3.5 / 5
Sparks fly when bodybuilder Manavinder “Manu” Munjal (Ayushman Khurana) and Zumba teacher Manvi Brar (Bani Kapoor) meet at his gym. He smitted by his high class politeness. He has no problem with his government school background. He has a simple Punjabi family, consisting of two influential sisters, a father who falls in love with a Muslim woman and a grandfather who is the purest of them all. He got along well with his ex-brigadier’s father but did not get along with his mother. Their bond grows out of lust and attraction. They are made for each other. Then, it turns out that she’s a trans woman, and suddenly not everything is the same. It takes a long time to understand that love transcends the body, transcends sex, rules, and does not require external validity.
There is a Marathi film called Natarang (2010) in which Atul Kulkarni plays a wrestler who falls in love with the art of comedy and becomes a dancer – a character who plays a subtle role for the love of art. He has to suffer a lot because of his choice but never deviates from his passion. The film questions the rules of masculinity and attempts are made to do the same here. Bani Kapoor’s character was born as a man but always felt like a woman from within. He underwent gender reassignment surgery and became physically fit. He has been shown as an army kid. His mother, his family avoids him. His father, a former brigadier, is shown as his only pillar of support. We all know how much the Army puts a premium on alpha masculinity so it’s great to see an Army dad be so helpful. The other man in his life is a wrestler who is also an alpha man. He is the one who took part in the Gabru of the Year competition. At first, he lives in denial but later educates himself about sexual fluidity and realizes that nothing should stand in the way of love. This again is a really strong statement. We all aspire for inclusion, for acceptance, but it should not come at the cost of self-esteem. The heroine insists that she can fight her own battle. He does not need anyone’s support. Those who do not surrender to the rules fight for their faith all their lives and no one else can fight for them in this war.
We grew up believing in certain rules about sex. We have been given the condition to avoid what is not normal. It’s only recently that the boundaries of what is normal have become blurred and people have begun to question the set belief. It will take a long time to bring penis fluidity into the mainstream. Probably a factor as to why they’re doing so poorly. The film manages to entertain as well as inform. Director Abhishek Kapoor gratefully did not take the road of publicity and offered a lot in the way of mass entertainment in the hope that somewhere in all this, what he was actually trying to say could also be heard.
This is actually a sensitive issue and something that has not been explored in any commercial Hindi film before. Fortunately, his lead actors understand his point of view and try their best to invest in it. Bani Kapoor, who has so far been cast in the role of Arm-Candy, has made a revelation in the film. Playing the role of a trans woman is a bold move for her. He gets the rhythm of his character. You can see the strengths and weaknesses of human beings in their gestures, in their eyes, in their expressions. She is normal in front of the camera and therefore should be more selective in her choice of films and directors. Ayushman Khurana has become the poster boy for the reason-based movie. He knows this and digs a self-deprecating self in the film, saying that he has become extra in his own film. He invests Macho Manu in the right amount of aggression and his ‘learning’ about the new normal is slow and not abrupt. His character’s anger, self-doubt is well revealed. This depiction is another fine feather in his cap.
Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui starts a conversation on a forbidden subject and it takes a huge heart and a lot of courage to make such a leap of faith. Abhishek Kapoor, bow to try that and give Ayushman and Bani all their films. The film manages to entertain as well as inform.
Trailer: Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui