Director: R. S. Prasanna
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar
As far as I can remember, Bollywood had not yet come up with a movie which talks about the sensitive topic of erectile dysfunction. With Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, the industry is proving its brave initiatives and that’s why I applaud the makers of the film for their efforts. However, as a cinema, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan is more on a dramatic level and less on the actual focus on that issue. Too much family drama and chaos ruined the honest intention of the story.
So, Mudit Sharma (Ayushmann Khurrana) is marrying Sugandha (Bhumi Pednekar) after 2-3 meetings and liking each other. One night, when they are about to get physical, Mudit couldn’t go ahead with it and Sugandha realizes the erectile dysfunction problem with him. However, Sugandha is still interested in marrying him but their relationship is now taking a toll due to the family and societal pressure related to that issue.
Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’s story is very well thought. A guy from a small town, having an arrange marriage with a girl, their banter and eventual love for each other and the girl gradually realizing about the underlying problem are smartly penned down. The humor is damn good for a movie which is trying to show a sensitive issue and those funny elements don’t vulgarize the script.
The major drawback of Shubh Mangal Saavdhan for me was R. S. Prasanna’s direction. First of all, the film’s pace is too fast. You don’t really get to enjoy the initial love story as it is moving at a speed of a bullet. Adding fun during the storytelling is always a good idea but Shubh Mangal Saavdhan is not a comedy movie; it’s a film that throws light on the manly problems which are not openly discussed in our society. But, most of the time, the movie keeps running with silly fights and excessive drama of both Mudit and Sugandha’s parents, their ridiculous behavior during baarat and it goes on for majority of the run time of the film.
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Sure, Mudit and Sugandha’s parents’ jokes on the issue are hilarious but they are done to death. After a while, you can see the focus of the story diverting from its core theme. Irrelevant fights between two families, Mudit’s senseless fight with his father, Sugandha’s dad advising her to run away, all these factors destroy the premise. I was expecting two families actually coming together after a fight to support their children and having a healthy discussion in the final phase which would have provided a valuable insight through this movie. I mean, isn’t that the intention of any movie or cinema? To send across a message, to make people aware about the issues which they don’t know about or know but never talk? But, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan misses that opportunity.
Prasanna does a fine job in showing a realistic desi relationship between Mudit and Sugandha. The way Sugandha understands Mudit and his genuine nature is lovely. Their fights, anger, frustration and amidst all that; their sustainable love for each other are wonderfully told. I just wanted to see more of them having a long conversation about their future.
Also, the actual issue is not really spoken in depth here. With some doctor talking about stress and families using some code words to create humor, the seriousness of that talk is lost. If you have seen ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’, you would understand how beautifully that film is directed with the authenticity of an issue of a fat woman displayed thoughtfully to raise eyebrows. That’s what Shubh Mangal Saavdhan fails to do. Sure, it entertains but entertainment is a fraction of it, the bigger picture was missing from it.
There’s no doubt that Ayushmann Khurrana has now become a champion in portraying the role of a guy from a small city. He quickly becomes likable and relatable as Mudit who falls in love with a girl but is afraid to tell her. His efforts to hide his issue from Sugandha, his building frustration about that and getting irritated to see how that problem is ruining their relationship, are realistically performed by him. Ayushmann’s expressions are effective. The way he cares for his love and his final outburst before his and his in-laws’ family are the highlight of the movie. Ayushmann is quite in form with Meri Pyaari Bindu, Bareilly Ki Barfi and now, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. It’s always great to see deserving actors getting the respect and glory.
Bhumi Pednekar is also at par with Ayushmann in delivering the role of a woman who loves a man, suffering from erectile dysfunction. She is bold and brave. It’s her talkative nature in the film which makes Mudit-Sugandha’s relationship fun and engaging. Bhumi also successfully depicts the scenes when she is also suffering in the relationship but is ready to take a stand.
Shubh Mangal Saavdhan is a film that has a genuine intention to talk about the erectile dysfunction issue but it doesn’t fully deliver. The movie gets stuck in its excessively funny and melodramatic treatment and forgets to focus on the serious commentary of the problem.