Film: Shubh Mangal Savdhan
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Seema Pahwa,
Director: R S Prasanna
This film plays out like an impromptu act that gained momentum while in performance mode. It appears that a one-line concept note just got stretched to feature length along the way. The hero Mudit (Ayushmann Khurrana) supposedly has performance anxiety (that’s what the doctor deemed) and that explains his erectile dysfunction. Unfortunately for him it hits him while he is in the act of love-making with the first girl, Sugu a.k.a Sugandha (Bhumi Pednekar) he is willing to go all the way with. To make matters worse both families get involved in helping him back to arousal- and their methods only make the ensuing melee limpid and uninteresting.
Erectile dysfunction may be stress related but that’s certainly not the only reason for such sexual dysfunction. But who can argue with filmmakers hell-bent on trivialising issues of sexual debilitation through ridiculous slapstick. I accept that filmmakers today are grappling with a scissor and beep happy censor board so dialogue writers have to be really creative in conveying messages relating to issues that the conservative state might find yucky and undesirable.
This film is replete with dialogues that are meant to be symbolic but sound awfully retrograde and degenerate. Imagine hearing the mother of the girl uttering words like ‘please help Alibaba get into the cave?’ as a plea to get her soon-to-be son-in-law sexually active again.
This film which is a remake of the 2013 released Tamil film Kalyana Samayal Saadham, directed by the original’s director himself- R S Prasanna, goes through the motions of making a lot of noise about a ‘Gents problem’ they seem to have little idea about. The prospective groom is shown as taking his continued humiliation in his stride while the about-to-be bride keeps harping on his disability, thus putting a damper on their romance-yet she is not willing to let him go. To top it, the parents get aggrieved about ‘premarital sex’ as an afterthought.
Too contrived and illogical in its attempt to do public service, this feature length dramedy has a few ticklish moments but largely it goes the way of a sutured comedy that keeps adding on rag-tag sequences to fluff-up the runtime. The narrative goes to unbelievable lengths to straighten out the limpness inherent in the theme being highlighted here. The family squabbles on show here also come across as forced.
The writers come up with unconvincing twists to keep the aggravated twosome together. A surprise cameo doesn’t do much to extend believability either. Ayushmann Khurrana’s effortlessly performance is worth appreciating but Bhumi Pednekar’s hardworking one borders on irritating. This is a well-meaning film no doubt but who is going to sit through its floppy incipient shenanigans?