Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui Movie Review

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critic’s rating: 



3.5/5

Sparks fly when bodybuilder Manvinder “Manu” Munjal (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Zumba teacher Maanvi Brar (Vaani Kapoor), meet at his gym. He’s smitten by her upper class poise. She has no problems with his government school background. He has the typical loud Punjabi family, comprising two dominating sisters, a father who is in love with a Muslim woman and a grandfather who is the sanest of them all. She gets along well with her ex-Brigadier father but doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the mother. Their bond starts growing beyond lust and attraction. They seem to be made for each other. Then, it gets revealed that she’s a trans woman, and suddenly everything isn’t the same. It takes a long time for him to figure out that love transcends bodies, transcends gender, norms and it doesn’t need outside validation…

There’s a Marathi film called Natarang (2010), where Atul Kulkarni plays a wrestler who falls in love with the tamasha art form and becomes a nachya – a character who acts in an effeminate manner – for the love of art. He has to suffer a lot because of his choice but never deviates from his passion. The film questioned the set norms of masculinity and something like that is attempted here as well. Vaani Kapoor’s character is born a man but always felt like a woman from the inside. She goes through sex change operation and becomes one physically as well. She’s shown to be an army kid. Her mother, her family shuns her. Her father, an ex-brigadier, is shown to be her only pillar of support. We all know how much premium is put on alpha masculinity by the army so it’s great to see an army dad being so supportive. The other man in her life is a pehalwan who is again an alpha male. He’s someone who takes part in Gabru of the Year competitions. At first, he does live in denial but later educates himself about gender fluidity And comes to understand that nothing should stand in the way of love. This again is a powerful statement indeed. We all crave for inclusivity, for acceptance, but that shouldn’t come at the cost of self-respect. The heroine forcefully says she can fight her own battles. She doesn’t need anyone’s support for that. People who don’t surrender to norms battle for their beliefs all their lives and no one else can fight this battle for them. 

We’ve been brought up to believe in certain set norms about gender, about sexuality. We’ve been conditioned to shun what’s not normal. It’s only recently that the boundaries of what normal is are blurring and people have started questioning set beliefs. It’ll take a long time to bring gender fluidity into the mainstream. Perhaps because of that, the film starts off as a comedy, drifts into being a rom com, segues into drama and ends up like a sports film. Director Abhishek Kapoor thankfully hasn’t taken the preachy road and offers much in the way of massy entertainment in the hope that somewhere amidst it all, what he’s actually trying to say will be heard as well. 

It’s a sensitive subject indeed and something which hasn’t been explored before in a commercial Hindi film. Thankfully, his lead actors have understood his vision and have done their best to invest in it. Vaani Kapoor, who has been relegated to doing arm-candy roles so far, has been a revelation in the film. It’s a bold move on her part to play a trans woman. She gets the sur – the rhythm – of her character down pat. You can see both the strength and vulnerability of Maanvi in her gestures, in her eyes, in her expressions. She’s a natural in front of the camera and therefore should be more selective in her choice of films and directors. Ayushmann Khurrana has become the poster boy of cause-based cinema. He kind of knows that and takes a self-depreciating dig at himself in the film, saying he has become an extra in his own film. He invests the macho Manu with the right amount of aggression and his ‘education’ about the new normal is gradual and not sudden. The angst, the self-doubts of his character are well brought out. This portrayal is another fine feather in his cap. 

Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui is a conversation starter about a taboo subject and it takes a large heart and enormous amounts of guts to take such a leap of faith. Take a bow, Abhishek Kapoor, for attempting that and Ayushmann and Vaani for giving their all to the film. The film isn’t without flaws but what it’s aiming at is such a huge thing that one would be wise to ignore them…

Trailer : Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui

Author: desi123

Desi123.com is an online news portal that aims to provide the latest trendy news for Asians living in Asia and around the World.

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