Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui (2021) is a recent Hindi film starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Vaani Kapoor.  It is a romantic comedy, of a young bodybuilder discovering his girlfriend to be a trans woman and the resulting shock and disbelief. Director Abhishek Kapoor and Vaani Kapoor has to be appreciated for doing this taboo subject. Though there are a few Bollywood cliches, it is overall well made – I liked the style of narration – there are no victims & villains, no heroism, and no blame on fate. Watch this film to be entertained and educated too, gets a Ripe rating, and is available on Netflix.

Ayushman has developed unbelievably his muscles and body to fit the role of a local bodybuilder Manu. He and his friends own a gym, which starts doing good business only after a Zumba teacher Maanvi (Vaani Kapoor) joins them. Soon, Manu and Maanvi fall in love. When things between them get serious, Maanvi reveals she was a boy who got transformed (surgically) into a girl, disgusted Manu breaks up.  Up to this point, everything was on expected lines, but what happens after this – how Vaani handles the abuses thrown at her and how Manu comes around is where the Director shines. Brilliant acting by the lead pair. Also, there was a tiny thread on the love of a single parent in the 50s, not a familiar theme in Indian cinema, which has been nicely presented.

The screenplay stays firmly realistic and avoids the temptation to become preachy, this and fine casting are the reasons for its success.

Social acceptance has to be from within, it cannot be trained or lectured.

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