Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar Review: What’s A Girl Gotta Do To Get A Luv Ranjan Rom-Com That Doesn’t Hate Women?

Tu Sexist, Main Bored!
Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar Review: What’s A Girl Gotta Do To Get A Luv Ranjan Rom-Com That Doesn’t Hate Women?

I know, I know. You’re going to say I should’ve expected this. As a Luv Ranjan movie, the Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor starrer does have a genetic predisposition to just accidentally slipping and falling into vilifying its female leads. I still went into Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar, on the eve of International Women’s Day, looking forward to having a good time. Did I, though? I won’t lie, some parts I did enjoy. Many of its non-sexist punchlines land spectacularly, RK and Shraddha are breathtakingly stunning in every frame, and the conflict at the centre of this film, about lack of personal space in Indian families, is actually a very legit one. But like the frog and scorpion fable that’s being quoted ad nauseam in every second film, making its female lead seem dumb and unreasonable is an inherent character of the Luv Ranjan rom-com universe.

 

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But chalo, this is a folly expected of TJMM. (Nobody gave it garbh sanskaar to respect women, I guess?) How to forgive its annoying and boring first half, though? Mikki (RK), a second-generation businessman and raja beta from Delhi has a side hustle of inducing tears-free breakups. On a bachelor’s trip to Spain for his best friend, Dabas (Abhinav Singh Bassi), they are joined by Dabas’ fiancé, and her bestie, Tinni (Shraddha Kapoor). Surprise Surprise, Mikki and Tinni, apparently BFFs to the bride and groom, have never met before, or seen each other, in this day and age of Instagram. And for Mikki it is pyaar at first sight. Abandon logic, ye who enter.

Mikki happily ditches his cold-feet-catching BFF, to chill with Tinni, falls hard in love, and after several migraine-inducing monologues from Mikki (salvaged only by Ranbir Kapoor’s hilarious expressions while delivering them), Tinni says yes. Cut to, a meeting with Mikki’s boisterous but loving Punjabi family who’re like children on Christmas morning around Tinni. They smother her, she wants to run, and well, you can watch the rest for yourself.

Instead of spending so much time in Spain, and giving us Tamasha callbacks in the first half, TJMM could’ve spent more time focusing on the pain of a breakup between a couple that clearly loves each other too much but cannot be together because they want different things in life in the second. What we do get is an Arijit Singh song (Bedardeya) montage of how this couple processed their breakup, with the career-driven girl drinking and partying in every frame, and the adarsh boy going to work, spending time with family, and being a good friend. Erm… okay message received.

What’s worse, is the very next minute, Mikki and Tinni (both such bad friends, I cannot even begin to talk about it!) make their friend’s godbharaai ceremony all about themselves, dancing and making flirty eyes, as if they didn’t just break their engagement days ago. The shocking thing is, this can actually happen IRL. Pyaar toh tha hi na at one point? It’s easy to fall back into those behaviours of love. Yet, the constant hot-and-cold shift in both Mikki and Tinni’s behaviours both during and after the breakup gave me whiplash.

Also Read: Watch Alia Bhatt Sweat It Out On Ranbir, Shraddha’s ‘Tere Pyaar Mein’ From TJMM. The Glow Tho!

Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar could’ve been a funny, breezy, yet thoughtful take on the problem of space and privacy that lots of couples face in Indian families. You can see hints of the stark contrast between who Tinni is when she’s alone in Spain, and the way she gathers herself into a tight frame when she’s around her and Mikki’s families. Had the writers attempted to understand the female psyche better and fleshed out that bit instead of opting for the done-to-death tropes of miscommunication and gaslighting between couples, this could’ve been more effective.

It could’ve salvaged the ending too, where once again a woman is shown to do a U-turn on something she has determinedly wanted all her life. It’s fist-shakingly frustrating because Tinni wasn’t wrong, she just wanted different things and should’ve totally gone for them. As for Mikki, the guy and his family come out of this as absolute saints, just misunderstood by the dumb girl who has finally come to her senses.

The film’s final 20 minutes, which involves a family car scene, is the highlight of the film for me. For one, it is hilarious, and everyone from Dimple Kapadia to Boney Kapoor, to the consistently brilliant little Inayat Verma, land every joke, working truly as a family unit to give us relatable laughs. The whole theatre erupted unanimously over this sequence and it was worth it. And second, it is exactly what Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar should’ve been, yaar! The missed opportunity and potential is all laid bare in that moment, but only for that fleeting moment, because the very next minute, in a cringe airport scene, we are back to being limited by the makers’ superficial understanding of the human psyche.

The ONLY time that we see a glimmer of hope is in a confrontation scene between Mikki and Tinni that comes before the climax. It could’ve been written better—Shraddha Kapoor’s dialogues in general could’ve been written better IMO. But it is the closest to a real discussion between a couple that the film produces. I would’ve loved the unconventional ending that could’ve come from this scene, but alas.

TJMM is an out-and-out Ranbir Kapoor film, and it is his body language—his abs, expressions, and dance moves—that are the highlight of this film. He’s never looked this good before. Shraddha Kapoor too looks stunning, but I wasn’t sold much on her chemistry with RK, or her portrayal of Tinni. Not that Tinni was written as a greatly nuanced character, but her performance lacked the emotional range to elevate that bad writing into something you could like about her. She didn’t even get a monologue of her own, shut down by a man who’s the poster-boy for them. The supporting cast, including comedian Abhinav Singh Bassi, and Mikki’s family, are a riot.

Also Read: Exclusive: Costume Designer Samidha Wangnoo On The Fashion Flavour Of ‘Brahmāstra’, Styling Ranbir For Luv Ranjan’s Next Film, And Diet Sabya

Pritam’s music really does it for me. ‘Tere Pyaar Mein’ is an earworm that I don’t mind listening to on loop. But ‘Pyaar Hota Kayi Baar Hai’, with Ranbir Kapoor killing it on the dance floor in the video, is the one slowly growing on me!

Verdict

There’s an oath in this movie, which I now think the makers of this universe ka movies have taken when it comes to writing female characters. Like, they won’t even attempt to write one that is actually a nice person, or that doesn’t hate joint families.

So like, who do I have to please here to get a good rom-com? Or a Luv Ranjan movie that doesn’t hate women? There’s some effort in making Shraddha Kapoor’s Tinni not look like a villain, but she is so obviously and laughably villain-coded that the effort seems half-assed. And isn’t that just insidiously worse? I’d rather prefer a Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, which isn’t hiding that its female lead is an out-and-out gold digger. SKTKS at least had a heartwarming male friendship at its core, that made you root for the guy.

But Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar portrays two selfish people who are bad at friendships, and worse at being in a relationship. And yet both these things work out for them. You can argue that this is what most modern relationships are these days, but I’m sure there’s a more nuanced way of portraying them that doesn’t talk down to women.

You can watch Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar for the laughs, a hot Ranbir and Shraddha, the songs, the cameos (actually fun!) and if you can temporarily switch off your brain from seeking logic or seeing sexism. Humse toh na ho payega, bhaiyya!

Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar is currently in theatres.

TJMM Twitter Reviews: Internet Hails Shraddha, Ranbir’s Film As The “Best Romcom” After Ages!

Jinal Bhatt

A Barbie girl with Oppenheimer humour. Sharp-tongue feminist and pop culture nerd with opinions on movies, shows, books, patriarchy, your boyfriend, everything.

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