‘Made in Heaven’ Season 2 starts six months after we left off. Tara (Sobhita Dhulipala) is finalizing her divorce. Karan (Arjun Mathur) is dealing with his mother’s homophobia as the win of legalization is celebrated. Just like Jauhari’s (Vijay Raaz) evaluation of their business, things aren’t great.
The first season found incredible success in using the heavy handed, black and white messages of the weddings to provide clarity in the messy gray lives of our protagonists. Tara confronting her husband after seeing Priyanka (Shweta Tripathi) walk out on hers, or Karan fighting for his own rights after seeing Pooja (Mallika Singh) settle, the weddings were meaningful catalysts. This season, these wedding resolutions work to reframe the villain from Faiza (Kalki Koechlin) to Adil (Jim Sarbh), to shed light on Bulbul’s (Mona Singh) storyline, and to highlight the friction in Jazz’ (an always delightful Shivani Raghuvanshi) romance with Kabir (Shashank Arora). But the new season can’t seem to figure out where our main protagonists – Tara and Karan – are going. There is no major arc, only loops. As a result, the weddings just feel like empty, pointless preaching to make Karan and Tara feel good about bare minimum they are doing in their lives.
This disconnect is especially evident in Karan’s writing, who is stuck in a cycle of drugs, debt, and family trauma. You just see him making bad decisions, looking for love where he can’t find it and denying the love which he has. At the end, when he does confront his situation, we still aren’t sure if he has learnt from his mistakes, or if we’ll see him doing the same things again next season. The issue here isn’t the depiction of Karan as complex, flawed and weak, but the way it’s done feels lazy. Tara’s battle between guilt and self-worth, between morality and justice, doesn’t paint her in a good light either, but her actions don’t feel unjustified.
Luckily, ‘Made In Heaven’ successfully keeps us invested in the new characters: auditor Bulbul Jauhari (Mona Singh), and production head and transwoman Meher Chaudhry (Trinetra Haldar). Some of the writing around them is too on the nose, using them as crutches to make the right points. Thankfully though, those moments are dispersed with scenes like Meher’s parents lovingly nagging her for her lack of cooking skills, or Bulbul’s dynamic with Jazz. ‘Made in Heaven’ shows human dynamics compellingly when it isn’t busy telling us how to behave.
The show may lack in writing, but the visuals are where it shines. The styling, set design, cinematography cover up so many of the flaws. Episode 1, starring Zayn Marie Khan, is a great example of this. The story is about her skin in, and the camera, makeup, lighting show her complexion the dignity it deserves. Never smoothed over or covered to hide imperfections, but still shown beautifully. Episode two uses clothing and makeup to depict how women in abusive relationships cover up the crimes of their partners.
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The wardrobe overall is fantastic. We see Tara repeating a few pieces, opting for more traditional weaves over couture, reflecting her financial position without suggesting any loss of confidence or power. Most designer outfits are pulled from 2019-2020 collections, giving us an idea of the show’s timeline. This smart, deliberate styling, like putting Elnaaz Norouzi in a Manish Malhotra sari at a Bollywood wedding, adds so much to the narrative of each episode.
The guest cast is perfect. Siddhant Karnick and Mrunal Thakur put in spectacular performances in the season’s toughest watch. Diya Mirza and Radhika Apte both embody different depictions of the courage and self-doubt involved in fighting for ourselves. Sarah Jane Dias wraps up the show with such refreshing, unjaded sincerity, you can’t help but smile.
There are so many details to appreciate in the second season of ‘Made in Heaven’ if you have the patience to ignore the virtue signaling. In the first season, Karan tells Tara, “For once, I just want us to do our job. Design, venue, catering.” I wish he felt the same way this season too. Maybe then ‘Made in Heaven’ would have less “tell” and more “show”.