Shubh Mangal Saavdhan
Shubh Mangal Saavdhan: A Breezy Entertainer That Submerges Its Flaws in Lightheartedness
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Director R.S Prasanna’s Shubh Mangal Saavdhan is a remake of his Tamil film Kalyana Samayal Saadham, a movie that was probably far ahead of its times back then. But considering Bollywood’s new find boldness and knack of addressing serious issues with a certain light-heartedness, this one is an apt fit. It takes up the topic of erectile dysfunction and addresses it without ever coming across as crass or vulgar. It relies on innuendos to set context, discuss issues and this at times, leads to hilarious exchanges among the lead characters. Even though the second half is a tad bit too dramatic, the film’s overall mature outlook makes it immensely watchable.
Mudit Sharma, a typical office-going, boy-next-door likes Sugandha Joshi, a strong-willed girl who resides in South Delhi’s Moti Bagh area. He sends her an online matrimonial proposal instead of approaching her. The families agree and the couple agree for love-cum-arranged marriage. As they get to know each other better, they fall in love. They are engaged very soon.
On one of the days when Sugandha’s parents are not at home, they decide to consummate their relationship. But things take an unfortunate turn when the couple realizes that Mudit suffers from Erectile Dysfunction or what he refers to as ‘Gents Problem’. One of the most memorable scenes is the use of ‘biscuit’ by Mudit to describe his problem to his to describe the problem to his fiancé. It is hilarious and probably, might change the way you look at biscuits forever!
Here on, the film bases its plot on the effect this has on the couple’s relationship and their search for reassuring solutions.
Director R.S Prasanna takes up the issue of erectile dysfunction and handles it with utmost maturity. He encloses the message in humor but ensures that the issue does not become frivolous. This balance is quite hard to achieve. There is not even a single scene where you would feel like cringing. A particular scene involving Sughandha and her mother (extremely talented Seema Pahwa) talking about intercourse through the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves will have you in splits. Infact, Prasanna should be given full credit for bringing a tabooed subject into the mainstream.
It is also a refreshing change and heartening to see how the director looks at women’s needs. Instead of interlinking erectile dysfunction with an inability to have children, he brings to life, a hero who feels disappointed because he is unable to express his love and affection towards his partner through intercourse.
Prasanna also gets the whole middle-class Delhi NCR setting, the characters and their nuances spot on. The accents, the body language and dialogues add much spunk to the script. It is easy to relate to, especially those who have stayed in Delhi. Another notable aspect of the film is how expertly it establishes the chemistry of the lead couple.
Post intermission though, the screenplay gets weak. Quite a few scenes are hastily written or not thought through. For instance, bringing in Mudit’s ex-girlfriend into the plot was uncalled for. Sequences leading up to the climax become overdramatic. This overdose of drama that makes its way into the climax tends to discredit the otherwise realistic approach of the film.
After a point, everyone gets to know Mudit’s personal problem. This is where the film slips. This private affair made public is exaggerated through sequences that become loud and superficial. Dialogue writer Hitesh Kewalya’s straight-forward lines hit the right notes in the first half. But start to seem over- the-top in the second half. Nevertheless, this doesn’t directly impact the effect Shubh Mangal Saavdhan will have on you. When you look at the bigger picture these flaws can be done away with.
The leading and supporting cast hold the film together even in weak moments. Even though each of these actors has played similar characters before, they bring layers of freshness to their roles through spontaneity and humor.
As Mudit Sharma, Ayushmann Khurrana is brilliant. The accent he assumes and his body language in particular are quite accurate. Similarly, Bhumi Pednekar gives another stellar performance after Dum Laga Ke Haisha. Her free-spirited character from middle-class family, who wants to choose her partner on her own will strike resonance with many out there. She immerses you in her performance by displaying just the right amount of understanding and rebelliousness. Also notable is her typical ‘Dilli accent’.
After her wonderful performance in Barfi Ki Bareilly, Seema Pahwa’s dream run at playing the middle-class mummy continues. She gets quite a few comic lines and shines through. Supporting actors, Brijendra Kala, Shubhankar Tripathi and Neeraj Sood are spectacular too. In instances where the screenplay seems chaotic, they make up for it with their sense of humor and comic timing.
Cinematographer Anuj Rakesh Dhawan’s visuals bring alive the unhindered realism of NCR and Haridwar. He doesn’t showcase scenic routes and grandeur locations. He encloses shots of crowded, narrow streets and congested markets. This realistic approach is perfectly in sync with the setting of the film.
Music directors Tanishk Bagchi and Vayu have encapsulated the lightheartedness of the film through their refreshing songs. Kanha and Rocket Saiyyan in particular are quite delightful to listen to.
On the whole Shubh Mangal Saavdhan clearly isn’t without faults but its caliber lies in its ability to submerge these flaws in a mature screenplay and humorous approach. This is one entertainer that is bound to leave you with more than a few memorable laughs.