When Bollywood meets LGBTQ+

Vallisa Chauhan Monday 24th February 2020 06:22 EST

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Duration: 117 mins

Homosexuality is still associated with stigma and prejudice in the South Asian societies- be it here in the UK or back in India. This despite the evolutionary South Asian voices aiming to break perceptions around the stranglehold of “following a western influence and lifestyle of accepting certain sexual preferences as opposed to being born into them”.

However, Ayushman Khurana sets precedent in delivering a social message around how homosexuality is not a choice but an identity. Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is Bollywood’s interpretation and explanation of two young men falling in love with each other. In other words it is the industry’s first ever mainstream interface with the LGBTQ+ diaspora.

Directed by Hitesh Kewalya this movie is titled similar to its prequel with the lead being the same as the 2017 romantic comedy Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. Yet, the plot is completely different.

Perhaps, an empathy bridge this movie tries to explain to the older generations, societal authorites and cultural organisations about how Kartik Singh (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Aman Tripathi (Jitendra Kumar) cannot live without each other. The film revolves around the duo who live a blissful life together in Delhi where they are not judged or frowned upon. They then decide to go to Allahabad and try to convince Aman’s very old school parents to accept them, where the comedy actually begins.

The opening scene will have you smiling when you see the two male leads running for a train and we see very Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge scene take place.

When we arrive in Allahabad we meet the family and quickly realise it is going to take a lot for them to ever accept their sons’ sexuality. Instead this family believes that if they do a few rituals and conduct traditional ceremonies for Aman and get him married off to a girl from the town they will solve the problem. They have not realised Kartik may be the biggest problem, with his flamboyant live life to the fullest attitude. He is the one guy who is not scared to share his feelings.

An interesting scene where we can see just how cheeky and open Kartik can be is a conversation between Chaman, Aman’s uncle and Kartik where the uncle asks, “When did you decide you would be gay?’to and Kartik replies ‘When did you decide you won’t be gay?’

Another interesting scene takes place at Aman’s cousin’s wedding where the popular Honey Singh track Gabru’s lyrics have been reworked to further emphasised Kartik’s love for Aman.

Without giving it all away the film is a must see to laugh along and appreciate Khurrana. He demonstrates his creative intellect in doing meaningful cinema. He shows his calibre and attention to detail when picking a script and of course to find out if Aman’s parents will finally accept that he is gay.

If nothing else you will definitely appreciate the songs within the film and Khurrana’s nose ring. Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan is a compelling narrative that needed to be told to help those coming from smaller towns where being gay is just not acceptable. It is not a mockery unlike Dostana but a lesson for the homophobic society and infotainment for those unaware of the challenges that the LGBTQ+ diaspora faces.

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