By Pallavi Patra
Are you a fan of love triangles? If so, here’s a flick you can add to your bucket list this month. But hey, hold on. This isn’t your regular girl-boy-girl or guy-girl-guy love triangle. It is rather a hatke Punjabi-style tadka that will surely touch your hearts, and stir your souls. So, this is a love triangle, between…Manu (Vaani Kapoor), Maanvi (Vaani Kapoor), and Manvinder (Ayushmann Khurrana)…Confused? Well, welcome to ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’—a refreshed look into new-age romance.
Manu (Ayushmann Khurrana)—the owner of a gym in Chandigarh has two aims in life. To be a champion of an annual bodybuilder’s competition called ‘G.O.A.T’ and find a suitable girl to settle down with. He is also trying hard to get customers to his gym, which is when a new Zumba instructor named Maanvi (Vaani Kapoor) makes a stylish entry. She’s classy, smart, and everything else to grab the eyeballs of the boys in gym.
At one point, when Manu breaks his nose during a workout session, it is Maanvi who takes him to a hospitaland then drops him home. As we could see, the dashing duo isalready feeling the love vibes by this point. And the romantic currents are palpable. Even Manu’s family (a group of quirky and dysfunctional individuals)—are impressed by his female colleague.
As the movie progresses, we come across instances that come as pleasant surprises. The fluidity of gender and thedelicate LGBTIQ nuances are deftly portrayed first when we know that Maanvi’s best friend is gay, and second when we are stumped by another twist (no spoilers, okay). There are scenes where you’d hate the lead actors and then there are some that would make you fall in love with them, too.
Ample of subtle subjects are explored in a span of a few hours. What’s more important is, the movie traverses the tricky waters of sexual orientation very carefully, and sensitively making even the audience utter Manu’s own words….’KataLaga toh Laga…(love is love!)’
After all, ‘what’s in a name’, right?
So what’s new in ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’? Is it our run-of-the-mill movie tracing youngsters doing aashiqui or something totally new to the eyes, and experience? Well, that one is sure for the ones who haven’t seen the movie to find out. Director Abhishek Kapoor is certainly known for showcasing refreshing coming-of-age stories, but this one is a real revelation.
The movie explores themes we are not very used to in Bollywood, and that itself makes ‘Chandigarh KareAashiqui’—a sweet and thought-provoking departure from the mundane. It is not just another love story. It is a love story with questions, answers, and more questions for the viewers in the end. It makes us ask ourselves, what would we do, had we been in the lead actors’ shoes? Would we let go of love, because it didn’t fit into some acceptable idea of ‘romance’, or would we be brave enough to seek love, no matter what? Do we stop loving someone, if he/she isn’t who we think they are, or do we let our love transcend the boundaries of what ‘ought to’ be.
After all, feelings and emotions are things beyond our control and we hardly bother about how society defines what is ‘normal’. So, then what is ‘normal’ exactly? As Manu (Ayushmann), blurts out in one of the scenes, ‘to hell with ‘normal’’.
Like every love story, ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ takes us through some sweet beginnings, sad twists, and never forgets to throw in some jokes every here and there. But what it does most importantly is make us ponder, make us feel. SupratikSen and Tushar Paranjpe’s screenplay keeps it simple without making the story feel rushed or forced.
Ayushmann has done a wonderful job, no doubt. His ‘beefed-up’ look brought out the most ‘masculine’ version of him, as this character aimed to do. But what’s all the more praise-worthy is the finesse with which Vaani Kapoor met the expectations of her role. And the two characters fused and fizzled so finely, almost like watching a real couple going through the ups and downs of a relationship. While some may not gel well with the dominant themes in the movie, the movie is here to stay in the hearts of many for a long time. If you have someone around who fails to see through this welcoming love story, do not forget to repeat as Manu quipped to his father, ‘Jao papa…ji lo apni zindagi…’
FF Ratings: ****