Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui Review: Humorous, sensitive and unconventional
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Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui Review: Humorous, sensitive and unconventional

The film explores a love story between a man and a woman from the LGBTQ community in Chandigarh

Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui Review: Humorous, sensitive and unconventional

Right from its trailer, one could not understand "What is the problem". Perhaps, this is where our understanding of the gender spectrum lies. Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui is directed by Abhishek Kapoor who is known for films such as Kai Po Che and Rock On. The film starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Vani Kapoor does not claim to be a social issue film. Yet in its 21st-century fun frolic way, explores ‘a mind bending’ love story between a man and a woman from the LGBTQ community in the closely-knit neighbourhoods of Chandigarh.

The movie has all the elements that make for a perfect entertainment film- relatability, peppy numbers, chiseled bodies, and finally, a tournament. Ayushmann Khurrana who has become the brand ambassador of socially relevant films told with humor, plays Manvinder aka Manu, an aspiring bodybuilder who is tired of standing second in all his competitions. Life at once becomes rosy for him as he meets Maanvi (Vani Kapoor), a gorgeous Zumba teacher. The two hit it off soon in a film that progresses quickly. Their chemistry is sensitive and sensual.

Ayushmann Khurana and Vaani Kapoor in Chnadigarh Kare Aashiqui

However, things get topsy turvy when she reveals to him that she is a trans woman. The film then attempts to reveal society’s resistance in accepting assigned gender identity. The man who had fallen for her and said, “Tu sabse juda hai '' now feels angry and cheated. We slowly see society's hypocrisy portrayed unabashedly.

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Our hero itself is a very traditional man who was, in his defence, taught little about gender. Despite being insecure in his personal life, he enjoys the privilege of being a heterosexual male. His widowed father, played with grace by Girish Dhamijia, wants his son to get married so that he could marry his Muslim girlfriend Tasneem. His sisters who initially loved Maanvi and referred to her as a 'high society- Sector 4, Gucci, Armani' kind girl become hostile towards her after learning her identity.

A strong ensemble cast keep the film entertaining 

What brings the emotional anchor in the film is the portrayal of Maanvi, played with fierce conviction by Vani Kapoor. Maanvi is a trans woman making her way through struggles. Manvi’s mother despises her, her extended family looks down with shame at her, and outcasts her at family functions. Amidst this, her father Kanwaljit Singh is her only rock. These details make the story poignant.

The film does not shy away from showing how society uses words like kinnar, hijra as abuses. It is also worth praising that it makes an effort to create awareness about the trans community and their struggles. Through Manu, the audience also learns a lesson in gender awareness along the way.

Yet, dialogue and screenplay writers Supratik Sen and Tushar Paranjape ensure that no scene is loaded to an extent that it becomes preachy. Humour is the weapon here. Even the most intense scenes are quickly neutralized by a light-hearted joke. The dialogue is built of situational comedy revealing a relatable and honest texture of Chandigarh society. The film’s music made up of a zesty party song Kheech te Nach and an emotional song Maafi by Ayushmann keeps the 117-minute film entertaining.

There are tiny moments when the audience feels the movie is simply showing what we had gathered in the trailer and is losing depth, this is compensated by scenes that work and ideas that stay in the mind.

The celebratory climax of the film holds the risk of being called a cliche. Yet, this is Bollywood. Plot twists in a romantic film no matter how predictable make us excited. We are used to cliches and dramatized endings. And if used for a good intention such as here, are a win for all. In the end, we shed a happy tear with a smile before leaving the theatre.