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Shubh Mangal Savdhaan review: Cinema of small things

A still from Shubh Mangal Savdhaan

A still from Shubh Mangal Savdhaan   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Crackling dialogue, Seema Pahwa in all her glory and an effective ensemble. But haven’t we been there before?

Back in 2015, in Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Seema Pahwa played the mother, concerned about her daughter’s marriage not getting consummated, suggesting that she should watch English films for stimulation. “Mahaul banega, kranti aayegi vicharon mein” (It will help build the mood, rouse your feelings). In Shubh Mangal Savdhaan she reprises the same mother figure but with such fresh light-footedness that you almost let go of the concurrent feeling of déjà vu. Hear her try talking about the birds and the bees — Aladdin and “gufa” (cave) — to her daughter Sugandha (Bhumi Pednekar) and it’d be difficult for even the most grim to not chortle and chuckle.

Shubh Mangal Savdhaan
  • Director: R.S. Prasanna
  • Starring: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Seema Pahwa, Brijendra Kala
  • Storyline: Mudit and Sugandha are about to get married when erectile dysfunction suddenly shows up as the villain of the piece.
  • Run time: 105.25 minutes

What is refreshing and hilarious in Shubh Mangal Savdhaan is the portrayal of sex as a familial concern; neither brushed under the carpet, nor turned into some boring biological lesson. Mudit (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Sugandha are about to get married when the spectre of erectile dysfunction begins to loom large, threatening to end their straight and simple love story into a tragedy.

It's a short and sweet film based on a wisp of an idea. However, though things are set well, the resolution gets clumsy and flat. To borrow an image from the film itself, it's a biscuit that’s crisp to start with, becoming a soggy, tea-dipped one towards the end.

However, any worries about Prasanna being able to get the North Indian milieu right in the Hindi version of his own Tamil original, Kalyana Samayal Saadham, are laid to rest. This is largely because of writer Hitesh Kewalya writing that fittingly hinges on the unobtrusive details and minutiae of life. Be it the Delhi lingo, its lingerie salesmen or the lives — and loves — that are staunchly banal and ordinary.

He writes some crackling scenes and dialogue — that first awkward attempt at a roll in the hay in the DDA flat with Neelesh Mishra on the radio as the soundtrack, the family brawl in the theatre or the encounter with a veterinarian who believes that man is also an animal — a social animal. There are also some inspired potshots taken at “Digital India” and demonetisation — the long queues and cashless ATMs as spots for romantic rendezvous.

Khurrana does yet another turn as a man weighed down by his complexes. Three films old and Pednekar is becoming firmly entrenched as this simple but strong and earnest girl who would bring her man — and his conscience — alive. The many characters, families and relationships, their quirks and quarrels feel relatable, played as they are by an ensemble of actors who seem to be born to their roles. Hope their welcome presence now doesn’t get sealed as a formula for the future. Shubh Mangal Savdhaan’s charm is in the little things than the bigger picture.

 

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 4:49:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/shubh-mangal-savdhaan-review-cinema-of-small-things/article19600856.ece

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