Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan

wogma rating: Watch when on TV/online (?)

quick review:

In its attempt to keep things light, the film becomes loud and meanders. In its attempt to make a point, it breaks into spurts of short speeches. In the one aspect, it wants to create awareness about, it doesn’t go beyond a couple of wisecracks.

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Director: Hitesh Kewalia
Running time: 120 minutes
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Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan - Preview

What a brand Ayushman Khurana has created! Without batting an eye, even if you were woken up from deep sleep, if someone described the trailer to you, you’d know he’s playing one of the leads, right? The trailer also seems to take mainstream cinema a few steps beyond. While the film is firmly centred around homosexuality of its lead pair, it doesn’t shy away from making it a sex comedy. Now, whether it will be one that will make you laugh or cringe, is yet to be seen.

Other than that of course, the trailer seems to be controlling itself from bursting into a full-blown preachy monologue about the taboo against homosexuality. And when it is not that, it looks like it will replicate dinner table conversations about being gay. Really hoping it will cross these boundaries too.

Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan releases on 21 February 2020.

- meeta, a part of the audience

The two things Shubh Mangal Zyaada Saavdhan seems to shoot for is to express the romance between a homosexual couple and to fight against the taboo against homosexuality. On the first count, it doesn’t work too hard on the couple’s chemistry, expecting us to be satisfied with a couple of kisses and a few cheesy lines. On the second count, it doesn’t go beyond skin-deep education about the ‘science’ of homosexuality. In any case, can an audience be bothered with the latter, if it is not invested in the first? Of course, the attempt itself is still brave, and there are a few good laughs in there.

In its aim to explain homosexuality to the audience, it comes across as reading out Wikipedia entries.

The film keeps its telling light through the film. There aren’t too many laugh-out-loud moments, but there are bits that make your smile linger. However, the rest of the time, the movie is either loud and dramatic or is outright slapsticky. Given that the intention is to stick to the 90s love-stories format, some of the theatrics can be called a tribute. But, it gets tiring when the movie isn’t moving forward. It stays about convincing one of the families—from beginning to end.

The movie begins with this couple. They are already in love. The only reason we know this is that they say so, and show so through their passionate kisses. But, that isn’t enough to convince us of their love story. Aman’s (Jitendra Kumar) struggle between his family and love lacks introspection. Without that depth, Kartik’s (Ayushman Khurana) fight for Aman’s love seems lop-sided.

Of course, given any couple and a situation, one person takes on the responsibility of empowering the other. Here, except for the couple of times, Aman has had enough, it is largely Kartik’s effort. This kept me from rooting for the lead couple. I do hope this wasn’t because Ayushman Khurana is the star here.

The actors aren’t challenged at all. Right from Gajraj Rao to Neena Gupta to Manurish Chadha to Sunita Rajwar, and even Ayushman Khurana and Jitendra—none of them has to do anything extraordinary. Maanvi Gagroo is the only one that stands out owing to the spunk she adds to her half-written character.

Interestingly her character (Goggle) is the only that the writers seemed to have engaged with more than superficially. Her character is used to shine a sarcastic light on...something. The film isn’t entirely clear about it, but the fact that it wants to say something through her. It could be the treatment of the girl child in a family with sons. It could be how she manages to develop a personality of her own despite the shoddy treatment. It could be that a woman can develop a strong personality even though she is disregarded by the others in a joint family if her parents don’t do the same. It could be that this second-class treatment allows the family to be sure that she will take care of herself. It could be the importance of “getting married” even the girl/individual(?) is perfectly capable of being happy by herself. There is something about this character that the film wants to use but does so half-heartedly. Because the focus is supposed to be elsewhere—on homosexual relationships.

The rest of the cast holds a couple of expressions each. Mostly because the writers give their characters only that much of a personality. Including the lead couple. Thankfully, the characters stay consistent and don’t have unbelievable turn-of-hearts.

Of course, the attempt itself is still brave, and there are a few good laughs in there.

Unfortunately, the main story gets a similar treatment. It is a shame that in its aim to explain homosexuality to the audience, it comes across as reading out Wikipedia entries. Quite literally, from a digital tablet no less. Instead of offering insight into a homosexual person’s feelings about their sexuality and their relationship with their partner. The little it does on that front is skimming over the emotions—to do the bare minimum, lest it becomes too serious.

While I appreciate the choice of keeping things light. But a speech given in a lighter vein is still a speech. And if only all speeches were convincing.

