Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Seema Pahwa
Director: RS Prasanna
The skill of infusing humour in films to put across a message is an art, which certainly can’t be taken lightly, and needs to be used with great care. Filmmaker RS Prasanna - who has directed the Hindi version of 2013 Tamil hit Kalyan Samyal Sadham – does an incredible job in handling humour while tackling a 'touchy' issue to engage and entertain the viewers.
At a time when cynicism has become deeply rooted in our culture, RS Prasanna gives Bollywood its first ever film on erectile dysfunction. But what’s distinctive about Shubh Mangal Saavdhan is that while it talks about ‘gent’s problem’ (sexual disorder), it also sets us free from all the clichés. While it may be taboo to discuss erectile dysfunction, the director understands that a large proportion of men battle it. Since Prasanna knows that men would never talk about the issue - no matter how tenacious the experience becomes and causes distress – he tackles it smartly by providing heartfelt laughter. Trust us, this laughter has therapeutic impact on the viewers!
The film’s storyline is pretty simple - Mudit falls for Sugandha (Bhumi Pednekar). But she wants him to make the first move. While Mudit tries his best, he doesn’t succeed. And that’s when he resorts to online matchmaking which further leads to a video call between the two families. And the protagonists eventually decide to get married. But the twist in the tale seeps in when Mudit finds it difficult to ‘keep it up’.
Since the film isn’t formulaic, it succeeds in finding humour that’s relatable. Interestingly, the director doesn’t rely on bizarre and zany situations to elicit chuckles. Instead, he focuses on situations that the viewers have either witnessed or experienced themselves. Rather than thinking of ways to have humour coming from breaking the rules, Prasanna allows it from the viewers emphasizing with the protagonists and imagining themselves in their place.
All those who believe that great scenes define films would be delighted to know that Shubh Mangal Saavdhan is packed with multiple moments that not just stir our emotions, but go on to last for as long as our minds will permit us to remember. For instance, Mudit’s first attempt to make out with Sugandha at her DDA flat will remain imprinted into our minds because of the couple’s struggle to make it work. Even though the two don’t speak anything, it is the commentary on radio that makes us understand the sequence. Sugandha’s attempt to woo her, Mudit’s difficulty with his erection – every bit is explained well with the concurrent commentary. Similarly, Mudit’s super-stylish entry along with the baraat into Sugandha’s Haridwar residence explains his unconditional love for her.
Another highlight of the film is the insanely good chemistry between the protagonists Bhumi and Ayushmann. Much like their first film Dum Lagake Haisha they have a charming screen presence and wow the viewers with a heartfelt performance. They make us laugh, cry and make us root for them for the indescribable spark they share. While Ayushmann doesn’t falter in tackling his insecurities, courtesy lower libido, Bhumi doesn’t show any qualms in speaking her mind and acting in a way which she feels is correct. Even though they play relatively different characters from Dum Lagake Haisha, there is no denying the comfort between this modern-day couple.
In addition to its good script and direction, the film also gets a thumbs up for its well-etched characters. Actors Brijendra Kala (Sughanda's father), Seema Pahwa (Sughanda's mother), Shubhankar Tripathi, Anshul Chauhan (Ginni) and the rest make the film a lot more believable.
What’s really refreshing about the film is that it doesn’t fall into the trap of clichéd comedies. It neither has illogical dialogues nor vulgar jokes. However, the film’s climax should have been executed much like the film – smartly! The mid-air stunt accompanied by bad CGI is pretty catastrophic. It is this ‘gent’s problem’ that mars the film.
A little close to two hours, barely any moments wasted on superfluous aspects, and an absolute dearth of pointless songs – there’s a lot that you’d appreciate in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan.