Manu Munjal, a body builder who co-owns a gym with his friends falls in love with their new Zumba teacher Maanvi Brar. The new girl in town seems to be perfect in every way, so much so that Manu’s entire family cheers for the two to date. But Maanvi has a secret – she used to be Manu too, Manu Brar.
Contrary to assumptions, the 2021 film ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Vaani Kapoor isn’t ‘transphobic’. If anything, director Abhishek Kapoor promotes trans-positivity in the movie, in typical Bollywood fashion of-course; but better than most of us expected. That Maanvi is a trans-girl isn’t dropped like a bomb at the climax, instead, her identity is well laid out right from her introduction scene, where she is shown putting on make-up and popping pills (estrogen pills most likely). And Maanvi at no point is apologetic about her trans identity.
Vaani Kapoor is brilliant in capturing the nuances of a trans-woman fighting hard for acceptance from her near and dear ones. At no point does she reduce her character to a caricature of sorts, something that we are so used to seeing with trans characters in Bollywood films. Khurrana on the other hand seems straight of a Chandigarh gym. He smoothly slips into the skin of the bulking Manu Munjal, who has a hard time seeing life beyond his biceps. In-fact, one wonders why an intelligent girl like Maanvi has to settle for him. Even though some characters in the story seem to consider her ‘lesser than’ others, because she is trans.
I liked how they showed Maanvi’s father (Kanwaljit Singh in a small cameo) to be the more supportive parent than the mom. It was just a nice change to not have the mother on a high pedestal, even though the dad isn’t exactly a role model. There were a few sub-plots that seemed unnecessary, but would probably be amusing for most viewers. The first half is light, fun and entertaining, while things gets a little too ‘filmy’ towards the second-half. You have a cheesy predicable ending, however it’s pretty much on par with most modern day romantic comedies.
It’s a 7/10 from me.
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