- meeta, a part of the audience

33 reviewers(?) - 19 yays 13 so-so 1 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Anna MM Vertticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...SMZS is funny, brave, smart and thoughtful, and Kewalya is a voice worth listening to.... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...We need more films like Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan which break the godddamned rules of ‘right’ living without getting judge mental about the conservative elements. A salute and a hurrah for the writer-director for sustaining a mischievous tone of rebuke and ribaldry all through without losing sight of the narretive’s serious undertones.... full review

Thumbs up, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, SHUBH MANGAL ZYADA SAAVDHAN is a decent attempt and makes an interesting comment on homophobia which exists in our country. At the box office, it has the chance to work with the urban audiences, especially the youth. However, it will be a challenge to bring in family audiences and the audiences from small towns and cities. The presence of Ayushmann Khurrana may give a boost to its collections.... full review

Thumbs up, by Devansh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Watch the film for its hilarious comedy, slick all around performances and ultimately for it's powerful message of love and acceptance...... full review

Thumbs up, by Sumit Raigure, Filmi Beat : ...Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan gives a lesson to homophobic people in society. The film has double masala of information and entertainment. It will not bore you for a single moment. After all, 'Iss Duniya Mein Pyaar Bina Chain Hi Kaha Hai'.... full review

Thumbs up, by Chaitanya Karthik, fullhyd.com : ...Shubh Mangal Zyaada Saavdhan is more about homophobia than it is about homosexuality. As far as delivering the message it tries to convey goes, it manages to do a good job despite its flaws. This is not a story about two gay characters in love - it's about love in its purest form.... full review

Thumbs up, by Vishal Verma, Glamsham.com : ...SHUBH MANGAL ZYADA SAAVDHAN ‘normalizes’ the same sex relationship debate with a quirky, funny and acceptable human approach. Having an easy, unforced and pleasantly feel good cinematic language that sees its lead actor Ayushmann Khurrana in top form as it nails the subject matter with glee. SHUBH MANGAL ZYADA SAAVDHAN will find a ‘special’ place in Bollywood mainstream cinema’s same sex LGBT landscape.... full review

Thumbs up, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is an important film that talks about an important subject conveyed in the simplest manner without sounding preachy at any given point. It touches your heart, makes you laugh and stays with you for a long time.... full review

Thumbs up, by Divyanshi Sharma, india today : ...The film scores full marks on the humour factor as some scenes will leave you in splits (watch out for the Aashiqui 2 reference! Ayushmann and Jitendra actually did it better than Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur). Yes, there are jokes that feel out of place at times, but they are said by the actors with such honesty that it is acceptable.... full review

Thumbs up, by R.M. Vijayakar, India West : ...The film is worth a watch as a fun story with a vital message told in light manner. Perhaps this ‘filmi’ way of giving out such an important message will work better than in all cases of the past. The effort deserves an “A” but we wish we could give it, as a film, a higher rating.... full review

Thumbs up, by Shalini Langer, indian express : ...At the same time, the chase of love is what Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is all about. Love that could spring between two men who look as everyday as Kartik and Aman (Khurrana is good, but Kumar is almost heartbreakingly fragile; full marks to the former for allowing the film to be so much about the latter). Love that ultimately binds families together, and shows up in unexpected ways. Love that goes beyond Romeo & Juliet, Shirin & Farhad, Jack & Jill, even Simran & Raj. Love that sees no colour/class, or the gender of the hand reaching out to help you into a running train.... full review

Thumbs up, by Vinamra Mathur, MiD DAY : ...In a superb scene, he recreates the iconic DDLJ train sequence, asking Jitendra to hold his hand so they can elope. How about giving him a no-holds-barred and larger-than-life love story where he plays a charming hero, paying tribute to the very actor he just emulated in this film? What could be better than to see a man with imperfect celluloid characters playing the perfect hero?... full review

Thumbs up, by Pankhurie Mulasi, Movie Talkies : ...However, the film does have some weaknesses. Like I said earlier Aman and Kartik’s relationship has not been explored in depth. The bickering amongst the Tripathis becomes too much after sometime. At some places the makers have tried too hard to make the audiences laugh. Also the reaction of his family members isn’t as extreme as one would have expected from a conservative family. Despite its flaws, it’s a beautiful film with a strong message. Do watch it this weekend to get entertained and yes, homosexuality is not a disease.... full review

Thumbs up, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Casting Ayushmann Khurrana here doesn’t make this the first mainstream rainbow flick, but it's deliberately-accessible style of writing should hopefully connect with a wider audience. The extent to which this film will influence minds or shape opinion on our queer brethren is debatable, but it’s surely a breezy watch. And in this era of iron-fisted rule, it might just be a good idea.... full review

