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Shubh Mangal Saavdhan: Nothing ‘ashubh’ about it

Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pedneker, director R S Prasanna and writer Anand L Rai; A still from the film Photo: Nagara Gopal

Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pedneker, director R S Prasanna and writer Anand L Rai; A still from the film Photo: Nagara Gopal  

The team hopes to initiate a healthy debate about anxiety issues in men

You need something out of the box to reinvent the promotional rigmarole that celebrities go through before a film release, the Shubh Mangal Saavdhan team made sure their interaction with the press in Hyderabad broke away from the mould.

It was stand-up comedian Jeeveshu Ahluwalia (he was introduced as Shankar Mahadevan to begin with, given his similar appearance) in place of a formal anchor/moderator who guided through the proceedings, lifting the spirits of a limited crowd at The Park, Somajiguda. The stand-up act in coherence with the romance element in the film had Jeeveshu asking crowds about marriage, relationships and private space.

Actor Vijay Deverakonda joined Jeeveshu soon and was no less in matching his wit. He shared nuggets about how he had bunked college to go on dates, given a degree in commerce neither interested him nor required him to work hard. Enamoured by what Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar managed to do in Dum Lagake Haisha, Vijay was hopeful that Shubh Mangal... would repeat the magic. Ayushmann, Bhumi and Vijay took time to recreate a light-hearted sequence metaphorising erectile dysfunction in the film, leaving the crowd in splits.

Shubh Mangal Saavdhan: Nothing ‘ashubh’ about it

Talking about the film, the Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (the Hindi remake of Tamil film Kalyana Samayal Saadham) team revealed the shoot didn’t feel like a remake at all. Director R S Prasanna added, “Every film is set against a new cultural backdrop and what I had done in this film is different from the original. So, there was no chance of boredom or deja vu.”

The film talks about anxiety issues in men, something the audiences need to speak and know about, in times where we discuss gender-parity everyday, mentioned Ayushmann. “We talk so much about the physical and mental issues that a woman undergoes, the men somehow are expected to deal with it when the issue is sexual. We have only used metaphors to talk about it here. Anand L Rai, known for his clean family entertainers, is producing the film and that has helped us with the audience trust.” The team added that the film has been made in tune with the tastes of family audiences, and there’s nothing uncomfortable about its treatment.

“I’ve known friends and families where divorces have happened because of not talking about physical anxiety in men,” Prasanna chipped in. “There are two ways to think that this is the right time to talk about an issue like that in a film. Sometimes, the audience gives us a hint that they are ready and otherwise, it’s the filmmaker who feels that the audience needs to know about it,” producer Anand L Rai said he was also happy to have had smart actors like Ayushmann and Bhumi who endorsed quality films.

Bhumi Pednekar, on a high after the success of Toilet-Ek Prem Katha, mentioned that being a part of unconventional films has helped her case. She had said, “I would only want to be a part of films that I would like to watch as an audience and I am blessed to find such good work. A Dum Lagake Haisha doesn’t happen everyday.”

Jeeveshu, meanwhile, kept the humourous undertone of the event going, and added that Bhumi Pednekar gave him hope that there could be a woman who could accept him with weight issues through Dum Lagake Haisha.

Responding to the worry of being typecast in roles that talked of adult issues in a lighter vein, Ayushmann averred, “It’s important to make a space for yourself before trying different films. I believe, if you choose contrasting films early in your career, you would be exhausting yourself as an actor. I’m acting in Sriram Raghavan’s thriller next. So, yes, that’s a welcome break.”

Shubh Mangal Saavdhan hits theatres on September 1.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 11:49:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/shubh-mangal-saavdhan-nothing-ashubh-about-it/article19575113.ece

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