We’ve all heard of the term “separating the art from the artist,” right? It comes up when a director, an actor, or a producer has done something inhumane, but their name is associated with a great movie or show. The phrase really spiked during the #MeToo movement as many actors, directors, and producers were named and shamed for sexually harassing women under the pretext of “just doing their job.” The media clutched their proverbial pearls while claiming that “cancel culture has gone too far.” But like every industry in the world, the world of entertainment gave these men a second chance, and they’re back to work as usual, thereby making the aforementioned phrase relevant again. Now, I’m not so good at separating an artist from his art because that piece of art is an extension of that artist’s psyche. And I think the work of an abuser should be viewed through that lens instead of doing all kinds of weird mental gymnastics to appear moral or ethical in your review.
Luv Ranjan’s “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar,” which he has co-written with Rahul Mody, tells the story of a break-up artist called Mickey (Ranbir Kapoor) and his friend Manu Dabbas (Anubhav Singh Bassi). Mickey is Ramesh’s (Boney Kapoor) and Renu’s (Dimple Kapadia’s) son, and hence the owner of multiple businesses spread all over Delhi. The Arora family also features Mickey’s sister, Minny (Hasleen Kaur), Mickey’s niece, Sweetu (Inayat Verma), Minny’s husband, Amber Rana, and Mickey’s grandmother, Jatinder Kaur, and all of them treat Dabbas as Mickey’s brother. As Dabbas’ marriage with Kinchi (Monica Chaudhary) looms over his head, Dabbas asks Mickey to use his skills as a break-up artist to bring things to a halt. Mickey fails to do so because he falls in love with Kinchi’s best friend, Tinni (Shraddha Kapoor), and Tinni reciprocates those emotions They decide to get married. Their parents get involved. However, that’s when Tinni realizes that she doesn’t want to go all the way. So, she unknowingly hires Mickey to help her, and Mickey starts to help her without knowing that she’s Tinni. When the proverbial veil lifts, all kinds of drama ensues.
The writing of “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” is an absolute mess and actively makes the actors feel insufferable because nobody talks in this movie like a normal human being. They give long monologues that, once they begin, never seem to end. It worked for Kartik Aaryan in “Pyaar Ka Punchnama,” yes. That doesn’t mean it’s going to work every time, in every movie, and on every actor. The conversations that are used to establish the “romance” between Mickey and Tinni seem to be an imitation of those “romantic” reels you come across on Instagram, Moj, and TikTok. Mickey and Tinni just throw cringe worthy lines at each other, and after some incessant pestering, they decide they want to spend the rest of their lives together. And since the foundation of that relationship is so flimsy, the following drama that unfolds seems contrived. The “comedy” aspect of this romantic comedy relies mostly on sound effects because neither the jokes nor the comedic situations are all that funny. So, I’m not sure how much effort Rahul and Luv put into making the movie amusing in any sense of the word. In addition to all that, the characters simply lack any depth. They seem like hollow vessels who exist to deliver the movie’s preachy message instead of standing out as memorable human beings.
To be honest, the message of “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” truly surprised me. Usually, Luv Ranjan’s movies are openly misogynistic through and through. But this time, he has repackaged it as traditionalism. People are just catching up with the idea that marriage isn’t the final act of one’s life. As we move towards celebrating the individual first, we have begun to understand the complications that come with marriage conjured up by parents, grandparents and the entire extended family without the romanticized, rose-tinted glasses. However, Luv takes a “trust me, bro” attitude and tells women that not all families are like that. He shows a sugar-coated montage of how accommodating Mickey and his family are, despite them being the opposite of that throughout the film, and calls it a day. Mickey and his family are briefly made to reflect on their obnoxious behavior. That doesn’t matter, though, as they aren’t required to work on it because Tinni decides to be the “ideal wife” anyway. I don’t know if this is just Luv’s perspective on what 21st-century women should do or a reflection of what’s happening in real life, and at this point, I’m too scared to find out.
The filmmaking of “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” is in the gutter. There’s not one interesting bit of camerawork, one engaging piece of editing, one inspirational moment of direction, nothing. Scenes happen. Then the next one happens. And then the movie ends. If these scenes happen indoors, the horror of the unfinished VFX backgrounds isn’t inflicted upon you. As soon as the characters step outside, those unfinished VFX backgrounds are let loose. The performances are barely floating on that gutter. Ranbir and Shraddha don’t have an ounce of chemistry. This is a romantic comedy, mind you, and the leads don’t have any chemistry. Bassi, Kapadia, Boney, Hasleen, Monica, Kaur, Kartik Aaryan (in a cameo), Nushrratt Bharuccha (also in a cameo), and even little Inayat try their best to give this slog of a film some kind of momentum. However, if the material they are working with is weak, how can they possibly turn it into gold? The film does come alive during the song-and-dance sequences. But the questionable costume design and shot choices ruin those as well. So, is there anything worth appreciating in this movie? Yes. The fact that it actually ends after an excruciating 150 minutes instead of leading into another monologue-heavy scene is something that should be applauded.
In conclusion, “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” is one of the worst movies of the year, plain and simple. Romantic comedies used to be the bread and butter of Bollywood. The characters used to be so relatable that we would see ourselves in them. Even if the stakes were low and the story was simple, the feeling of love between the couple used to be strong enough to motivate us to be as romantic as the protagonists. The supporting act used to be so nice that they would come close to eclipsing the work of the leads. Then the songs, the visuals, the locales, etc., would work their magic to make it a cohesive piece of art with the power to transcend all kinds of boundaries. That used to be the standard a few years ago. But in the hands of people like Luv Ranjan, we are only getting the broken and tattered version of such rom-coms. If you are okay with that, by all means, go and watch “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar.” If not, then seek out good rom-coms and champion them so that we don’t have to suffer through another “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” ever again.