Mummyji sprinkles philosophy, maintaining, “A woman’s body is a hidden
treasure.” Next, summoning up a metaphor, she states, that only Ali Baba can
enter the cave (ahem), and not the 40 thieves.
A water tap runs
dry, a bourbon biscuit goes soggy. Ccc…lunk the biscuit falls in a cup of
tea. Aur yeh bhi lo, a daddyji thunders, “Nothing about my son can be small.”
Get the picture, then? Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (had to memorise the title as in a
school exam), directed by Tamil cinema’s actor-writer-director R.S Prasanna,
set out to titillate the audience, even while garbing itself under the burqa of
a family entertainer. Clever gambit.
Now, since the
producer of this rehaul of Prasanna’s Chennai-located droopedy Kalyana Sawayal
Saadham (2013) happens to be none other than Aanand L. Rai, the confectioner of
shaadi chukkars as in Tanu Weds Manu, expect plenty of micro-oven-warmed
homilies, cutie-pooh parents, and a quirky supporting ensemble. If you ask me,
the original, which may not have been any great shakes but a boffo hit, has
been recooked on a cunningly-lit low simmer.
A Still From Shubh Mangal Saavdhan
the wholesome-craving audiences, no? So go easy on the double entendres, on the
phallic symbols and strive to make it a ‘gent’s problem’. Hush up words like
erectile dysfunction and temporary impotence. Keep the dialoguebaazi
veiled, far away from those ‘Sarkailo khatiya’ dhinchak days of the
embarassing, pajama naadawala rib-ticklers from the fertile Bhawan of David
Dhawan. Just saying.
Okay, at this
point I’d like clarify that I’m no prude. Sex or the lack of it vis-à-vis
libidinous males (as in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Sabse Bada Sukh , Basu
Chatterjee’s Shaukeen and Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor) can be howlarious.
Admittedly, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan has its guffaw-out-loud moments. Moreover,
the stressed-out relationship between Mudit (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Sugandha
aka Sugu (Bhumi Pednekar) is tackled with sensitive rewriting, the sort which
compels you to come close to the hearts and minds of a couple on the cusp of
first-half of this below-the-waist dilemma of Mudit is replete with details of
the manners and foibles of the Dilliwallas. He’s from Gurgaon, she’s from Moti
Bagh. Within the cloistered morality of their middle class milieu, the elders
range from the nosey Parkers to the downright goofball. As for the
dubious doctors and Mudit’s buddies, they do their numbers with the required
quotient of concerned bystanders instead of tumbling over the top.
Sugandha isn’t portrayed as a shrinking violet, she’s assertive and capable of
taking an independent stance. Sorrily, though, it’s the climax (er, no pun
intended) which spins out of control, transporting you from the world of
quasi-reality to la-la-land. The last 15 minutes or so made me cross-eyed,
“Duh, what in the name of Beelzebub is happening out here?”
Clearly, the sex
comedy has its entertaining and believable segments. It’s the bid to present
the film as something else—a brief bump in the route between an engagment to
marriage – that’s as fake as a Rs 300 currency note. In the event, if you’re
willing to accept a blend of a plausible plot situation with the needless
element of the incredulous, then here’s your ticket to ride.
design is detailed especially in conveying the claustrophobia of Delhi’s
middle-income group colonies.
Bhumi Pednekar in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan
Add to that the
bonus of the ever-engaging supporting cast, dominated by Mummyji Seema Pahwa.
Bhumi Pednekar oozes confidence and uses her eyes and voice effectively.
Incidentally, Lekha Washington played the part in the Tamil original, and was
absolutely endearing. This is not to say Ms Pednekar was the wrong choice. Not
at all. Still guys, check out Ms Washington (Kalyana Sawayal Saadham is
accessible on Youtube). She’d be an outstanding import to the Bollywood enclave
As for Ayushmann
Khurrana, he plays the difficult part of Mudit with restraint, conveying a mix
of vulnerability and befuddlement about the gent’s thing-thang.
In sum, Shubh
Mangal Saavdhan is neither all good nor all bad. Keep your expectations low and
you won’t be disappointed.