While Abhishek maintains a light-hearted demeanor in most settings, he deals with the subject’s hard-hitting truth with empathy and maturity.
Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui Movie Review: Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui is a wonderfully entertaining film that defies clichés.
Critic’s Rating: 4.0/5
Manvinder Munjal, called Manu (Ayushmann Khurrana), is a fitness fanatic who runs a gym and is a bodybuilder who competes year after year for the local championship. While he spends all of his time sweating it out and trying to create a dole-shole for that (with little success), his gym is a ghost town. Until Maanvi Brar (Vaani Kapoor), the gym’s freshly appointed Jhoomba (read: Zumba) teacher, steps in. Sparks fly quickly, and the two are quickly lured into a passionate romance. But Maanvi is more than just a beautiful woman. That is the story’s central theme.
Love stories are, after all, love stories. Boy meets girl, some romance, mush-gush, disagreement, makeup or breakup, and the end of the narrative are the most common themes. Here, too, a male meets a lady, but she has a background (not the cliché affair, marriage, kid out of wedlock, or criminal history) that Manu, despite his machismo, finds difficult to stomach. Without giving too much away (Story Idea ascribed to Simran Sahni), let’s just say Maanvi has defied all odds and ‘transformed’ into the person she’s always wanted to be. Will society and her family accept her for what they deem “not normal” in their very typical world, while she feels free and proud of her new identity, one that is true to her true self?
Abhishek Kapoor, the director, doesn’t waste any time and gets straight to the point. Following an introduction to Manu, his friends, and his family, he takes us into Maanvi’s world, gradually and discreetly exposing her background. While he’s getting us ready for Maanvi’s discoveries, he’s also getting us ready for Manu’s first shock, shock, and terror at learning more about the lady he loves so much. And when the time comes, he handles it deftly, without resorting to excessive drama or theatrics in either acting or words.
While Abhishek maintains a light-hearted demeanour in most settings, he deals with the subject’s hard-hitting truth with empathy and maturity. He lays it all out – people’s crude and outrageous reactions to learning the truth about the subject, our general lack of knowledge and information on a topic that needs to be addressed, and how our society is sharply divided on the concept of being ‘inclusive,’ and allowing everyone the freedom to be who they are and what they want to be. Abhishek accomplishes it deftly, interspersing witty jabs — light and gentle, nothing too heavy-handed. Supratik Sen and Tushar Paranjape deserve credit for their honest and relevant writing and conversation, which can be seen in various moments.
Whether it’s the Munjal family pressuring Manu to marry, his widower father (Girish Dhamija) waiting to marry his Muslim girlfriend, Maanvi’s father (Kanwaljit Singh) being supportive of her choices despite her mother’s strong opposition, or Manu’s overbearing sisters meddling in all of Manu’s affairs, there’s never a dull moment in this film.
The performances are ‘awesome’! Ayushmann Khurrana immerses himself in the role (literally!). Keep an eye on him while he undergoes a metaphysical transformation. He does an excellent job portraying Manu, and the fact that he is a Chandigarh native may have helped him crack it. He dresses the part, walks the part, and speaks the part.
Vaani Kapoor gets her teeth into her character right away and delivers an unreserved performance. Vaani and Ayushmann not only look beautiful together, but they also have a hot on-screen chemistry.
Goutam Sharma and Gourav Sharma (as Manu’s twin pals) are funny, while Aanjjan Srivastav (Manu’s grandpa), Kanwaljit Singh, Tanya Abrol, and Girish Dhamija (as Manu’s grandfather) and Kanwaljit Singh, Tanya Abrol, and Girish Dhamija (as Manu’s grandfather) perform supporting roles admirably.
The set design by Bindiya Chhabria is colourful, and cinematographer Manoj Lobo has captured this odd love story masterfully. The editing of Chandan Arora is excellent. The soundtrack, composed by Sachin-Jigar and with lyrics by Priya Saraiya, Vayu, and IP Singh, propels the story along. Though the Holi song appears unexpectedly, it acts as an excellent catalyst for Manu and Maanvi’s romance to accelerate.
In the post-Covid age, when we’re always wrestling with what’s the new normal, it’s important to dive deep and ask what ‘normal’ actually means. Have we developed our own standards and normality to meet the demands of the few people in the world who are stuck in this false sense of normalcy? Isn’t it past time to change things up a little, go outside of your comfort zone, and break free from stereotypes? Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui does this while still keeping you entertained.