Much to the delight (and relief) of those who fancy watching sensible cinema, the days of a “hero” single-handedly beating up hundreds of villains, rescuing the heroine, serving the society are gradually, but surely coming to an end. This change can primarily be attributed to a smarter generation of audience who are no longer blindly following superstars, but are rather willing to spend on tickets to watch a well-thought-out movie – speaking of which reminds of the awe-inspiring experience I had watching Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan.
Ayushman seems to have found the success formula, making a lead appearance in some of last year’s most well-received films such as Article 15 and one of my favorites, Dream Girl. The actor has nerves of steel as he seems to be accepting roles that most leading Bollywood actors would not be comfortable with. This ballsy attitude has paid off for Khurana as he won two consecutive Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor for playing a visually impaired pianist in Andhadhun and an honest cop in Article 15, and the National Film Award for Best Actor for the former.
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan revolves around Aman Tripathi (played by Jitendra Kumar) and Kartik Singh (played by Ayushmann Khurranna) who find true love in Delhi. As their relationship is secretly evolving, Kartik decides to go back to Allahabad and convince Aman’s parents for their approval, despite knowing about their orthodox nature.
Kartik comes out to his family as a teenager and as expected, faces the wrath of his ‘lohar’ father. He isn’t a stranger to being judged or ridiculed, but Aman, on the other hand, simply dreads confronting his family. Kartik never gives up hoping that his love for Aman will eventually melt the hearts of Tripathais, Aman believes the chances of that happening are next to impossible!
The romantic comedy starts with Aman and Kartik chasing a train to Allahabad, where they are slated to face an uphill battle with Aman’s family. Writer-director Hitesh Kewalya has justified the time he takes to build up the drama, which triggers after a steamy make-out session between the couple.
Aman is expected to repay the debt of his ‘father’s sperm’ by agreeing to marry Kusum (played by Pankhuri Awasthy). While the characters are well-stitched into the narrative, my favorite was the smooth-talking, careless Kartik, played by Ayushmann Khuranna. Jitendra Kumar’s depiction of docile Aman is praiseworthy as well. Unlike Ayushmann, who steals the limelight with his infectious energy, Jitendra balances the infectious energy with his poker-faced humor.
Other notable supports casts include Maanvi Gagroo, who plays Goggle (a.k.a. Rajini), a 27-year-old girl desperately waiting to get married. Gajraj Rao portrays the role of a failed scientist and dominating patriarch, yet funny every time the situation demands. Neena Gupta delivers some of the most hilarious punch lines and showcases a small-town mentality to a T.
The film delivers a social message in the form of a comedy; however, it remains to be seen whether or not it can trigger a conversation about gay love in two-tier cities – that’s highly unlikely, in my opinion. The songs in SMZS are less, but catchy with the legend Bappi Lahiri making an appearance in the concluding song.