Abhishek Kapoor's Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Vaani Kapoor is a pat-on-the-back commercial attempt that's still miles away from portraying real trans issues.
Talking about transsexuality and raising awareness about the trans community to a larger set of people is very much the need of the hour but it's also a very sensitive topic that needs to be handled delicately. One wrong step takes us all the way back into a stereotypical world that we were already living in. With Laxmii, Bollywood had attempted to give representation to the queer community in a commercial zone but failed at it miserably. But Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui by Abhishek Kapoor makes for a great attempt of representing the trans community in a commercial set-up. With efforts and heart at the right place, unfortunately, the movie still doesn't go beyond packing a transwoman in a cliche Bollywood romance. Or simply put, is too good to be true and ends up being a rom-com.
The film follows the story of Manu Munjal (Ayushmann Khurrana), a bodybuilder who runs on a keto diet and protein shakes. While running a small gym, 'Jatts Flex It' with his friends and twin brothers, Riz and Jomo, his main focus is beating his rival, Sandy in G.O.A.T (Gabru of All Time). But his life turns upside down when a hot Zumba trainer, Maanvi (Vaani Kapoor) comes into the picture. The story is your everyday rom-com, ever-so-stylish introductions, some meet-cutes, falling in love in two songs, coming across a crisis and then dealing with the said crisis, coming to a resolution and a happy end. So what's so really different and unique about this film? We get to see a trans woman as the subject of romance for the first time ever in a standard Bollywood rom-com!
The film is no doubt a conversation starter on a much larger scale but it doesn't really go beyond that. Yes, a trans woman is shown in a pivotal role and of course, her struggle with the world is mentioned but somehow the way the film finds the solution to all its problems seems rather unbelievable. We get that the main protagonist of the film is society's and cis-het male's perception of the trans community which is very well explained through Manu's heavily built character. But dissecting the trans community into two like either you are a pill-popping, looking like a supermodel trans woman, or you're a well-educated transgender on the street doesn't seem fair. But on another front, the soft touches like Maanvi always stopping to look in a mirror, the internal battle she faced while meeting a transgender, the sex reassignment surgery explanation, and a homage to real trans women explaining their struggle, is what makes the film actually worth watching!
Ideally, a trans woman playing the role would have made much more sense, nevertheless Vaani's nuanced acting aces the film, and as usual, Ayushmann is incredible with his heavy-built body of a Gabru. But the film kind of leaves you in two minds. While we're happy to see the representation of the trans community which isn't stereotyped, we would've loved for the plot to be something more. Leave it up to the ever-so-charming, Ayushmann Khuarrana to be the conversation starter in every home, yet again with Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui!
But that’s enough from us, let’s see what the janta is saying about Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui!
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