Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan Movie Review: The Perfect Marriage of an Incredible Script & an Ensemble Cast!

Let’s start with a standing ovation for the writer of  ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan,’ (SMS) – Hitesh Kewalya. I watched the original version of this film a few days back, and I was wondering what’s the point of remaking this one? I might have missed some nuances because it was in Tamil, but it just didn’t give me a cinematic boner at all. After watching SMS, all I can say is that it is far removed from the original, but for the central plot point.

SMS is a textbook course in making a remake, and writer Kewalya will be the guru for all aspirants. The trailer itself gives an idea of what to expect from the film, so let me save time by sparing you the details. Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan is a rare film in which I saw two fantastic films in one – One about the leading pair and their relationship issues, and another about the world they live, love and want to get married in. Another rarity about SMS is that it not only has fun, it makes statements (political ones too) without invoking hatred, only guffaws.

Imagine the cast of Dum Laga Ke Haisha living in the loony Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro set up of today based in Delhi, and throw in a big fat Indian wedding  – can you? If I had read the previous line before watching this film, I could never think of a comparison like this.  You will get my explanation only after you watch SMS this weekend. One more thing about this film, you take out Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar, it will not work half as well – their equation is what keeps you invested, despite all the madness surrounding them.

Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan is also one of the best representations of a middle class set-up and their idiocyncracies, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Vicky Donor, Aankhon Dekhi and Khosla Ka Ghosla. There are so many moments throughout the film that will remind of you of loonies that perhaps belong in your family or in that of someone you know – the cribbing uncle, the gossip mongers, the entire assortments of nuts and bolts.  My respect for director RS Prasanna shot through the roof, just for keeping all the threads together, without losing the plot.

One of the best things about SMS is that it is almost impossible to guess what’s going to happen next, almost like a legit Sriram Raghavan film. At best you could know the beginning or the end, but the surprises keep being thrown at you. Have you heard of a comedy film that organically behaves like a thriller? You must have seen a bear along with Ayushmann & Bhumi in one of the posters of Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan – when you get to that point in the film, you already know that you have signed up for a madness of some epic level.

There are many fan-boy tributes sprinkled through SMS, and all that adds another level of nostalgia to the proceedings, especially if you grew up in the 80s & 90s. I am not sure how much this Aanand L. Rai co-production will help in breaking the taboo attached to the word ‘sex,’ but even if it manages to do that for a few couples and conventional / patriarchal family elders, Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan has done more than what it might have ventured to do, and that’s a feat few films can claim. Standing ovation, once again.


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