Released on Amazon Prime Video in 2019, “Made In Heaven” was produced by Excel Entertainment and the story journals the lives of Tara and Karan. Set in Delhi before Section 377 was read down, the queer side of the story revolves around Karan (played by Arjun Mathur), who is out about his identity as gay to most people, except his father and landlord. Tara and Karan are two Delhi-based wedding planners who run an event planning agency named Made in Heaven. The series stars Arjun Mathur, Sobhita Dhulipala, Jim Sarbh, Shashank Arora, and Kalki Koechlin.
Probably, India’s first non stereotypical mainstream show that spoke about homosexuality, and not in bits but as a whole. Rarely, do we see gay characters in positions of power and everyone surrounding them never making it about their sexuality. We see Karan getting embarrassed at the hands of a police officer and threatening to bribe him, but none of these things matter much to him given his privilege and mastery in swiftly surviving these situations.
As we dive deep into his character, we see the childhood bullying and trauma accompanied by loneliness and the separation from his partner at the hands of his batchmates and his mother, the dilemma of what to choose surfaces clearly. Whatever Karan does, it has to be completely hidden. The relationships that he forms with other people remain restricted to only physical flings. He purposely pushes people out to not get too close to him romantically. Between survival and thrival, he has to choose survival.
The moment the story zooms into the landlord’s character, we see the helplessness and lack of choice given to him. The aching kind of loneliness and suffocation of being trapped in a heterosexual marriage and having a daughter out of it to please the world. We are angry at him when he fixes the camera in Karan’s room, but the tears in his eyes when he confesses to Karan that he is brave, melts us. Sure, that was a breach of privacy, but the world was never just to him either.
Karan’s mother had reservations about his sexuality. She knew it all but she wanted to provide everything that she could so as for Karan to be ‘normal’ and ‘happy’ apart from acceptance. Karan’s father, who we see in the beginning as not very sure of his son’s business ideas, shines when Karan’s identity is out. While the audience was expecting a regressive reaction from the father, he pleasantly surprises the viewers. Of course, the reaction wasn’t all gold but there seemed an effort to understand his child.
Tara’s relationship with Karan comes out beautifully when she hugs him despite him saying, “I am filthy” after having spent two nights in jail and she responds, “I don’t care.” She left no stone unturned to get him out of jail. The sexual assault by the police officer mirrors how the world look at the LGBTQIA+ community. Karan’s refusal to the police officer’s ‘blowjob’ proposal led to him getting beaten up. So, it was a do or die situation for him.
In the story, the arrest was a turning point for Karan because by now he had realised that Section 377 came under a non-bailable offence and that it was his power and privilege which helped him sail these tough waters. His decision to speak about it fearlessly makes us wonder the kind of breaking that his heart must have been through time and again.
To escape bullying and the fear of being out he even sidelines his boyfriend and denies his love for him. The only way he could have escaped this by becoming a part of the bully group. He paid a price for something as magical as love. There comes a point where he meets his ex boyfriend again and they share an intimate moment when the lights turn red and they are sitting in a bathtub where Nawab says, “I can’t believe I’ve hated you for so long.” to which Karan replies, “I can’t believe I’ve loved only you.” As a viewer, I was left with questions as to how things would have turned out for them if the world around us wasn’t heteronormative?
The climax scene sees some religious extremist groups breaking everything that Karan and Tara had created at ‘Made in Heaven’ with a clear display of their mindsets as the walls read some commonly used homophobic slurs.
As a final and significant note, the series “Made In Heaven” proved to give us a detailed insight into the life of a homosexual person in India. Karan’s mannersims weren’t shown ‘feminine’ as opposed to the usual stereotype and this should be clear enough for us to understand that sexuality has got nothing to do with gender expression. The show is renewed for a second season and is scheduled to be out in 2022, so be sure to catch it on Amazon Prime!