them have more than an hour to work with, and they make sure that not even a second is wasted. The camerawork, the editing, the production design, the costumes (Sabyasachi is in the house), the locations, the architecture, the pacing—it’s all perfect. If there were ten more episodes after the seven episodes, I would’ve watched them too; that’s how invested I was in this broken reflection of the world we live in. I do have a few critiques regarding some of the creative decisions. So, brace yourselves. Even though I know it makes narrative sense, keeping the inter-caste wedding and the Tam-Brahm wedding in one episode feels wrong. The inter-caste wedding is all about not having a “main” upper caste wedding as well as a Buddhist Dalit wedding because it’s discriminatory. Yes, the inter-caste marriage gets the final frames, but clubbing it with the UC wedding seems like a sly attempt to appease the casteist folk amidst us. Then there’s the copious use of Mughal architecture. But when it comes to a Muslim wedding, it seems to echo every stereotype in existence and is bookended with a weirdly “nationalistic” statement.

That said, the biggest issue with Made in Heaven Season 2 is the muted visuals. Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of beautiful colors, textured materials, and gorgeous locales on the screen. But none of them pop because it seems like someone has turned the lights off and made everything look dull. There is this grayish haze over every other frame, which hinders the viewing experience. And it isn’t limited to this show. This is happening with every single Amazon Prime Video release. I’ve seen this issue in Dead Ringers, Jack Ryan Season 4, Citadel, and The Peripheral, and it is irritating at this point. It can be a creative choice. It can be a case of shooting on digital, even though I don’t think everything that is shot on digital has this hazy layer over it. It can happen due to some weird video compression thing when the show is uploaded to the streaming platform. Of course, you will probably get used to it after a while. However, I can’t, and I haven’t. It is a personal preference, and I think it is preventing good cinematography from becoming truly awesome. Hence, I want it to be fixed.

When it comes to the performances in Made in Heaven, I genuinely do not have any complaints because this is a talented cast that has given it their all. Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju’s casting is a big win for the trans community and for those who have been asking producers, directors, and casting agencies to cast trans actors as trans characters. This is her debut, but it never feels like she is a newbie. Her confidence, her vulnerability, her chemistry with her co-stars—it’s all palpable and incredibly organic. Mona Singh is simply phenomenal. Her range is seriously jaw-dropping. Her rapport with the consistently brilliant Vijay Raaz made me teary-eyed. Every scene that she has with Krrish Rao and Mihir Ahuja is so good. As mentioned before, they are two of my favorite aspects of this season of the show. The actors Shivani Raghuvanshi and Shashank Arora are so casually talented. The usual suspects, Arjun Mathur and Sobhita Dhulipala, are undoubtedly fabulous. The effortlessness with which they express themselves, their micro-reactions, and the way they share the screen together feel like an invaluable acting class. The same can be said of Jim Sarbh and Kalki Koechlin, despite their relatively limited screen time. All the soon-to-be-married-or-not-married couples are exquisite, with Mrunal Thakur, Dia Mirza, Zayn Marie Khan, and Radhika Apte knocking it out of the park. I’ll be here all day if I keep listing all the actors. So, let’s just say that every single person in the cast deserves a round of applause.

I am well aware of the fact that this has turned into a pretty long review because Made in Heaven Season 2 is made of seven very dense, very complicated, and very intense episodes. Yet, I have probably only scratched the surface because there’s so much to talk about. So, it’s a matter of shame that Prime Video India hasn’t taken the one-episode-per-week release model for this. Just dumping it all on the same day won’t do it justice. Every episode deserves week-long conversations, discussions, and discourses. That’s a roundabout way of saying that Made in Heaven is a near-perfect show that throws a sledgehammer at the Indian upper class and every bigoted thing that they’re flaunting in the name of tradition or personal choice. It is packed wall-to-wall with memorable moments, fueled by some of the best screen acting your eyes have ever seen. At the risk of sounding repetitive, please try to take your time while watching the show so that you can fully appreciate it. And once you are done forming an opinion, feel free to share your thoughts with us.


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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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