Anubhav Singh Bassi, Boney Kapoor, comedy, Dimple Kapadia, Hasleen Kaur, Inayat Verma, Kartik Aaryan, Luv Ranjan, Monica Chaudhary, movies, Nushrat Bharucha, Ranbir Kapoor, reviews, Shraddha Kapoor, Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar
March 10, 2023
by Carla Hay
Directed by Luv Ranjan
Hindi with subtitles
Culture Representation: Taking place in India and in Spain, the romantic comedy film “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” features a predominantly Indian cast of characters (with some white people) representing the working-class, middle-class and the wealthy.
Culture Clash: A 30-year-old wealthy heir, who has a secret business where he is paid to help people break up with their love partners, has a passionate, whirlwind romance with a woman he met during a vacation, and she unknowingly hires him so that she can break up with him.
Culture Audience: “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and don’t mind watching predictable and long-winded romantic comedies where almost everything looks phony.
“Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” is so formulaic, you can predict within the first 15 minutes what’s going to happen and how this romantic comedy is going to end. The entire movie is built on the shaky foundation that two lovers wouldn’t know each other’s undisguised voices over the phone. There’s no originality at all in this tiresome romantic comedy. And the 150-minute total running time is just too long for plot this lightweight and stupid.
Directed by Luv Ranjan (who co-wrote the movie’s terrible screenplay with Rahul Mody), “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” (which roughly means “You Liar Main Mecca” in Hindi) has the biggest clichés possible for a romantic comedy and does nothing clever with these stereotypes. The would-be couple have a “meet cute” moment. The male protagonist is good-looking, has a tendency to be arrogant, and he’s shocked when his would-be female love interest plays hard-to-get. They end up having a romance, which is then damaged because of a big secret. This dishonesty or lack of trust causes the couple to break up. But will they get back together? You already know the answer.
In “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” the cocky playboy is Rohan “Mickey” Arora (played by Ranbir Kapoor), the wealthy heir to a multifaceted business that was co-founded by his parents Ramesh Arora (played by Boney Kapoor, who is not related to Ranbir Kapoor) and Renu Arora (played by Dimple Kapadia), who have let Mickey take over the business. Mickey has an MBA degree, and his family’s company has thrived under his leadership. However, Mickey’s mother Renu is worried that Mickey’s partying lifestyle is a distraction that could ruin the business.
Mickey lives in a mansion in Delhi, India, with several of his family members: his parents, who own the house; his sister Minny (played by Hasleen Kaur); Minny’s daughter Sweetu (played by Inayat Verma, an adorable scene stealer), who is about 6 or 7 years old; Minny’s husband; and Ramesh’s mother (played by Jatinder Kaur). Renu is constantly scolding and lecturing Mickey to be more responsible. She’s also eager for Mickey get married and start a family of his own, so that he will move out of the house.
Even though he is a successful businessman with his family’s company, Mickey has a secret business with his best friend Manu Dabbas (played by Anubhav Singh Bassi): The two men are consultants for people who want to break up with love partners. The way that the business works is that Mickey and Manu usually hire people to “tempt” someone to committing infidelity, which is then documented as proof that the cheating happened. It’s all part of a set-up so that the partner who was cheated on can use the infidelity as an excuse to break up with that person.
It’s a horrible and sleazy way to make money (and Mickey certainly doesn’t need the money), so the movie is already off-putting in how it expects audiences to root for Mickey, who willfully participates in hurting people and ruining relationships. Somehow, Mickey thinks there’s nothing wrong with what he’s doing because the people who are his clients are strangers to him. Of course, the table turns on Mickey when he becomes the target of a breakup scheme—and his breakup business is the one hired to instigate the breakup.
Before that happens, the movie wastes a lot of time showing the antics of Mickey and Manu. Manu is engaged to a woman named Kinchi (played by Monica Chaudhary), but he wants to break up with her before their upcoming wedding. In a poorly written sequence, Manu asks Mickey to do something to get Kinchi to break up with Manu. Mickey’s ill-conceived plan doesn’t work. And it all happens at the funeral of Manu’s grandfather. It all looks so bizarre and unbelievable.
Mickey, Manu, and Kinchie then travel to Spain for Manu’s bachelor party. They stay at a luxury resort near a beach. It’s a fateful vacation, because it’s where Mickey meets 27-year-old Nisha “Tinni” Malhotra (played by Shraddha Kapoor, who is not related to Ranbir Kapoor and Boney Kapoor), who is a friend of Kinchie’s. There’s an elaborate musical sequence that takes place in a nightclub, Tinni and Mickey end up being backup dancers to the singer who’s performing. Yes, it’s that kind of movie.
It’s attraction at first sight for Mickey who doesn’t waste time in asking Tinni if she’s single and available. The answer is “yes,” but that doesn’t mean that Tinni will make it easy for Mickey to court her. However, when they start dating, things heat up between Tinni and Mickey so quickly, by the end of the vacation, he’s ready to marry her. The movie has a lot of repetitive music video-styled scenes of Tinni and Mickey in romantic bliss.
Things for this new couple also go smoothly when it comes to their families meeting each other. Tinni’s father (played by Rajesh Jais) and Tinni’s mother (played Ayesha Raza Mishra) are thrilled that Tinni is headed toward marriage to a handsome and rich businessman. Mickey’s parents approve of Tinni. When both sets of parents meet each other for the first time, Mickey uses the occasion to propose marriage to Tinni, who says yes.
But there would be no “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” if this romance didn’t have any problems. Mickey has a tendency to be clingy with Tinni, who worries about losing her independence in this relationship. Mickey also expects his future wife to live with him and his parents in the family mansion, and Tinni doesn’t like that idea. Tinni secretly decides she wants to break up with Mickey, but she doesn’t know how to do it on her own. And who does she call for help? She heard about a certain breakup consulting business that has been successful in helping people end relationships.
When Tinni calls this business, using an undisguised voice, Mickey gets the call. And like a fool, he doesn’t recognize Tinni’s voice because he can’t even comprehend that Tinni would ever need this service. Likewise, when Tinni is on the phone with someone she doesn’t know is Mickey, she doesn’t recognize his undisguised voice either. Does any of this sound believable or logical to you? If you’re willing to let this idiotic part of the movie slide, then you might enjoy “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” more than it deserves.
During this ridiculous charade of hidden identities, Tinni’s London-based co-worker Anya (played by Nushrat Bharucha) is enlisted to tempt Mickey into cheating. Mickey is the one who anonymously hired her, not knowing that he was the target of this infidelity temptation. Kartik Aaryan has a cameo as Tinni’s former college boyfriend Rahul. The rest of the movie wastes more time with more lies and deception, which make Tinni and Mickey look even more idiotic at how long they haven’t figured out each other’s secret.
Probably the best thing about “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” is Santhana Krishnan Ravichandran’s cinematography, which makes the musical numbers and vacation scenes look fleetingly fun and glamorous. But these are visual elements that can’t cover up the rotten storytelling that’s at the core of “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar.” And it’s kind of pathetic that these characters in their late 20s and early 30s are acting like immature teenagers.
To make matters even more tedious, all of the principal characters are rehashed versions of many other romantic comedy characters. No one does a particularly outstanding job with the acting, although Verma as precocious Sweetu has a delightful screen presence as a child actress. The overly long run time of the movie (which has a lot of musical numbers as filler) will just add to viewer irritation, unless watching a subpar romantic comedy is how the viewer wants to waste two-and-a-half hours. “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” has a lot of pretty locations and pretty people, but the movie is ultimately superficial and boring junk.
Yash Raj Films released “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on March 8, 2023.