With the rapid advent of OTT platforms in this pandemic, we all have become glued to them. This glue stuck me to Netflix and made me watch Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui. The movie opens up the discussion of a sensitive topic with a view of mass entertainment.
Our mythology is dotted with gender-fluid tales, and our laws have begun to respect sexual diversity. However, our mainstream Hindi cinema continues to narrate love stories that are as ramrod-straight as Manu Munjal, the protagonist. Mostly, boy-meets-girl, some romance, mush-gush, conflict, makeup or breakup, and end of the story. Well here, boy does meet girl, too, but she has a past, that becomes hard for Manu, with all his machismo, to bear. Maanvi has courageously battled all odds, and ‘transformed’ into a new person, someone she has always pined to be. She feels liberated and is proud of her new identity, one that’s true to her real self. But unfortunately, she is ‘not normal’ in society’s very normal world.
Director, Abhisekh Kapoor maintains light-hearted humour in most situations. But, to be honest, humour hasn’t to be a tool for relief background while saying to empower a community. A representation of a fact can still be made without conflicting humour. The statement made by many to his friends when asked ‘Where did you do it from?’ to him replying ‘jahan see sab karte hain’. The construction of this joke is just not acceptable; it is degrading and triggering. Also, the repeated use of the word ‘chakka’ is very demeaning. Further, Manu’s sisters’ comments ‘ab Munjal House mein ek kinnar bahu ban ke aayega’, clearly reflects how the society is not ready to accept someone’s identity.
In a post-Covid era, where we are grappling with what’s the new normal every day of our lives, it’s time we dig deep and question what is ‘normal’; really. Moreover, have we self-created norms and normalcy, to feed the needs of few in the world who are trapped in this false sense of what is normal? Isn’t it time to shake things up a bit, move out of the comfort zone and break the shackles of stereotypes? Well, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui does that.