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POTENT HUMOR, SOLID PERFORMANCES – Shubh Mangal Saavdhan Movie review

Bollywood takes a step ahead with Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar-starrer Shubh Mangal Saavdhan – the film that breaks taboos on erectile dysfunction. Directed by RS Prasanna, the film is a remake of Prasanna’s Tamil film Kalyana Samayal Saadham and hits theatres on Friday.

Shubh Mangal Saavdhan is the story of Mudit and Sugandha who fall in love at first sight but Sugandha wants to explore the relationship before taking things further. Mudit, on the other hand, fails to find the courage to speak to her and decides to send an ‘online rishta’ instead. Our heroine is upset but takes it upon herself to turn this arranged marriage into a love marriage. However, one passionate night before the wedding, they discover that Mudit has erectile dysfunction. Efforts to get him cured form the rest of the film as families and relatives also get involved.

There is an almost forced lecture on feminism, few interesting takes on erectile dysfunction and pre-marital sex and some scenes showcasing the typical middle-class, DDA flat-residing families. However, the film does not hold it all together – there are only patches of brilliance and fun in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan.

With an interesting and bold subject, the fun-filled milieu of a north Indian wedding and an ensemble of good supporting actors, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan could have been a gem of a film. Except, it isn’t.However, Seema Pahwa deserves a special mention. She has nailed down the traditionally modern mother in the recent past (as seen in ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’), and can clearly continue to make her career based on that oxymoron. There’s a scene where she tries to teach her grown-up daughter Sugandha about the birds and bees by drawing comparisons to a popular Arabian folk tale. It works on multiple levels by being hilarious and heartwarming at the same time, as we see a mother making an honest and uncomfortable attempt to give her daughter a crash course in sex-ed – albeit a little too late. This scene itself shows writer-director R.S. Prasanna’s ability to balance comedy with sincerity, and the film works largely because of this.

But, much like Mudit’s character, the film is unable to perform when it matters the most – the climax. For some reason, the screenplay resorts to an unconvincing turning point towards the end, followed by a few more absurd sequences, including a seemingly forced cameo before going flat out overboard. It’s quite the disappointment, and while that doesn’t negate the undeniable effort put in by the cast, it makes you wonder why the narrative suddenly went limp. That aside, ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’ keeps you entertained long enough to make it worth a watch.

Simran Movie Review

Critic's Rating6.4
AVG Readers6.5
Direction6.6
6.5 out of 10
Story 'Shubh Mangal Saavdhan' is a remake of the Tamil film 'Kalyana Samayal Saadham' made in 2013. The story revolves around Mudit Sharma (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Sugandha (Bhumi Pednekar) who fall in love and plan to get married. But the twist in the tale comes when the groom discovers that he suffers from erectile dysfunction. What We Hate While Prasanna aims to make us laugh, he mostly disappoints. To begin with, he focusses on the lead characters, making the supporting actors look like the unnecessary crowd around them. For us to empathise and identify with a story like this, the entire family and friends need to be well-established in the film, along with the lead characters – this is a traditional nort Indian family set-up where even a ‘hero’ cannot escape the wrath of the chacha/fufa. For the uncle’s anger to feel genuine or the friend’s taunts to feel real, we also need to know them a little more. The Bottom Line Is it possible to create a Hindi film around the 'touchy' subject of erectile dysfunction without being downright crass about it? Turns out that it is, and quite a funny one at that. This is because the lead pair has an affable chemistry between them - an absolutely essential element when dealing with such a private 'Gents problem' (as the film calls it). The whole premise would fall flat without them playing so well off of each other. Ayushmann and Bhumi are able to recreate the magic of being together on-screen, even if their characters aren't exactly new or challenging to either actor. But it works, so there's no need to fix it. Additionally, they're surrounded by a group of talented supporting actors who blend in seamlessly without being too overbearing. This makes the comedy work exactly how and when it's meant to without stooping to raunchy humour.
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