After blowing up the happily-ever-after fallacy with his two Pyaar Ka Punchnama films and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, Luv Ranjan plays peacemaker in Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar. His new film has milder traces of some of the acridity and women-baiting that made his previous movies so popular.

Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar is evenly balanced between its hero and heroine, both of whom briefly live up to their pejorative labels. The title (Liar, Deceiver) promises a romcon rather than a romcom.

Tinni (Shraddha Kapoor) and Mickey (Ranbir Kapoor) prefer short-term flings to long-term commitment. Mickey even runs a break-up service with his bestie Manu (Anubhav Singh Bassi), pulling in a healthy roster of clients with his skill for easing the pangs of estrangement.

Despite themselves, Tinni and Mickey fall in love. A big fat Delhi wedding is on the cards. An obligatory obstacle is introduced at the interval point, which relies on a device that would be more at place in a 1960s film than a contemporary drama aimed at millennials and Gen Z. The 164-minute narrative drags on nevertheless, relying on suspension of disbelief, a truckload of cliches and Pritam’s booming songs.

O Bedardiya, Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar (2023).

The movie is ultimately a casting gimmick in search of a workable plot. It’s tonally inconsistent too, careening between Luv Ranjan’s trademark caustic humour, pure slapstick and sappy romance. There’s even some happy-family tosh thrown in.

The screenplay, by Ranjan and Rahul Mody, is sharpest when it stays on the edge from where it tosses around barbs about love and marriage and all the rest of it.

That phase is temporary. An extended sequence in which Tinni and Mickey assess their feelings for each other has a rawness that proves to be as fleeting as Tinni’s expectation that she will be treated fairly.

Ranbir Kapoor rolls out the rakish charm and nifty footwork, but Mickey is never in danger of a serious challenge. The scene-stealer is Shraddha Kapoor, who is fully alert to Tinni’s contradictions. In a conventional and typically conservative romcom that has been filmed like a sitcom, the numerous close-ups benefit Shraddha Kapoor the most.

The extended cast includes Dimple Kapadia and Boney Kapoor as Mickey’s over-the-top parents and Hasleen Kaur as Mickey’s harried sister. The talented child actor Inayat Verma plays Mickey’s precocious niece, who, unlike the other characters in the film, has her bullshit meter turned on at all times.

Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar (2023).