Over the past three decades, Bollywood has seen several films on gay relationships such as Fire (1996), My Brother Nikhil (2005), Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (2019), Aligarh (2016) etc. And now Aanand L Rai and T-Series have come together to bring another gay relationship based film Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, which hit the theaters this week. It is a light-hearted, commercial film slightly different from other homosexual relationships. Apart from this, Ayushmann Khurrana is seen in the lead role in this film, who himself has now become a brand of hit films. So will Shubh Mangal manage to entertain the more careful audience, or does it fail in its endeavor? Let’s review.
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is the story of two men who fall in love in the era of Section 377. Aman Tripathi (Jitendra Kumar) is the son of Shankar Tripathi (Gajraj Rao) and Sunaina (Neena Gupta) and lives in Allahabad. Aman works in Delhi and his family is unaware that he is a homosexual and lives with Kartik (Ayushmann Khurrana). Jitendra’s cousin Google (Maanvi Gagroo) is getting married and Neena asks Aman to come back to attend her wedding. Aman at first refuses but then agrees. Kartik also comes with her and meets the entire Tripathi family in the special train Vivah Express. Aman and Kartik kiss each other in the train and they feel that no one is watching them. But it is a pity that Shankar sees them doing this and Shankar gets a shock. But he can’t even tell this to anyone. In Google’s wedding, he kisses Karthik in front of everyone in a peaceful marriage, seeing which the entire Tripathi family is left shocked. And seeing all this, the husband to be Google refuses to get married. In anger, Google runs away. Kartik is asked to drop Aman and Chaman (Manurishi Chadha), Shankar’s brother and Google’s father, drops him off at Allahabad station. At the railway station, Kartik collides with Google and stops her from ending his life. She tells Kartik that he should not run away and fight for his love. This motivates Kartik and he decides not to win over Jitendra but the entire Tripathi family. What happens next after this will be known after watching the rest of the film.
Hitesh Kewalya has a good story and has the potential to be a game-changer. But Hitesh Kewalya’s screenplay proves to be a big culprit. In a quest to make the situation funny, he introduces difficult-to-digest situations. It was also present in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan but he maintained a balance there. While there is no balance in this film. First half is fine. The film falls apart in the second half. Hitesh Kewalya’s dialogues are quite funny but most of them seem over. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the one-liners, which are supposed to be funny, also take away the reality from the film.
Hitesh Kewalya’s direction is weak. There are many subplots in the film but they were not intertwined well. A large part of the film is about the rift within the family and the homosexual issue takes a backseat during this time. Apart from this, he should have been completely successful in two aspects, one is comedy and the other is good message. But he fails to show both these aspects properly. Even the black cauliflower angle brings laughs in the beginning, but it turns out to be the biggest weakness in the climax. It gives a bad Dejavu feel of Delhi 6 (2009). The positive aspect of the film is that some of the scenes are handled well and some of the scenes really bring out a lot of laughs.
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan begins on a very funny note and the Kali Gobhi subplot looks quite funny. Devika’s (Bhumi Pednekar) sequence adds to the fun of the film. The scene where Shankar catches the lovers red-handed kissing, makes them laugh with laughter. Aman kissing Kartik among the public, Aman talking to his parents about dopamine and many other things keep interest in the film. The film loses its interest after the interval. There are some scenes that should have brought laughter but they don’t. Also it becomes a bit didactic and disjointed. The makers try their best to make things interesting but it doesn’t work out.
Surprisingly, Ayushmann Khurrana is not seen in his familiar style. He always plays the role of a victim but in this film he plays the role of the instigator. And in this he does a little over. Apart from this, the biggest surprise is that his screen presence in the film is very limited. At the same time, Gajraj Rao has a lot of presence on the screen followed by Jitendra Kumar and then Ayushmann. Gajraj Rao looks great as always and delivers as per the script. Jitendra Kumar does full justice to his character and has some great scenes in the first half. Neena Gupta is average. Manurishi Chaddha and Sunita Rajwar (Champa) fit their respective roles. Pankhuri Awasthi (Kusum) is quite funny. Maanvi Gagroo brings some laughs. Neeraj Singh (Keshav) is decent. Bhumi Pednekar is inactive while Gopal Dutt (the doctor in the train) is fine.
The music blends well with the film. ‘Pyaar Tenu Karda Gabru’ is the best song followed by ‘Are Pyaar Kar Le’ which is played in the end credits of the film. ‘Ooh La La’ comes at a spectacular juncture while ‘Mere Liye Tum Kahi Ho’ is forgettable. The recreated version of ‘Kya Karate Tha Sajna’ sounds great, but it’s not put to good use. Karan Kulkarni’s background score adds to the quirks of the film.
Chirantan Das’s cinematography is apt. Ravi Srivastava’s production design is in line with the setting of the film. Ankita Jha’s costumes are realistic and Ayushmann’s look is praiseworthy. Ninad Khanolkar’s editing is flawless.
Overall, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan makes a good effort to present the homophobia present in our country in an interesting manner. At the box office, the film will be successful in attracting youth in urban areas. However, it will be challenging to mobilize the family audience. The presence of Ayushmann Khurrana can help increase the box office collection of the film.