Ayushmann Khurrana Starrer ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’ is a pure gold. After dealing with a sensitive subject of erectile dysfunction in ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan'(2017), this time ‘SMZS’ acknowledges a gay love story like never before! From Shoojit Sircar’s ‘Vicky Donor’ (2012) to Hitesh Kewalya’s ‘SMZS’ (2020) Bollywood mainstream films have come a long way. Special mentions for R.Balki’s social drama ‘Padman’ (2018) which dealt with the low cost sanitary pads and its awareness & importance, next Shelly Chopra Dhar’s critically acclaimed lesbian love story ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’ (2019). It feels great to see that Hindi films are getting bold and mature with times. ‘SMZS’ isn’t just a love story between the same gender, it’s more about how we are as the torchbearers of the homophobic society. Homosexuality still remains a taboo in the homophobic society where people treat this as a mental disease and always feel scared & worried about the others if their child is a homosexual. They believe it’s against the law of the nature and there’s no outcome of such relationships. ‘SMZS’ not only asks pertinent questions to the patriarchal society but also exposed their mental blocks. The message is loud and clear,”My sexuality is my sexuality. It’s not of your sexuality.”
STORY:- Shankar Tripathi (Gajraj Rao) a conservative father from Allahabad, finds his son Aman Tripathi (Jitendra Kumar) kissing another guy named Kartik Singh (Ayushmann Khurrana) within a train compartment. Ever since he witnesses that he starts vomiting and feeling unwell in the train. Later he tries his level best to keep his son away from that guy. But soon the duo (Jitendra & Aman) make their relationship status clear to all while kissing each other in a wedding ceremony, Shankar and his wife Sunaina Tripathi (Neena Gupta) start blaming each other for such an ugly act of their son. When Shankar blames his wife Sunaina for her affection & care towards her son, She says, “Main maa hu. Maa ke paas dil hota hai.” Hearing this the father instantly replies, “Tumhare paas dil hai to main kya battery se chalta hoon?”
The parents of Aman leave no stone unturned to cure the disease of their only son who’s deeply in love with Kartik. But instead of accepting it they try to marry him with Kusum (Pankhuri Awasthy). She also wants to marry Aman for her own intentions and eventually convinces Aman for their marriage. But How will Kartik react to their plan? What is in store for their love for each other? Does it get acceptance or it’ll face rejection from the families? Do such love stories of same gender have any hopes? Can it really survive or exist against the all odds in this homophobic society? All these questions form the crux of this story.
Ayushmann Kurrana’s character ‘Kartik’ in the film asks a pertinent question to everyone, “Kabhi socha hai hamesha ‘Jack’ ke saath ‘Jill’ hi kyun jati hai hill pe?? ‘Jack’ ke saath ‘Johny’ bhi toh ja sakta hai.”
POSITIVES:- Hitesh Kewalya’s ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’ is like a rainbow. Content is the king here. A taboo subject of a gay love story told in a humorous way. Never for a moment it makes you feel that the story unintentionally make fun on the gay people instead the screenplay throw lights on the peculiar activities of homophobic people. The idea is to show that how they react on such incidents, how they behave within the family and in the society if anyone from their family members becomes different from the usual. Writing is mostly engaging and thoroughly entertaining. Hitesh Kewalya’s direction is praise worthy and quite promising. His best is saved as the dialogue writer of the film. To mention a few I would love to mention the conversations happened amongst Shankar, his wife Sunaina with their only son Aman. He says to his parents, “Kartik ko maine pehli baar dekha tha, meri badi ho gayi thi.” After a pause he adds, “Putli aankhon ki putliyaa badi ho gayi thi.”- the kind of facial expression Gajraj Rao Ji and Neena Gupta deliver in such scenes is extraordinary yet hilarious. Double meaning one liners are intelligently placed in the film. Loved the line which says,”Susu ke piche Science hai, pyar ke piche bhi science hai.”
There’re some people who’re saying that the homosexual love story shifts to family drama in the second half but the thing is that it’s required to portray their dysfunctional family relationships between brothers, husband and wife, and children with their parents.
Role & Performance-wise Gajraj Rao Ji’s character is the real hero of this film. From carrying a typical mindset of a small town father to moving away from the stereotypical approach in the end, his character goes through a huge transformation. OUTSTANDING Performance by Gajraj Rao. In fact he outshines everyone with his remarkable act. The tearjerker climax & his finale act will blow your mind and makes you feel the pain of a caring father. He’ll be remembered for years as ‘Shankar Tripathi.’ Neena Gupta is equally brilliant as the wife of Gajraj Rao. In fact their chemistry is so natural which makes you feel that they starts exactly from where they left in ‘Badhaai Ho’ two years back. Although not excellent, Ayushmann Khurrana yet again delivers a good performance as ‘kartik Singh’ whereas Jitendra Kumar as his love interest, Aman Tripathi surprises one and all. He’ll go a long way for sure. Manu Rishi Chadha as Shankar’s brother ‘Chaman Tripathi’ is hilariously funny. His Tug of war with his big brother or the conversation with Kartik is a treat to watch out for. Maanvi Gagroo as Aman’s 27 years old cousin sister ‘Goggle Tripathi’ makes her presence felt with her believable act. The crisis of her character is quite evident in the film. Pankhuri Awasthy as ‘Kusum’ looks sweet & charming. Sunita Rajwar as ‘Champa Tripathi’ gives a decent performance.
Chirantan Das’s Dop is effective. Ravi Srivastava’s production design is wonderful, same goes for the amazing art directon by Vilas Kolap. Ninad Khanolkar’s sharp editing ensures the runtime of less than 2 hours. Coming To Music, I liked ‘Mere liye tum kaafi ho’- beautifully sung by Ayushmann Khurrana. No one can match with Bappi Lahiri’s Golden voice when he sings “Pyar bina chain kaha re/Pyar bina chain kaha re! Sona nahi chandi nahi yar toh mila, arey pyaar karle.”
NEGATIVES:- Ayushmann Khurrana aka Kartik Singh’s character could have been fleshed out in a better way. The way we get to see the details of Aman’s family, we hardly get to know about Kartik’s family except once or twice mention about his father in the narrative. Kartik & Aman’s love story deserves more attention. Bhumi Pednekar’s special appearance hardly adds any value to the storyline. Post interval the film slightly dips for sometimes. Although two songs are good in the film but overall the music album isn’t satisfactory. Tanishk Bagchi should try to give some original music rather than rearranging and remixing old songs for new films. By any day listeners love to hear fresh music over recreating ones.
FINAL WORDS:- All said & done, ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’ is an important social satire for the homophobic society. They shouldn’t feel shy at all to watch this film as it captures them exactly the way they’re. GO FOR IT.