Bollywood Film Review “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan”



First, the Recap:

Ok, ladies and gentlemen. How many times have we seen those lovely television commercials talking about “when the time is right….” and hints about couples being seemingly anywhere, anytime when the “mood” strikes them, there’s that wonderful little pill all ready to aid the good man in the act to follow. It’s a–position–no man actually desires to be in when it comes to, well, performance issues. Yet, for one strapping Delhi-ite gent named Mudit Sharma (Ayushmann Khurrana), he’s sadly about to find out exactly how it feels. Having overtly dodged actually approaching the young woman of his dreams, Sugandha (Bhumi Pednekar), effectively every time he’s seen her out and about around town, the urging of his friends to take the leap finally wins out.

Upon meeting and talking with her for the first times, it becomes a hilariously playful game between the two, her playing a little hard to get and him constantly trying to muster the courage to stand tall and impress her. Finally, when things are at their best point between them, having officially arranged their pending marriage, Sugandha and Mudit decide the time has come to “do it”. Of course, it is at this juncture where Mudit faces the harsh reality he has a certain “gent’s” dysfunction preventing them from consummating the act desired. Everything spins out of control, and with nosy, outraged parents, friends on both sides trying to offer encouragement, and countless “suggestions” to help out, it soon becomes a question mark whether the couple can make their upcoming marriage, and doing “it”, work out in the end.

Next, my Mind:

Let’s be honest here, the foundational premise for this new Bollywood romcom, in real life, should be no laughing matter for any man to have to fess up to or deal with.  But here, boy does it make for hilarious cinema! Thanks to deft writing, totally engaging dialogue, a perfectly suited cast, and simply the overall visual and intelligent directing so much found in Indian films, director/story writer R.S. Prasanna reimagines/remakes his own 2013 Southern India, Tamil-language effort “Kalyana Samayal Saadham“, making it his official Bollywood debut, delivering all-encompassing entertainment in spades. Laughs abound throughout, as does the more serious drama when necessary, though the majority of the effort remains light-hearted as it should, while the romance is both affecting and a tad “forced” as it were, mainly when a certain someone is desperately wanting to “get it in” and cannot. All of it is played for humor, and is done very successfully so. The music, as with almost any Bollywood project, is fun, dance worthy, and well choreographed.  Always a pleasure to see.

Khurrana is so well-suited for a character like this, and he certainly takes full advantage to both ham it up and showcase more dramatic chops as Mudit, a regular guy, shy and unsure, who finds it hard enough as it is to simply even be near the woman he knows he must be with, much less end up in the predicament he does once they’ve actually met, gotten to know each other, are engaged, and finally choose to be intimate. Watching as Mudit has to navigate the storm of insanity that follows with everyone around him from friends to family to soon-to-be in-laws thinking they know what’s best and how he can, um, rise to the occasion is a total riot, yet in the humor, you cannot help but sympathize and feel sorry for the upheaval it’s caused. Khurrana is fantastic at bringing out all these nuances and facets to Mudit’s character, and his comic timing is quite impressive, even though he can also be the laid back, suave, in control leading man persona as well.

Pednekar is likewise a great choice to play Sugandha, a young, strong, confident, independent woman whose initial, annoyance-laden regard for Mudit and his severe lack of fortitude to even say “Hi!” to her is quite jovial in itself and provides plenty of comedic fodder. It becomes even more high-spirited and teasing once he does finally breach the distance, as she then intentionally makes courting her a challenge, as if to truly test his resolve as a man to woo and win her, and this also is uproarious to witness. But, she’s very much invested in the relationship, despite the frustrations of his meekness added to the unfortunately circumstance she then finds out about when it comes to getting physical with him. Pednekar’s down-to-earth beauty, demeanor, and overall delivery so wonderfully allow her to enact this character believably, with charm and poise, while not allowing the character to be any kind of pushover. It’s all so well done.

Supporting roles play just as much into the hilarity here, including the priceless Seema Bhargava Pahwa is Sugandha’s mother, whose idea of sharing with her daughter about sex is erotic poetry, Neeraj Sood as Sugandha’s humorously volatile, overly protective father,  Supriya Shukla and Chittaranjan Tripathy as Mudit’s parents, plus Manuj Sharma as Duggal, Brijendra Kala as Sugandha’s Uncle, Anshul Chauhan as Sugandha’s friend Ginni, and Gopal Dutt as a vet who becomes a unwilling accomplice to trying to “aid” Mudit.  In total, “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan”, with its “taboo” themes, inoffensively uninhibited, laugh-inducing dialogue, hysterical characters, and ultimately heartwarming manner, is another excellent Bollywood offering well worth investing the time to take in and be thoroughly satisfied by.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!


Leave a Reply