The last few years have proved that 'small films' (in terms of costing) have big stories to tell. Also, one of the strengths of the recent success stories was their absorbing storyline, which was so well presented on celluloid by their creators. A film like Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan shuns the conventional plot and brings the issue out in the open determinedly. In fact, it's a forward-thinking, avant_garde movie that holds worldwide appeal. Above and beyond, the endeavor to transport the issue out of the closet and presenting it in a light tone in the backdrop is an added move that merits acknowledgement. Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is the ultimate culture shock for Indian audiences.
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is a comic caper, with a smart screenplay and witty dialogue as its aces. It is funny, has a lot of energy and most importantly, as you protest that Hindi movies thrive on beaten-to-death formula, a film like Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan defies the stereotype and comes alive with a brand new recipe (writer: Hitesh Kewalya). The writing is airtight and the movie moves from one episode to another furiously. Original in style and thoroughly entertaining, backed by colorful characters and superior acting, there's no film quite like this one or should I say, there is no film that matches the sheer brilliance of Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan. It's a top-quality comical made with guts and gusto. I can assure, you will exit the auditorium with a grin on your face.
Come to think of it, very few movies can claim to make you laugh at the right places, yet mirror the realities concurrently. Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan walks the thin line wonderfully. The on-screen characters seem straight out of everyday life. The focus is on telling a story that's fascinating and enthralling. This one's armed with a fascinating premise that's nourished with care by the raconteur, magnificent act by its lead actors, dollops of humor (wicked, sparkling, smart) that's punctuated so well in the scheme of things and eye-filling production design.
While the first hour is thoroughly amusing (a few episodes are howlarious actually!), the post-interval do a somersault. Writer/Director Hitesh Kewalya introduces certain complications in the lead characters' lives, which take the familiar route and dilute the impact, albeit faintly. Also, a few episodes don't work, the pacing gets slow, the narrative is prolonged... till it gathers steam towards its resolution. The film never gets into the serious zone or melodramatic, but remains lightweight all through, which is a plus. In short, Hitesh Kewalya has cleverly written the film to suit the Indian sensibilities, which works exceedingly well for the Indian spectator.
The music & lyrics (Tanishk Bagchi-Vayu) of the film is plain okay. In terms of visuals, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan has been filmed at real locations and the DoP (Chirantan Das) captures the essence extremely well. The eye-candy locales are clearly missing here. Instead, what we get to watch are real locations and real lower middle class surroundings. Even though this is director Hitesh Kewalya's debut film, his directorial spark shines throughout the film. One has to appreciate and applaud him for paying heed to even the minutest of the detailing that has gone behind every character. However the story of the film leaves a lot to be desired. He seems very confident with the camera and its angles and is definitely one name to watch out for in the days to come. Even though the film has its 'could-have-been-better' moments, the film scores on the director's ability to extract performances from the star cast. The only problem, however, is that the film starts lagging in places, which could have been taken care on the editing table (editing: Ninad Khanolkar).
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is a boy's film predominantly (although the women have key roles to play) and boy's films are always fun. The chemistry between Ayushmann Khurrana, Jitendra Kumar and Gajraj Rao is what makes the script come alive. In fact, I won't be wrong in stating that their sense of humor is very much in sync with each other. This is Jitendra Kumar's best work to date, no two opinions on it. Ayushmann Khurrana gets yet another demanding role and the actor, who has already impressed us with his acting skills, casts a spell yet again. Gajraj Rao is incredible. Neena Gupta is the scene-stealer actually. As a matter of fact, the performances by these actors will be the talking point once the film releases. Manu Rishi Chaddha is in top form yet again. Maanvi Gagroo has a naturally endearing screen presence. She does add 'weight' to her character. Sunita Rajwar and PankhurI Awasthy are equally competent and have an important part in the madness.
On the whole, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is a winner all the way. In terms of content, it might just prove to be a trendsetter. In terms of business, the film holds tremendous appeal for the youth. Its business at multiplexes mainly will be amazing. Aanand L. Rai, Himanshu Sharma, Bhushan Kumar and Krishan Kumar, the producers, deserve to be lauded for treading the untrodden path. It requires courage and conviction to swim against the tide in your directorial debut. Hitesh Kewalya, the debutant director, deserves a few brownie points extra for not thinking straight. Ayushmann Khurrana and Jitendra Kumar deserve an ovation for not only agreeing to play these characters, but also infusing life in them, without making a mockery of the gay community.