Thumbs up, by Priyanka Sinha Jha, News18.com : ...A film’s cast is instrumental in making the film watchable and the abovementioned do a fine job keeping the audience glued to the screen with their antics. Khurrana, as usual, plays to his strengths and works the more flamboyant part, wearing his heart on his sleeves with Kumar as the bashful Aman and together, along with the aforementioned, they tide over the bits that don’t exactly stand out.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nikita Roy, Pinkvilla : ...All in all, I liked the movie despite having a predictable plot, with chuckle-worthy dialogues and a reasonable length. The movie deserves a watch as it one of the first commercial movies to talk about the subject which was and still an aberration.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Varma, Rediff : ...Where Khurrana's ability to repeatedly surprise hasn't lost an ounce of its touch, it's the quietly unassuming Jitendra Kumar who rises above the fun and frolic to reiterate the historical decision behind decriminalising Section 377: Love is love.... full review

Thumbs up, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...On the downside, somewhere midway the script tends to go round in circles and get messy even as the messaging gets heavy-handed. But the organic humour keeps surfacing to save the day. Kewalya’s call for our collective change of heart is irreverent and playful with a touch of warmth. It’s hard to resist that!... full review

Thumbs up, by Pallabi Day Purkayastha, Times of India : ...All in all, 'SMZS' will give small-town parents the much needed nudge, and maybe, in the distant future, they will have the strength to accept their offsprings for who they are. But, for now, watch it for the performances and the 'chaska' of love, with two men pouring their hearts out for the world to see and accept.... full review

So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...In all SHUBH MANGAL ZYADA SAVDHAAN does have its shortcomings mentioned above besides a familiar backdrop, repetitive visuals, a loud background score and routine soundtrack. But the film still decently scores as thankfully it neither presents the subject of homosexuality in any dark form nor portrays it typically as seen in many other films with a kind of guilt. Yet it is a comedy which has always been associated with such characters which might offend a few, if not many.... full review

So-So, by Russel D'silva, Bollywood Life : ...Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan movie review: Though funny and pertinent in doses, everything is not 'mangal' in this Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Several Hindi films have touched upon the subject of homosexuality in the past by taking a comical, and at times, borderline farcical look at the topic. Though not all have them been bad or insensitive (case in point being Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham's Dostana, which was just a lighthearted funny take), and some have even deviated from humour to paint a stark portrait of the grim reality (case in point being Manoj Bajpayee's Aligarh). However, what none have done is tackle the subject head on within the hardcore commercial space, starring big, mainstream actors. Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan attempts to change that, and through its heart is in the right place, unfortunately, this Ayushmann Khurrana starrer works only in parts. Scroll down to read my full Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan review: What's it about Though a spin-off of the 2017 hit film, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, this quasi-sequel has no bearing to its predecessor, taking off in an entirely different direction, with Kartik (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Aman (Jitendra Kumar) playing gay lovers, who — due to certain complications (not connected to their sexuality) arising in Delhi where they work — decide to set off to Allahabad (the timeline is set before the city's name was changed to Prayagraj) for the time being, and attend the wedding of the latter's cousin sister. It doesn't take long before Aman's father, Shankar Tripathi (Gajraj Rao), catches them cozying up to each other, which turns into a snowball effect, with Aman's entire family gradually learning of and trying to their best to separate the two. Related Stories Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan box office collection day 7: Ayushmann Khurrana starrer completes an average first week Filmy Friday: Box office roundup: With just one hit and no Rs 100 crore club film, Bollywood continues its dry spell in February Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan set to BEAT Shubh Mangal Saavdhan to become Ayushmann Khurrana's sixth-highest grosser What's hot Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan boasts a fine ensemble performance, with Ayushmann Khurrana once again in form, ably supported by Neena Gupta as Aman's mother, tron between her son's love and years of conditioning. The supporting players like Manurishi Chaddha and Maanvi Gagroo also get ample scope to shine, and use it to good effect. It's Gajraj Rao though who walks away with not only the meatiest role in the film (you could even say that he's the lead hero here), but also sinks his teeth deep enough into the part to walk away with another brilliant act in what is turning out to be a wonderful second coming for an extremely talented actor. The writing is good in places, with Hitesh Kewalya (who also doubles as the debut Director)'s script turning up certain gems of lines and scenes, highlighting the core issues, with a welcome light tone, about why our society at large is failing to wrap their heads around the normalcy of sexual diversity. Chirantan Das's cinematography is sufficiently serviceable in capturing the mood of a small town while editor Ninad Khanolkar keeps things crisp at under two hours. The music, too, while nothing to write home about, doesn't distract you from the proceedings. What's not I said that "the writing is good in places" because there are times (and more than a few of them) when it falls flat, with the humour being coerced from a situation offering precious little of it, which eventually dilutes a pertinent issue — precisely what the film tried not doing from the beginning. Plus, the reaction of the locals and authorities in a place like Allahabad seems too far fetched and casual as opposed to the harsh reality of how such tier-2 and tier-3 cities actually look or deal with instances that they see as sexual deviance. Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan really should have been based in a metropolitan for its approach to have struck a believable chord. It also doesn't help that Kewalya's direction also falters at the same portions where his script faces bumps, leaving it up to his actors to repeatedly pull off a rescue job, which most, except Jitendra Kumar, are up to the task for. The newcomer doesn't seem confident in his first, proper big-screen outing (he had appeared in a little known film like Gone Kesh prior to this), proving that it's an entirely different beast to tackle when making the switch from web series to films. BL Verdict Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is refreshingly funny and lighthearted in tackling a pertinent topic, till it stops being so and almost succumbs to the same trivializing of the topic it attempts to refrain from. Nevertheless, the message is beautiful, most of the performances are good and it's a victory in itself that homosexuality has been ushered into mainstream Bollywood, without neither farce nor preachiness, just as it should be, which will probably pave the way for better such endeavours in future.... full review

