Bollywood director Luv Ranjan's universe of romantic comedies that tackle modern love and all its complications expands with Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar.
Pairing stars Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor for the first time, Ranjan this time tasks his leads with the challenge of navigating a relationship that's tested by the demands of a career and also challenged by tradition.
Ranbir plays Mickey, a wealthy Delhi boy who runs several of his family's businesses. In his spare time, he also works as a "break-up artist" and, along with his friend Manu (stand-up comic Anubhav Singh Bassi), helps couples break up with the least emotional damage.
Shraddha is Tinni, confident, career-focused and knows exactly what she wants out of life.
When the two meet while on holiday in Spain for Manu's bachelor's party, Mickey falls head over heels in love with Tinni. She makes him run a few circles before being convinced he's the one for her.
But as their relationship develops, things begin to get complicated. Mickey, whose life revolves around his close-knit family, will not sacrifice them to be with the love of his life. But all Tinni ever wanted is independence from her family, and refuses to suffer like her mother who married into a joint family. She also wants space to grow in her career and cope with its demands.
This tussle between wants and needs and the haves and have-nots, is the crux of the film.
Ranjan, who's been criticised in the past for the misogynistic tinge of his films, once again gives his hero the meatiest role, including the Ranjan-standard monologues. And Ranbir bites into his with gusto, delivering a blistering performance as Mickey — self-assured yet emotionally vulnerable but also frustratingly stubborn.
Shraddha is his perfect foil, playing a woman of today who will not be bent or pushed, and shares a crackling chemistry with Ranbir. The film also benefits from a strong supporting cast, namely veteran actress Dimple Kapadia, who plays Mickey's mother, as well as Bassi. Producer Boney Kapoor, who makes his acting debut, also gets to mouth a few funny lines.
But at 164 minutes, Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar takes too long to make its point. While the music by Pritam is entertaining, including the soulful O Bedardeya performed by Arijit Singh, a shorter run-time would have heightened the film's emotional heft in the final act.
Still, Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar is a decent watch, especially amid the brashy big-budget spectacles that Bollywood's churning out weekly these days. And while it's pegged as a modern love story, its heartwarming final message, and a good old-fashioned run to the airport, will make you both laugh and cry.