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T-Series Films and Guy In The Sky Pictures’ Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui (UA) is an unusual love story. Manu Munjal (Ayushmann Khurrana) is a body builder in Chandigarh, who lives with his father (Girish Dhamija), two sisters, Preet (Tanya Abrol) and Meet (Sawan Rupowali), and grandfather (Anjan Srivastava). His family is concerned about his marriage but Manu doesn’t seem to like any girl, probably because he is focussed on only winning the body builder championship.

Manu falls in love with Zumba instructor Maanvi Brar (Vaani Kapoor) who teaches Zumba dance to students in Manu’s gymnasium. In a moment of passion, the two even get intimate one day.

All hell breaks loose when Manu gets to know a truth about Maanvi, and he instantly walks out on her, accusing her of having cheated him. By then, his family has approved of Maanvi as his to-be bride. The family freaks out when it is brought to their notice that Manu now doesn’t want to marry Maanvi. Of course, Manu does not tell the family about how he had felt cheated by Maanvi. Soon, the family learns about the same truth which had prompted Manu to leave Maanvi.

What is that truth? Do Manu and Maanvi come together ultimately or do they go their separate ways? What is the family’s stance? What happens to Manu’s body-building?

Abhishek Kapoor, Supratik Sen and Tushar Paranjape have written a story based on a story idea by Simran Sahni. While the idea is good and also novel, the story (written by the trio) and screenplay (by Supratik Sen and Tushar Paranjape) are not. The first negative point of the script is that the sensitive (and novel) point which it tackles has been handled with insensitivity. For example, the manner in which Manu ticks off Maanvi when he feels cheated by her does not behove a hero (which Manu is). Also, the bold track would not be easy for a large section of the audience to digest. Perhaps, because there is a novel track, the writers have gotten so confused that the drama becomes contradictory at times and is loaded with unnecessary scenes at other times. For instance, why Manu has a change of heart about Maanvi after rejecting her, is not explained satisfactorily. The hospital scene in which Maanvi pleads in front of her mother is completely misplaced. For, there is simply no scope for that scene in the tense situation in which Maanvi’s family is at that juncture. Furthermore, why Maanvi’s mother has a change of heart in one night is not clear. What is clear, however, is the feeling that the writers were in a hurry to tie all the loose threads because they did not have better and more convincing ways to do so. There is a point when Maanvi tells Manu that the truth about their relationship is that Manu is not able to digest the reality while Maanvi herself is not able to put an end to the relationship. However, this dialogue does not ring true at all because Maanvi speaks this after deciding and practically ending the relationship. There’s also a scene in which Manu tells Maanvi that he can’t live without her. The scene looks fake because the audience has not been shown anything to suggest that Manu is missing Maanvi. In fact, he actually goes to Maanvi to ask her to tell his family that she is not interested in getting married to Manu. Frankly, even this request by Manu is ill-founded because after ticking her off so badly, how can he even imagine that she would heed his request? Also, Manu’s father telling Manu to get married so that it would clear the decks for his own (father’s) marriage with Tasneem (Leena Sharma) leaves a bad taste in the mouth if only because it underlines the father’s lack of concern for his son. For, what gets underlined is not that he wants Manu to marry Maanvi for his own (Manu’s) good but rather because he is selfishly thinking about himself. The writers may have hoped that the audience would enjoy the humour in the father’s plea but that is not likely to happen. Another point that emerges in this scene when juxtaposed with Manu’s outburst when he gets to know that he has been ‘cheated’ by Maanvi is that while the writers would have the viewers believe that Manu has the mentality of a small-town man, his father (who belongs to an earlier generation) is shown to be far more modern in his thinking. In fact, the father tells Manu that he is very progressive in his thoughts! Manu trying to clear his doubts by talking to a eunuch defeats the very purpose of the forward-thinking script which it sets out to be. What’s worse is the advice which the eunuch offers — it doesn’t address the real issue at all but is more in the nature of defiance of societal norms. The family forgiving Manu in the end (sought to be conveyed by their loud cheering for him), again, does not convey much because the issue of his marriage with Maanvi and his body-building championship are not in the least bit related. Unless, of course, the family believes that Manu wins the championship because of Maanvi’s presence at the match. In other words, the climax, from the family members’ point of view, has no correlation with the crux of the love story.

This is not to say that the screenplay does not have any plus points. The comedy and light moments are quite enjoyable at several places. However, the crux of the story is so insensitively handled that the plus points of the drama pale into insignificance in comparison.

Dialogues (by Supratik Sen and Tushar Paranjape; additional dialogues (Punjabi) by Gaurav Asri) are funny at places but inappropriate at a couple of places.

Ayushmann Khurrana does well but his lack of conviction in the poor script becomes evident in his performance at several places. It is for this reason that a wonderful actor like him is not able to deliver his best. He has worked extremely hard on his physique, and it shows. Vaani Kapoor is very good in a meaty role. She performs well in an author-backed role. She also looks glamorous. Goutam Sharma and Gourav Sharma, as Jomo and Riz respectively, are fairly nice. Girish Dhamija is natural as Manu’s father. Anjan Srivastava has his moments as Manu’s grandfather. Tanya Abrol makes her presence amply felt as Preet. Pawan Rupowali is good in the role of Meet. Abhishek Bajaj looks handsome and acts ably as Sandy. Kanwaljit Singh has his moments as Maanvi’s father. Satwant Kaur is reasonably good as Maanvi’s mother. Tarsem Paul lends nice support as Maanvi’s maternal uncle. Goni Sagoo (as Maanvi’s maternal aunt), Ranjit Punia (as Maanvi’s cousin, Ajit), Leena Sharma (as Tasneem), Yograj Singh (as Guruji), Diljit Sona (as Meet’s husband), Aarav Dua and Anav Dua (both as Preet’s kids), Fiza Lamba (as the doctor), Col. Ravi Sharma (as the doctor), Rose J. Kaur (as the psychiatrist), Karishma Singh (as Akshita), Nary Singh (as Rupa) and the others lend fair support.

Abhishek Kapoor’s direction is quite good. But, of course, the defects in the screenplay are so glaring that part of the blame would have to be shouldered by him too. Sachin-Jigar’s music is good but there is no hit song. Lyrics (Priya Saraiya, Vayu and I.P. Singh) are alright. Caesar Gonsalves’ choreography is nice. Sachin-Jigar’s background music is alright. Manoj Lobo’s cinematography is quite nice. Action scenes (Alan Amin and Vishal Bhargav) are okay. Bindiya Chhabria’s production designing is of a fine standard. Chandan Arora’s editing is fairly sharp.

On the whole, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui is a film with very limited class appeal. Other than that, it will face rejection among the masses and family audiences. In other words, its business only from select multiplexes of the big cities will be fair.

Released on 10-12-’21 at Inox (daily 11 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay thru AA Films. Publicity: fair. Opening: dull. …….Also released all over. Opening was below the mark everywhere.