How Zoya Akhtar’s Made in Heaven Shatters the Myth of the Bollywood Vivah

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How Zoya Akhtar’s Made in Heaven Shatters the Myth of the Bollywood Vivah

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

T

he quote “Marriages are made in heaven” is attributed to English writer and playwright John Lyly. But if there’s a country that has followed the saying like scripture, it would be India. None more so than Bollywood, a collective so perversely in awe of the ceremonial theatrics of a marriage, that it has rarely attempted to look beyond its one-night splendour. But Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti’s Made in Heaven is having none of that.

I faintly remember watching Hum Aapke Hain Kaun..! at Chandigarh’s iconic Piccadily theatre as a kid, surveying middle-aged men and women exfoliate their tear glands at every plot twist at this Sooraj Barjatya-sponsored marriage porn. Even though, I was scarred back then, it’s not hard to discern why it would elicit such reactions. At its peak in the ’90s, marriage in Hindi cinema was part-climax and part-catharsis – a natural end to the human condition that manifested either in romantic triangles or heroic struggles. It was never a compromise; always an aspirational hard-fleshed idea that was the culmination of our want and will.

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