Banners: Colour Yellow Productions,
Eros International, Y NOT Studios
Producers: Aanand L. Rai, Krishika
Director: RS Prasanna
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi
Pednekar, Seema Bhargava Pahwa,
Supriya Shukla, Bijendra Kala, Anshul
Chauhan, Chittaranjan Tripathy
Writers: Hitesh Kewalya (screenplay and
dialogues), RS Prasanna (story)
In the midst of a rush of bitter disappointments at the box office, Aanand L Rai and Krishika Lulla’s latest production Shubh Mangal Saavdhan is a breath of fresh air. The film is a remake of the South film Kalyana Samayal Saadham directed by RS Prasanna, who also helms the Hindi version.
The film is a simple yet endearing love story between Mudit (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Sugandha (Bhumi Pednekar). Both of them are Delhiites, they meet each other by chance and hit it off immediately. This bond turns into an engagement with the consent of the respective families.
Mudit and Sugandha do all the stereotypically sweet things that engaged couples do. They go out, exchange cutesy messages and try to get physically intimate. But a conflict arises when Mudit has what he calls a ‘Gents’ Problem’. Suffering from performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction, Mudit tries to figure out a solution to this problem any which way he can, which includes going to babas and buying jhadibhutis. Even Sugandha, being a supportive and loving fiancée, gives it her best shot to seduce her would-be-husband by biting into an aloo bukhara instead of a mango and trying to imitate Katrina Kaif. Sadly, it doesn’t work.
The wedding approaches, and, by now, not only do the parents of the bride and groom know of the problem but also their relatives. Accusations are thrown, mardaangis are questioned, veterinarians are consulted and kundalis are cursed by both sides. The pressure gets to Mudit and Sugandha’s relationship and we see how a North Indian family deals with a subject that is not even discussed with one’s loved ones behind closed doors, much less out in the open in front of an entire baaraat!
The first half of the film is the closest any movie has come to being flawless in a long time. The film is short and sweet and moves quickly with the narrative but it takes the right amount of time to justify the story line. The scenes before the interval are filled with hilarity and prove that comedy still survives in Hindi films.
The second half deals with some emotions injected with bouts of humour. The pace doesn’t slow but a few scenes don’t quite cut it, like the one where the night before Mudit and Sugandha’s wedding in Haridwaar, all the relatives are expectantly waiting and betting (yes, you heard that right!) on whether they will successfully be able to consummate their relationship or not. The sequence is funny but a tad loud and unbelievable. The movie ends with the well-delivered message of how couples who go through this particular problem should communicate rather than be embarrassed about it and play the blame game.
Except for a few very forgivable lapses here and there, things seem just about perfect throughout this laugh-riot of a film. While many deserve credit for this film, the most deserving is the writer. Hitesh Kewalya should take a bow for the dialogue he has written. Kewalya, who has also penned the screenplay of this entertaining story, has nailed every single line in this narrative.
Combining Delhi slang with just the right punch, even in the simplest of lines, with words like ‘loyaltiness’, will have the audience cracking up quite often during the course of the movie. The entire scene when Sugandha’s mother is explaining the concept of sex to her, without actually using the word, is hilarious, especially when she gets to the Alibaba and gufa part.
The music of the film by Tanishk Bagchi and Vayu is pleasant. The album has a romantic number Kanha and a shaadi song Laddoo that do not get in the way of the narrative. The third song, Rocket saiyyan is a fun track that will have you smiling as it plays in the background and has the lyrics resonating with the scene playing on the screen.
RS Prasanna has made his debut as a Bollywood director with a strong script, powerful production houses and a strong cast. His vision in making clean comedy, with a subject like erectile dysfunction, was difficult to achieve but he has been successful. Expertly treading a fine line between metaphor and double entendre, the filmmaker has given the audience a reason to go to the cinemas after a long time.
Performance-wise, with his perfect accent, Ayushmann Khurrana plays the adorable and witty Delhi boy to the ‘T’. Leading lady Bhumi Pednekar has proved to be a potential powerhouse with her strong role as the quintessential girl-next-door. A standing ovation for Seema Bhargava Pahwa for being absolutely hilarious with her comic timing. Supriya Shukla is also good. Bijendra Kala makes you laugh in his scenes. Anshul Chauhan is also funny with her lines. Other supporting actors, particularly both Ayushmann and Bhumi’s onscreen fathers, Chittaranjan Tripathy and Neeraj Sood, are quite strong in their roles.
Verdict: Don’t miss this quirky wedding drama. The performances make it worth your time and money. Must watch.