- Movie Name:Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan
- Critics Rating: 3 / 5
- Release Date: Feb 21, 2020
- Director: Hitesh Kewalya
- Genre: Comedy
The 2019 film 'Eik Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga', headlined by Rajkummar Rao, and Anil Kapoor and his daughter Sonam, tugged at the heartstrings of many (including mine) for a very emotional portrayal of a same-sex relationship. The daily struggle a few of us go through to accept their identity, sexuality, and just themselves is heartbreaking, because a regular human cannot even afford to comprehend the dynamics of involuntarily challenging the nature. 'Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan' is not that.
Indian cinema has seen several movies depicting same-sex relationships, but 'Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan' is not that. This movie has a genre of its own -- The Ayushmann Khurrana Genre, where the most serious lacunae in the societal system are portrayed with a pinch of salt, and a punch of sarcasm.
Only this time, a movie takes it way further, and fails. Well, to an extent. Because it does not render you emotional or even teary-eyed at the plight of lesser-understood humans.
Somewhere in the middle of the movie, Ayushmann Khurrana's Kartik pulls off a Salman Khan and says, "My sexuality is my sexuality. None of your sexuality," and you instantly know this movie will not take itself as seriously as you consider the issue to be. 'Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan', by that measure, hits the Bull's Eye as far as its target audience is concerned -- the average middle-class homophobe. And remains largely constricted to the concept of appealing to the masses.
So there is a lot of bickering, and nagging, and blaming, and complaining within Aman's extended family about and over who's responsible for the "loneliness" of a 27-year-old girl, and the sexuality (of course) of their son. Is it the porn CDs (because they featured naked guys too), or is it just a "beemari"?
To this, Jeetendra Kumar's Aman explains to his parents how the involvement of love hormones leads to relationships -- much to their dismay. The average Indian family (read: homophobic) cannot so swiftly open up to the idea of a same-sex relationship, and the process with which the Tripathi family comes to terms with it forms the crux of the narrative.
There is a dignity with which the two gay men -- Kartik and Aman -- carry themselves throughout the runtime of the movie. 'Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan' brings a kind of normalcy to being gay -- a rarity for a movie of this genre. Ayushmann and Jeetu's chemistry is almost palpable, and can actually send shivers down the spine of regressive folks. Also, Jeetu and Ayushmann actually kiss each other -- passionately -- and twice. Quite bold, must say.
But when it comes to the premise, the film's dependence on comedy and humour is hit and miss. There's a punch in every line, and comedy infused in every scene. So you may laugh, but at the end, you'll be left wondering what exactly you signed for. Was it a comedy movie with a same-sex relationship at its core? Or was it a social drama evoking peals of laughter?
Also, there are a few subplots that seem too irrelevant to the narrative. One is Aman's father, a scientist, carrying out food experiments. The other is Aman's cousin's desperation to get married. They may deserve a separate spin off on each of them, but their interweaving into 'Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan' looks too contrieved.
The nagging relationship between Aman's father, played by Gajraj Rao, and his younger brother (played by Manu Rishi) looks interesting at the beginning, but starts wearing thin and appears too silly as the climax draws close. Same goes for the relationship between Aman's parents -- played by Rao, and Neena Gupta. The pair which was no less than fireworks in 'Badhai Ho' is underutilised in 'Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan'. Their unlikeable characters add to this woe.
Having said that, there are a few sporadic sparks of brilliance in the script. Director Hitesh Kewalya uses the DDLJ blueprint to detail how two lovers, even if they belong to the same gender, yearn to be each other and can fight the entire world to be together. The blueprint gets carved in stone with the train scene. Kartik's monologue about homophobia, and Aman's moral tussle of dealing with his parents' orthodoxy are other high-points of the narrative.
The major high of 'Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan', however, is the performances. Ayushmann Khurrana is himself; effervescent and the best at whatever he does. Gajraj Rao, Neena Gupta, Maanvi Gagroo, and Manu Rishi are equally good.
Jeetendra Kumar is the stand out performer. He aces his small-town guy demeanour to the T. His earnest portrayal of the conflicted and emotional Aman is the highlight of the movie -- he surprised me in a few scenes where he was at par with Ayushmann. Awesome feat!
Music is fairly good. 'Gabroo' stands out.
But despite all the boldness, and the social message, 'Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan' lacks something. Probably, a soul. You laugh along the classless jokes, because they are funny. But amidst it, the sole motive with which the movie was made goes haywire. 'Eik Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga' had major marketing issues, but it still made me think. And cry. 'Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan' also makes you think. But not for long. Gay rights are a sensitive issues in India, and should have been dealt with in a more sincere way. The forced comedy connects with the target audience, but with it, the plot gradually loses steam. And that's where Kewalya loses too.
'Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan', by all means, is a movie with its heart at the right place. It just should have been treated better. It is inconsistent with its message, and kuchh zyada-consistent with its comic elements making it a difficult, rather confusing, experience. Watch it for Jeetendra Kumar's brilliant debut, the social message that underlines the narrative, some middle-class bonhomie, and as just another specimen from THE AYUSHMANN KHURRANA GENRE.
IndiaTVNews.com verdict: 3 stars