After giving back-to-back blockbusters, our main man Ayushmann Khurrana is back and this time, it’s all about gay pride! But does debut director Hitesh Kewalya have what it takes to make this one a hit? Well, let’s find out!
Rating – 3 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐
Back in 2017, director R. S. Prasanna gave us an understated, quirky, yet bold & badass film about erectile dysfunction, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan starring the oh-so-talented Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar. Although the 2017 directorial bravely brought out some very important and unheard questions, concerns and comments about the topic at hand, it struggled to deliver too many laughs and weave in the correct amount of comedy in its overly mature writing. Well, here we are three years later – a new director, a new issue and a new ensemble cast led by the same powerpacked Ayushmann. But did they finally succeed in hitting the accurate combination of purpose and humour? That is the real question.
Khurrana plays the role of the very unapologetic Karthik, who’s openly and madly in love with his slightly bashful gay partner Aman a.k.a Guddu (Jitendra Kumar) belonging to a greatly conservative family of Allahabad. A hilariously homophobic rollercoaster follows when Guddu’s father Shankar Tripathi (Gajraj Rao) finds the two lovers passionately making out at Guddu’s cousin Goggle’s (Maanvi Gagroo) wedding party.
“Kab decide kiya ki yeh banoge?” “Isse yeh nahi, gay kehte hai”
One of my very first thoughts as I stepped out of the theatre (with a smile on my face) was analyzing Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan in comparison to some other LGBTQ-based Bollywood films of the past and saying to myself damn, director Hitesh Kewalya really knew what he was doing – he came with the right intentions and endeavored to announce his message in a way that apni Indian public would actually understand. Small town humour. I vividly remember reviewing Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga last year and mentioning how reserved, purposeless and immature its script was. Well, compared to that, watching a film wherein the leads are genuinely unabashed about their love for one another yet strongly value their family’s validation was like a fresh breath of air.
And no, I’m not talking about just the kissing scenes. It’s so obvious when all quality actors come together for form an ensemble cast – their tremendous performances combined with a well-thought out storyline almost sucks your soul into the screen. Despite watching Ayushmann Khurrana do what he does best – subtle yet sincere acting to win his audience’s hearts, I was honestly more impressed with Jitendra Kumar this time. Having not seen (or heard much of) any of his past ventures, the man’s confidence and cuteness was simply irresistible and of course, playing an admirable character such as Guddu’s definitely worked in his favour. The Badhaai Ho cuties Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao were flawless – their chemistry and comic timing make for a lethal combination and undoubtedly give that lasting effect. But the real show-stealer was Manu Rishi playing the role of Chaman, Guddu’s chacha, who deserves full points for his naturally humourous acting style and dialogue delivery.
Although a heavy entertainer overall, I just felt that the writing didn’t quite have what it takes to perfectly balance out purpose with comedy. At any given point in time, the films leaned towards being either too hysterical or too knowledgy and weaving in these two powerful elements together in a tight script came across as a challenge.
Got your own reviews and ratings of Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan? Let me know in the comments section below and follow @thecinesurgeon on Instagram!