Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan starring Ayushmann Khurrana in the leading role as a gay man. The actor is starring opposite Jitendra Kumar. As the film is just a day away from its release, the actor spoke about why the makers chose a commercial approach towards the film and the importance behind an LGBTQIA + story.
Speaking about the film, Ayushmann says, "While being responsible and sensitive, we have kept a commercial approach towards the film so that it reaches the masses. It is not a love story between two boys. It is the reaction of the family when they come to know that their son is gay. We have seen a lot of films that have dealt with homosexuality in the recent past, but they’ve mostly been a parallel cinema, or for festivals."
He adds, "Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan will be the one that will penetrate the masses. The target audience of the film is an average Indian homophobe. More than emotional, it is a comedy film. Humour always opens up people and builds a relationship with the audience. If we intellectualize and make it more emotional then it won’t reach our target audience. Going forward, an emotional pure love story between homosexuals may get made but this is not that. Of course, we have given a very front-footed film about two boys but this is a popcorn entertainment film."
Recalling an incident about two men kissing in a mall, the actor said that this incident reaffirmed his faith in the film and said that India was ready for a gay love story. "Hitesh (Kewalya) had already narrated the story to me and I had said yes to it. After signing the film, I saw two boys kissing in a mall and felt that we are ready for a same-sex love story. That was kind of a reaffirmation of that belief that we are ready for this type of a story. That was it. I was doing the film anyway," adds Khurrana.
Ayushmann further adds, “We don’t want the film to cater to only those who are standing with the homosexuals because then it will be a pure multiplex film, where you already have people in support of homosexuals. We want to reach out to those who are against homosexuals, and for that, you have to give them humour and a commercial texture to the film, and penetrate more in such centres. They will come for entertainment, and take the message and go."
Hitesh Kewalya, who was a co-writer on Shubh Mangal Saavdhan that focused on erectile dysfunction, says that comedy is a serious business. And it is a misapprehension that an emotional film is more sensitive than a comedy. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron is the biggest example. It is high time that we take comedy seriously. Comedy is not halka (light); it is heavy. Comedy is a potent tool to talk about the right things in a non-serious manner but it is talking seriousness. We have said it in the simplest language that the audience understands. Talking about erectile dysfunction was difficult but today when people see a biscuit (a Parle-G biscuit limply falling into a cup of tea, used as a metaphor in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan), they understand, and they smile and talk about it without any embarrassment," says Kewalya.
Ayushmann also spoke about why the approach towards Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan was different. "See, every film has a different grammar and every filmmaker has a different vision to tell a story. If Hitesh had to make a film like Article 15, he would have chosen to tell it in a satirical way. Even I had discussed the same idea with Anubhav (Sinha) sir that let’s make a satirical film because that ensures a wider reach. Of course, Article 15 eventually was a multiplex film. It earned around ₹65 crores at the box-office. Had it been a satirical film, it would have earned maybe ₹100 crores. Humour always draws more audiences. See, the majority of people do a 9 to 5 job and they do not want to consume serious content because their life is already riddled with so many serious issues."
He further says, "As a I said that every film has a grammar and every filmmaker has a vision, and he follows that while making a film. I want to do more films with Anubhav sir. He has his own sensibility to look at things, which is very different than those of mine. That works for me, because it is like a mould breaking genre for me at the same time. But what I am doing with Hitesh is my staple genre. It is his and Aanand L Rai sir’s vision and they are known for family entertainers."
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan stars Ayushmann Khurrana, Gajraj Rao, Neena Gupta, Manurishi Chaddha, Jitu K, Sunita Rajwar, Maanvi Gagroo, Pankhuri Awasthy, and Neeraj Singh. The film is written and directed by Hitesh Kewalya and produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Aanand L Rai, and Himanshu Sharma. It is releasing on February 21, 2020.