Over the last three decades, Bollywood has come up with quite a few films on homosexuality like FIRE , MY BROTHER NIKHIL , EK LADKI KO DEKHA TOH AISA LAGA , ALIGARH , MARGARITA WITH A STRAW  etc. Aanand L Rai and T-Series are now all set to bring SHUBH MANGAL ZYADA SAAVDHAN and unlike other gay-themed films, this one is light-hearted and looks quite commercial. Moreover, it stars Ayushmann Khurrana, who has become a brand in himself. So does SHUBH MANGAL ZYADA SAAVDHAN manage to entertain? Will it succeed in becoming the first legitimate LGBT-themed hit film of Bollywood? Or does it fail to succeed? Let’s analyse.
SHUBH MANGAL ZYADA SAAVDHAN is the story of two men in love in Section 377 era. Aman Tripathi (Jitendra Kumar) is the son of Shankar Tripathi (Gajraj Rao) and Sunaina (Neena Gupta), who are based in Allahabad. Aman works in Delhi and unknown to his family, he’s a gay and is living in with Kartik (Ayushmann Khurrana). Jitendra’s cousin sister Goggle (Maanvi Gagroo) is getting married and Neena calls Aman to come back to attend her marriage. Aman at first refuses but then gives in. Kartik also joins him and they meet the entire Tripathi family in a marriage special train called Vivah Express. In the train, Aman and Kartik kiss when they assume that no one is looking. Sadly for them, Shankar sees them and he gets the shock of his life. He doesn’t tell anyone about it out of shame. At Goggle’s marriage, Aman, in front of everyone, kisses Kartik, thus astonishing the Tripathi family. Thanks to this development, Goggle’s to be husband refuses to get married. In anger, Goggle runs away. Kartik is asked to leave and Shankar’s brother and Goggle’s father Chaman (Manurishi Chadha) drops him off to Allahabad station. At the railway station, Kartik bumps into Goggle and stops her from ending her life. She tells Kartik that he shouldn’t run away and that he should fight for his love. This motivates Kartik and he decides to return to win over not just Jitendra but the entire Tripathi family. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
Hitesh Kewalya’s story is decent and had the potential to be a game-changer. Hitesh Kewalya’s screenplay however is a big culprit. Under the pretext of making situations funny, he resorts to too many difficult-to-digest situations. This was prevalent in SHUBH MANGAL SAAVDHAN as well but there, they kept a nice balance. Here, the balance is just not there. The first half is still decent. But in the second half, it all goes downhill. Hitesh Kewalya’s dialogues are witty but some of them are just over the top. It won’t be wrong to say that even the one-liners, which are supposed to be funny, take away the realism from the film.
Hitesh Kewalya’s direction is weak. The film has lot of subplots but he doesn’t put it together well. A major chunk of the film is about rift within the family and during such times, the principle homosexuality angle takes a backseat. Also, he should have succeeded completely in two aspects – comedy and messaging. Sadly in both these areas, he doesn’t do justice. Even the black cauliflower angle that provided laughs initially proved to be the biggest downer of the film in the climax. It gave a bad déjà vu of the ‘kala bandar’ angle of DELHI-6 . On the positive side, he handles few scenes with élan and some scenes genuinely raise laughs.
SHUBH MANGAL ZYADA SAAVDHAN’s starts off on a funny note and the subplot of black cauliflower appears hilarious. Devika’s (Bhumi Pednekar) scene too adds to the fun. The scene where Shankar Tripathi catches the lovers kissing brings the house down. Scenes like Aman kissing Kartik in full public view and Aman talking to his parents about dopamine and other such stuff keep the interest going. Post interval however, the film drops. The scenes are supposed to be funny but don’t make you laugh. Also it becomes too preachy and unconvincing. The makers try their best to make things interesting but it doesn’t work.
Bhumi Pednekar: “My Mother Told Me To Do Shubh Mangal Saavdhan”
Ayushmann Khurrana shockingly is not in his usual form. He has always played the victim but here, he plays the instigator and an actor of his calibre should have hit the ball out of park. Shockingly, he goes overboard. The other bigger shocker is that his screen time is very limited. Believe it or not, Gajraj Rao has the maximum screen time followed by Jitendra and then comes Ayushmann! Gajraj Rao however is too good as always and performs as per the script. Jitendra Kumar fits the role to the T and few of his scenes in the first half are great. Neena Gupta is average. Manurishi Chadha and Sunita Rajwar (Champa) do justice to their respective parts. Pankhuri Awasthy (Kusum) is quite funny. Maanvi Gagroo raises few laughs. Neeraj Singh (Keshav) is decent. Bhumi Pednekar is passable while Gopal Dutt (Doctor in the train) is okay.
Music is peppy and gels with the film. ‘Pyaar Tenu Karda Gabru’ is the best followed by ‘Arey Pyaar Kar Le’, which is played in the end credits. ‘Ooh La La’ comes at a great point while ‘Mere Liye Tum Kaafi Ho’ is forgettable. The recreated version of ‘Kya Karte The Saajna’ sounds great but is not utilised well. Karan Kulkarni’s background score adds to the quirkiness of the film.
Chirantan Das’s cinematography is appropriate. Ravi Srivastava’s production design is in sync with the film’s setting. Ankita Jha’s costumes are realistic and special mention should go to Ayushmann’s look. Ninad Khanolkar’s editing is sans complaints.
On the whole, SHUBH MANGAL ZYADA SAAVDHAN is a decent attempt and makes an interesting comment on homophobia which exists in our country. At the box office, it has the chance to work with the urban audiences, especially the youth. However, it will be a challenge to bring in family audiences and the audiences from small towns and cities. The presence of Ayushmann Khurrana may give a boost to its collections.