It’s raining movies. It always has. But this time there’s a deluge of the small-town-storyline film which more often than not features the very same actors in similar sounding roles. It all started with “Dum Laga Ke Haisha”, which was a fantastic movie by the way. Then this year we’ve just gotten through “Toilet, Ek Prem Katha”, “Bareilly ki Barfi” and now there’s Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, which isn’t technically small-town. 2 of the three films have the same leading actors : Ayushmann Khurana and Bhumi Pednekar.
This time they’re Mudit and Sugandha of Gurgaon, about to get hitched via the arranged-cum-love route. Calamity strikes in an unexpected fashion :), but Sugandha will have none of it. Tempers flare, the groom wants to call off the wedding, but Sugu is steadfast. Will the matter come to a satisfactory conclusion (bad pun notwithstanding)?
Director Prasanna, who put together the Tamil original of this film, is also at the helm of “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan”. And while he does a fine job – gorgeous attention to detail, real thinking-feeling characters whom we can root for, and pleasant music – the real heroes are the actors. Khurana and Pednekar need no introduction – they can probably play middle-class young folk in love in their sleep by now. So too Seema Pahwa, who’s still fabulous, regardless. Her role as Sugu’s mother is an almost exact reprise of Kriti Sanon’s mother in “Bareilly ki Barfi”.
There’s this scene in the film where Sugandha’s concerned mom attempts to teach her not-so-virginal daughter about the birds and the bees. In true Indian maa-wala fashion, she names no names but does the explaining by analogy – the Ali Baba and 40 Thieves analogy – the whole scene had me in splits. There are other metaphors and analogies in this film (some involving tea and biscuits) but “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan” keeps it at that – there is no vulgarity; with the subject matter it could have easily gone in another direction.
I’d even say that “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan” is semi-feminist because it takes up for women where many films just bow down and succumb in the name of “traditional values”. The film questions the practice of assigning various “dosh” (faults) to the woman by default. Both the bride and groom have strong opinions and personalities; Sugu is no shrinking violet. Also her dad is pretty concerned about her happiness in the in-law home, even in the face of great family “dishonor”.
Shubh Mangal has heart. And it’s cute. I liked it – not a bad way to spend your time. Go see!