So-So, by SUPARNA SHARMA, Deccan Chronicle : ...I can’t really measure the impact Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is likely to have. Though it is quite upfront about gay relationships, including sex, and even weaves in the tragedy and irony of Section 377, of being legal one day, then illegal, and then legal again, it doesn’t breathe heavy, nor is it sanctimonious.... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, Deepa Gahlot : ...Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is, of course, politically correct in its plea for a ‘love is love’ inclusivity, but it is also loud and chaotic, with too much of Bollywood spoofing—how many times can one chuckle at DDLJ-inspired running-after-train scenes? There is hardly a normal conversation in the film; everybody speaks in self-conscious punch lines.... full review

So-So, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : .... On the whole, however, I quite enjoyed Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan. Not for its audacity or spirit, but for its simple commitment to the exercise of elevating the lowest common denominator. It panders, but just enough. It prods, but not too much. As Govinda, the inadvertent Bollywood hero of queer fashion, once said: Baby steps. Baby steps.... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, Film Companion : ...Writer-director Hitesh Kewalya tries hard to inject laughs into every scene and some of the lines sparkle but as a result, the emotions and characters don’t get enough room to breathe... full review

So-So, by Ankur Pathak, Huffington Post : ...It’s a complex dilemma that warrants a deeper interrogation and perhaps Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhaan is not that film, for it doesn’t even delve too deeply into the structural oppressions faced by the community. The film exists within the confines of the mainstream template that binds Bollywood, something that also makes it accessible to a huge population.... full review

So-So, by Sonal Gera, India TV : ...'Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan', by all means, is a movie with its heart at the right place. It just should have been treated better. It is inconsistent with its message, and kuchh zyada-consistent with its comic elements making it a difficult, rather confusing, experience. Watch it for Jeetendra Kumar's brilliant debut, the social message that underlines the narrative, some middle-class bonhomie, and as just another specimen from THE AYUSHMANN KHURRANA GENRE.... full review

So-So, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, some films take themselves too seriously because of their subject but this one had every scope to do everything differently. It gets stuck in the formula serving nothing close to extraordinary.... full review

So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is anything but perfect but is easy to watch - and like.... full review

So-So, by Vinayak Chakravorty, Outlook India : ...That way, one could look at it as an opportunity lost, given the reach the film and its lead actor are bound to enjoy.... full review

So-So, by Joginder Tuteja, Planet Bollywood : ...However, it’s just that had the film actually managed to cover the distance and gone beyond just making a statement while keeping the entertainment quotient alive right through, Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan could have emerged as a much better entertainer than what it eventually turns out to be.... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...One filmmaker lit the fuse, another stoked the embers in his own clumsy way, and a third has created a bonfire out of the lack of entertaining queer romances in the mainstream. Despite its drawbacks, which include a tendency to let scenes run on for too long and a belief that a good joke will fix the world, Kewalya’s message of love without caution lands as firmly as a kiss on the lips.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...If this is really the first proper Bollywood same-sex romance then, I mean come on, show us that love. Make it about these two first. The motivations behind this movie are laudable still. Assuming we've adequately applauded for that already. There are some fine moments, and really funny lines as well. It is still a film though — a story that you have to sit through for two hours plus. I just couldn't carry on for that long on intentions alone. That said, wish this film the best, of course.... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: The abusive words are muted.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Lots of talk about sexuality, a couple of lip-locks between a gay couple. A few innuendoes.
  • Concept: Convincing a family that homosexuality is normal
  • General Look and Feel: Loud, bright. Nothing too serious.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

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Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan - Cast, crew, links

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Running time:
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Comments (2)

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Wasn't DOSTANA like, 12 years ago? They're just getting around to this now...?

Or have we been watching the wrong kind of movies? Which is entirely possible, I realize.

PS: Sorry I haven't been around in a while - with everyone headed off in all directions, we haven't been having our normal Indian Movie Nights... :(

Dostana was still slapsticky. This one looks like it will be a slightly more mature take.

ps. welcome back!

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