Walking a tight rope between a romantic and an adult comedy, SHUBH MANGAL SAAVDHAN is smartly ‘engaged’ to its snappy sauciness about erectile dysfunction and gets full marks in not turning the concept into a ‘gandi baat‘ (read vulgar).
Notable for its humorous appeal in episodes like the birds, bees and that ‘Ali Baba‘ (worth a repeat), SHUBH MANGAL SAAVDHAN – remake of the bold & quirky Tamil film KALYANA SAMAYAL SAADHAM (2013) does hews some genre prescriptions as prescribed for a family rom com but later the picture helmed by the same director R.S Prasanna who helmed the Tamil original, finds itself struggling with the same ‘performance anxiety’ in its eagerness to please.
Hitesh Kewalya scripts the story by R.S Prasanna to the Hindi north Indian ethos. R.S. Prasanna’s Tamil film was remarkable in being cute and akin to modern times and the Indian version does maintain the cleanliness in the raunchiness related to erectile dysfunction (it’s called as gent’s problem) in the film. Opening up with probably the scenario after the demonetization, Mudit (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Sugandha (Bhumi Pednekar) are standing in a long queue outside an ATM. Their eyes start blinking and winking together but who will make the first move? Finally Mudit gathers courage and makes an attempt only to be hilariously smitten by a bear. The animal is performing on the streets and uncannily holds Mudit making him unable to move. Mudit sends an on line proposal of marriage and the families of Mudit and Sugandha agree. A big fat wedding is planned. Just before their marriage and during the wonderful period of courtship, Mudit and Sugandha get intimate and suddenly Mudit discovers that he is suffering from erectile dysfunction. What follows is a quirky, funny mess about how Mudit, Sugandha and the whole family ‘stand’ up to this situation.
Hitesh Kewalya deserves praise for churning some genuinely hilarious episodes in the film, especially the scene where Sugandha’s mother played by Seema Pahwa (she is on a roll BAREILLY KI BARFI, and now this) tries to teach her grown-up daughter Sugandha about the wedding night (suhaag raat as they say in this part of the world) by drawing comparisons to a popular Arabian folk tale of Ali Baba and 40 thieves is a laugh riot. It’s touchy, full of innocence and thought provoking showcasing a mother’s pious attempt to explain her daughter about sex. This single episode separates SHUBH MANGAL SAAVDHAN from routine Bollywood comedies and stands out.
However, many have seen a glimpse of this episode in the much talked about and crisply edited trailer of the film which made all the noise. Director R.S. Prasann and writer Hitesh Kewalya make the audience enjoy the foreplay with their expert mix of situations and puns with unmatched sensitivity proving their brilliance in narrating such a subject with clean, healthy humour without an inch of vulgarity.
However, during the second half, the movie chooses to travel in those undesired terrains of women empowerment and real ‘Mardaangi‘ (machoism) spoiling the fun. Instead of focusing on the common issue of ‘performance anxiety’ amongst young couples resulting due to stress and lack of happiness in life leading to those columns by sex experts in daily newspapers, the movie fails to achieve the desired ‘climax’ in its zest to get something extra. The amazing feeling that love is not the pleasure derived out of sex, but out of togetherness is not shared the way it should have been in the end.
Apart from the cleverly used ‘Ali Baba‘ and the ‘chota bhai‘ the flappable yet endearing chemistry between Ayushmann Khurrana & Bhumi Pednekar who looked so good together in DUM LAGA KE HAISHA, are seen playing again to their full strength in the film. If we say that the performance of Ayushmann & Bhumi doesn’t comes with any ‘performance anxiety’ and it is pitch perfect plus infectiously charming to the core, well the words will definitely find a chorus with an echo.
Hitesh Kewalya’s outstanding dialogues add to the value. Other supporting cast that includes Brijendra Kala, Shubhankar Tripathi, Anshul Chauhan and Anmol Bajaj chip in with valuable support.
The middle class milieu is well designed. The production values are topnotch. Anuj Rakesh Dhawan’s cinematography is eye pleasing. However, Ninad Khanolkar’s editing could have been crisper. Tanishk-Vayu’s music is functional.
All said and done, SHUBH MANGAL SAAVDHAN in spite of its flaws manages its promise date of a rom com that offers something different, thanks to its quirky, bold, snappy and saucy fun powered by an all the way endearing Ayushmann & Bhumi.
(Half an extra for its remarkable ability in maintaining the cleanliness in the raunchiness)