‘Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar’ movie review: Ranbir Kapoor carries Luv Ranjan’s rom-com... almost all the way

Behind the comic veneer, there is an engaging battle of perspectives; the film needed an actor of Ranbir Kapoor’s class to do justice to it, while Shraddha Kapoor brings a kind of freshness to the proceedings

Updated - March 08, 2023 12:51 pm IST

Published - March 08, 2023 12:42 pm IST

Shraddha Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor in a still from ‘Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar’

Shraddha Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor in a still from ‘Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar’ | Photo Credit: T-Series/YouTube

The Luv Ranjan romantic comedy starts with defining fitness, dental and fashion goals, but goes on to set family goals for a generation that celebrates instant gratification and individualism. It is set in times when fuelled by vernal insecurities, the market has turned breakups into an industry and lasting love into a vestigial emotion with diminishing returns; where commitment is deemed overrated and love as just another commodity that should be bought after checking the expiry date. Early in the film, we are told “Pyar Hota Kai Bar Hai”. While the theme is relatable, performances perky, and the mood naturally cheerful, the nuts and bolts of the story demand the suspension of disbelief to be hammered through.

Ranjan loves to see relationships from a male gaze and here again the title makes it amply clear whose point of view it is. The difference from his previous films is that here he attempts to create some sense of gender parity when it comes to investing in love before deciding to stand behind the male protagonist. Even as it gently nudges the audience to see the point of view of a financially-independent woman, the film propagates the notion that she sees a problem where none exists and makes much ado about nothing.

Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar (Hindi)
Director: Luv Ranjan
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Anubhav Kumar Bassi, Boney Kapoor
Runtime: 164 minutes
Storyline: A ‘breakup’ artist gets a taste of his own medicine when his newfound girlfriend gets cold feet before their engagement

Unlike Imtiaz Ali or Karan Johar, Ranjan hardly sees anything ethereal in romance and reduces relationships to a negotiation between hormones and bank balance. He seems to pick his stories from a society where the attrition rate is high, both in jobs and love. In his universe, characters from a new India emerging around the IT hubs, clash with those bred on traditional resources of wealth. For both, money is not a problem but their emotional portfolio is not rich enough and doesn’t really match. Rather than serenading, they indulge in a game of one-upmanship for they don’t want to be tied down to one vacation, one car, one person and their family.

Rohan or Mickey (Ranbir Kapoor) hails from a business family that discusses profit and loss over a rich Punjabi meal. On the side, he runs a breakup start-up with his friend Dabas (Anubhav Kumar Bassi) who represents the class that is trying to join the elite after selling off its agricultural lands.

On a vacation, Rohan finds his match in Nisha or Tinni (Shraddha Kapoor), who works in the Cyberhub of Gurugram. She flaunts her swimwear, he exposes his abs, and we get to see a long advertisement of the new-age romance. But as Ranjan changes gears and Tinni gets into a kurta pajama, we find that they are cut from the same old cloth. Tinni loves Mickey but does she want to invest her emotions in the ‘Lala’ land, a euphemism for the business family, where Mickey is rooted? Here is a boy who wants to bring the moon for his beloved but is also keen to shop a few stars for his mother, father, and sister along the way. But the girl in his life considers love as indirectly proportional to freedom. Does the relationship guru have a solution? It is a Barjatya conundrum that Ranjan attempts to solve with the candidness of today.

Behind the comic veneer, there is an engaging battle of perspectives and it needed an actor of Ranbir’s class to do justice to it. He lends a lot of gravitas to a type that turned Kartik Aryan (he makes an appearance in a cameo) into a brand. Ranbir has shown sparks of a mischievous bloke in the commercials of the brands that he endorses. Here he surrenders to the verbosity of Mickey with a Shashi Kapoor-kind of flair and when the transformation happens, he displays his mastery over internalising complex emotions. Shraddha is not necessarily a better actress than Nushratt Bharuchha, the resident muse of Ranjan up until now, but she brings a kind of freshness to the proceedings because she has been cast against the type. She is uninhibited in the water pool and effortlessly swims across the pool of emotions in the second half. However, the feisty approach of an independent girl doesn’t come through, or maybe the director doesn’t want it. Dimple Kapadia and Bassi provide good support and Pritam’s music is in sync with the pulse of the theme.

Unlike the protagonists, the film is truthful in what it wants to say. Perhaps, a few more drafts would have sharpened its point of view and avoided the jaded concept of rushing to the airport to sort out the climax.

Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar is currently running in theatres.

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