'Made in Heaven season 2' review: Creating a big-fat-Indian web series

Neeraj Ghaywan, the new creative entrant in the series’ latest season, interjects with an anecdote.
Made in Heaven Season 2
Made in Heaven Season 2

In 2019 when it premiered, the pilot episode of Made in Heaven took us into the shallow, glitzy realm of Indian marriages. It also gave us a taste into the dog-eat-dog world of Delhi society. The episode concludes with the bride agreeing to tie the knot, despite her in-laws putting up a private detective on her. Understandable.

The groom’s net worth is D5,000 crore. “…An outsider has clawed her way into the inside,” says the series’ moral-spewer Kabir (Shashank Arora), in a voiceover. “But only time will tell if she gets accepted. Till then, welcome to Delhi.” 

Also Read: ​Made In Heaven star Jim Sarbh reveals his montage of moods

Dynamic, volatile and flavour of the season, Jim lets us in into his artistic pursuits, androgynous style and the biggest life learnings

“So much of Made in Heaven comes from my knowledge of this city,” says the show’s writer and director Alankrita Shrivastava, who grew up in the capital and studied filmmaking at the central Jamia Millia Islamia University. “Delhi is a city where power is at the centre of everything. Not just money power but also political clout. Here, you are constantly asked where you live and what your father does.”

Neeraj Ghaywan, the new creative entrant in the series’ latest season, interjects with an anecdote. “Back in my corporate days, I was once recruiting in Delhi. This one applicant calls me and asks where he can park his ‘Esteem’. The fact that he couldn’t say ‘car’ without telling me its brand name says so much about the city.”

On the surface, Made in Heaven is a story of two wedding planners: Tara Khanna (Sobhita Dhulipala) and Karan Mehra (Arjun Mathur) and how they mitigate the messiness of marriages. At the core, it is about two outsiders, scratching their nails on the door to get to the inside. The recently-released second season sees Tara rebuilding her life while negotiating a divorce with her husband Adil (Jim Sarbh). 

“She undergoes an identity transformation of sorts,” says Sobhita. “Her wings are opening up but it is happening at a cost.” Towards the climax, Sobhita’s Tara ends up owning a mansion. Alankrita adds“It’s a remarkable journey. In Delhi, it’s not easy to jump class.”

Also Read: Elnaaz Norouzi shines in a Manish Malhotra ensemble at Made in Heaven 2 launch

This season sees Tara being more assertive and unapologetic. She even seduces and manipulates her soon-to-be ex-husband to flip the terms of their divorce settlement. “She is a terrific fire,” says Sobhita. “But it is this greyness that makes her human.” In the last installment, the image that stuck with audiences was Tara, draped in gold jewellery, lounging in a bathtub as she vainly smokes a cigarette. It was a moment that completely turned the ‘gold digger’ stereotype on its head. “That scene was the definition of who she is and what she desires,” says Alankrita. “As a writer, I had no judgment in creating Tara as a character who just wants more from life.” “One could be intimidated by her for sure,” adds Sobhita. 

‘Most of Made in Heaven comes from my knowledge of Delhi’
Bigger, blingier
The creators weren’t willing to compromise on their vision for season 2, even when the pandemic hampered the creative process. “The second wave ended up disrupting our scheduling and our production logistics,” says Alankrita. “We were still willing to wait.” Sharing insights into how they envisioned season 2, she says, “We definitely wanted to scale up. Bigger weddings, more of a guest cast.”

They bagged an eclectic mix. In this season, there is Mrunal Thakur, Radhika Apte, Dia Mirza, Shibani Dandekar, Sanjay Kapoor, Samir Soni, Neelam Kothari and endearing cameos by fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee and director Anurag Kashyap. “I think a lot of people came on the show because they really liked season 1,” says Alankrita. “They just wanted to be a part of it. We got lucky, I guess.”

Also Read: ‘It was a joy to play a character where the sense of self worth was not tied up to wealth or power’

A new creator on-board
At first glance, director Neeraj Ghaywan, known for Masaan (2015) and Sacred Games (2018), might seem mismatched in the world of Made in Heaven. “I was a bit apprehensive when I was approached,” shares Neeraj. “Atleast, with respect to the aesthetics and the technicality of it, the series was different from something I had ever done before. It was a challenge, I wanted to get my teeth in.”

Neeraj has directed two episodes in season 2: the third one, starring Sanjay Kapoor, Neelam Kothari and Samir Soni, a cheeky reunion of the stars of Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives (2020), and the widely-being-talked-about Episode 5, featuring Radhika Apte exchanging vows at a Dalit Buddhist wedding. “There were some episodes where we thought it would be nice to have Neeraj on-board,” says Alankrita. “A lot of people might look at our director list (Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar, Alankrita Shrivastava, Nitya Mehra and Neeraj Ghaywan) and think oh, “too many cooks” but it has been a smooth sail.”Neeraj agrees: “I vibe very well with all the writers. Our worldviews are similar, so that helps.”

Also Read: With Made in Heaven 2, Reema Kagti & Zoya Akhtar ace their content!

The perfect wedding
Apart from widening the creator pool, this season also saw the weddings becoming grander, more vibrant and one even takes place in France. “I think the perfect wedding is the most difficult to shoot,” says Neeraj. “You have a set of 300 people and to get it all together in a day can be challenging. But it was still absolutely fun.”

That way, weddings, and film sets are quite similar. Although there are a lot of things that should be in sync on a set, what is something that can’t go wrong in both weddings and film sets? Alankrita and 
Neeraj speaks over each other: “The food!”

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