Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui

As the title suggests, this Chandigarh-based movie is about Maanvi and Manu Munjal falling in love, but their romance is not without its own set of challenges and bravery. Ayushmann Khurana and Vaani Kapoor are the film’s main actors, and Abhishek Kapoor is the director. It became available on December 10, 2021, and is now available to stream on Netflix.

While Manu, a bodybuilder and gym co-owner, is seen working hard to win a competition, Manvi enters the gym to begin her training as a zumba coach. Manu becomes intensely drawn to her over the course of a few days, and they end up having sex several times. Maanvi reveals details of her past that were too upsetting for her during one of these hookups, but she still finds the strength to tell Manu that she was not born in her body and that she had transgender experience. He assumes Maanvi is joking when she does this and shows him some of her older photos. In response to Maanvi’s focus, Manu becomes enraged and repeatedly asks, “Maanvi, tu ladka hai?” 

The usual mirroring of a cis gender heterosexual man accusing a transgender girl of seducing him for sex occurs next. Many transphobic slurs, including “chakka,” are used in the movie to refer to Maanvi, though not by Manu, but rather by his pals. Because a part of him still does not feel comfortable with her suffering, he prevents them from calling her that. Maanvi and her father appear to get along well, but her mother hasn’t yet welcomed her. We wished we had seen more of Maanvi’s upbringing and struggles in order to get where she is. As Maanvi’s buddy, the movie also presents a potential lesbian, non-binary, or both character (when you don’t know a person’s gender, it’s best to inquire or leave rather than assuming). She was introduced quite later in the film. 

Manu watches a few videos on YouTube by women who have travelled the same journey as Maanvi and learns about the sex reassignment surgery as well as Maanvi’s struggle with gender identification. He still isn’t ready to accept her, and to make matters worse, when his family learns about Maanvi, all of their admiration for her turns to contempt. In fact, one of the key culprits for Maanvi’s shaming, which quickly went viral, was his sisters.

Manu tries to meet a member of the transgender community as well. She tells him that love is love and that as long as a relationship is true to both parties, it shouldn’t matter what a person’s label is. The LGBTQIA+ community criticised the movie a lot, although some also showed their support. It didn’t match the narrative for a transgender character to be portrayed by a cisgender, heterosexual female. Despite the fact that it was an endeavour in the correct direction, representation is still crucial. In other scenes, Maanvi’s suffering is palpable, and occasionally, we catch her using the incorrect terminology—”Soch maine kya katwaya hai.” wasn’t the appropriate way to refer to sex reassignment surgery, where the actual trans person’s life experiences are described. Manu’s dealing with the trans identity of Maanvi takes more cake than Maanvi’s real struggles. Passability is yet another concern about the movie. Vaani Kapoor passes as a cisgender woman and that’s also setting it a standard idea to look at transwomen. Manu’s remark that he has always known Maanvi and never her past and which is why he shouldn’t be bothered about it, makes it worse for cis hets to look at trans people for their ‘final’ persona. We wonder what if he found and loved her inner woman despite her position in her journey of transition. 

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