Shubh Mangal Saavdhan movie review: The film fails to get it up despite Ayushmann...

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Shubh Mangal Saavdhan
Director: RS Prasanna
Cast: Bhumi Pednekar, Ayushmann Khuranna
Rating: 2/5

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.

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.

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.

Bhumi takes charge of things when they turn sour.

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.

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.

The film, nonetheless, has its moments that make you laugh out loud. Especially the scene where Sugandha and her mom have a discussion on sex. Of course, the mom doesn’t utter the word and goes ‘hey bhagwan’ when the daughter does. But the analogies of gufa, the porn-poetry the mom claims to have written on her wedding night, all form the perfect package of fun and laughter.

Bhumi is quite comfortable in her role as she has essayed similar ones in her previous films (Dum Laga Ke Haisha and Toilet Ek Prem Katha) - the woman next door who struggles with gender issues amidst a traditional setup and emerges the winner.

It is a pity that Prasanna does not give enough meat to his supporting actors to chew on. What a waste when you have people like Beijendra Kala and Seema Pahwa.

It is Ayushmann who emerges as the star among all the actors. He is funny, lovely and irritable - totally at ease with his character.

Prasanna presents Shubh Mangal Saavdhan in a rather flat manner and refuses to give space to characters other than the hero and heroine, leaving behind one mess of what could have been a fun-filled entertainer.

The author tweets @swetakaushal
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