Ayushmann Khurrana’s “gents problem” is not a matter of private discussion. Much like everything else in the great North Indian wedding, his erectile dysfunction involves the parents, the family, the extended family, the friends…everyone.
The bride and the groom’s parents are sitting in awkward silence, a plate of untouched sweets lying on the table. The groom’s father, finally stammers. So we need to talk about that thing, hinting that this may be the dowry conversation. “Aap baratiyon ka swagat Pan Parag se kijiye”, mouthing the popular tobacco ad from the 80s. The bride’s mother is a small time TV actress, and her face brightens in recognition. She knows the answer, but prods and feeds the response to her husband. “Aap bhi Pan Parag ke shaukeen hai?”, he mumbles.
Ayushmann Khurrana’s “gents problem” is not a matter of private discussion. Much like everything else in the great North Indian wedding, his erectile dysfunctioning involves the parents, the family, the extended family, the friends…everyone. Bets are placed on whether he can “do it”. Arguments break out, and fights occur. Director RS Prasanna not only takes the problem mainstream to the outside world, he brings it in your home and to your family.
There’s a lot to like about the film. It has a superb ensemble of actors, who bring alive the North Indian setting it is narrated in. The dialogue is key; with a topic like this, it would be easy to fall for cliches or take the vulgar route. It does neither, and is simply hilarious. It has moments of great originality and humor – the bear grabbing Ayushmann’s leg, the biscuit as the new metaphor for male genitalia, the families waiting with bated breath outside the room, fervently hoping that the couple will emerge after consummating their relationship a day BEFORE the wedding.
Both Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar deserve special mention for their performances. The middle class Delhi boy is staple for him, but playing one with an erectile dysfunction? He takes it up with grace and wit. Her diction isn’t as authentic as his, but it is still pretty damn good. She does it with spunk and sass, and together, they’re more than memorable in the film.
Where the film stands out is how well it recognizes the middle class youth of today. They’re aspirational but within the familial confines. They’re bold about sex on the outside, but cautious and timid when it comes down to the act. And yet, they’re capable of breaking their own stereotype if they’re pushed to it.
Breezy but never trivial, clean even in taking up a topic that’s potentially coarse, Shubh Mangal Savdhaan is a sparkling fresh film debut from a director to watch out for.
Hindi, Comedy, Color