Ayushmann Khurrana, the crusader of our times, tackled erectile dysfunction in his 2017 movie, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’s Bhumi Pednekar was cast as the leading lady. The duo was reunited after their successful outing in Dum Laga Ke Haisha.
We’ve come to expect a well-made movie surrounding a social issue from Ayushmann Khurrana (I’m looking at you Akshay Kumar.) For a movie that completely focuses on erectile dysfunction, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan performed satisfactorily at the box office (no pun intended.)
Comedy of errors
Ayushmann Khurrana, like many shy and hapless Indian boys, sends Bhumi Pednekar an online marriage proposal. As Bhumi suffers from a syndrome known as ‘Lack of Judgement,’ she accepts his request and decides to meet him. Luckily for her, Khurrana doesn’t turn out to be a total creep and they decide to take their relationship to the ‘next level.’
Ayushmann kisses Bhumi but looks hesitant. He tells her that the room is not right to ‘do it’ in. Naturally, they shift to another room.
At one point Bhumi asks, “Hum thik toh kar rahe hain naa?” ‘Sex before marriage’ is what she’s hinting at. Ayushmann replies, “Ha, aise hi karte hain.” Clearly, they’re not on the same page. It’s not the right time, my guys.
They resume their snogging session, but Ayushmann, to Bhumi’s dismay, halts it again. She asks him why he’s being a cockblocker?
“Lunch mein maine onion kulcha khaya tha,” he says. Understable. “Chingum hai aapke pass?” he asks her.
So many red flags, it started to look like a socialist revolution.
Our dynamic duo is now sitting on the edge of the bed, chewing chingum. It’s amazing how the movie perfectly captures the awkwardness that comes with the ‘first time.’
PSA – It’s not going to be perfect the first time you knock boots!
Watch this brilliant scene here
Shubh Mangal Saavdhan explores a deeper issue
After a few more pauses, Ayushmann disrupts the session for the umpteenth time and excuses himself to the bathroom.
Bhumi, giddy with excitement for her first time, smells the shirt of her lover, like in the movies. The shirt, just like their current situation, stinks. Understandably, she chucks the shirt away in disgust. Because it wasn’t how she pictured it in her head. That’s what you get when you try to act filmy in real life. This is probably my favourite scene in the entire film!
Ayushmann Khurrana emerges from the bathroom and heads straight towards the main door. Bhumi stops him. Their conversation, unlike their first time, needs to be finished.
Bhumi serves Ayushmann biscuits with tea and asks to spill some, too. Khurrana is too embarrassed to admit that he has erectile dysfunction to his future-wife. Just as he is about to eat his biscuit, the limp portion falls into the tea. No words exchanged and yet the tea has been spilt. Great job on the metaphor, Mr R. S. Prasanna.
The severity of erectile dysfunction in India
India is considered to be the capital of erectile dysfunction of the world. According to studies, more than 50% of men above the age of 40 suffer from this condition. Needless to say, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan is a movie that should reach the Indian masses.
Shubh Mangal Saavdhan depicts the trials and tribulations of performance anxiety during the ‘first time’ perfectly.
To add to our character’s grievances, he is also shown suffering from erectile dysfunction. If you ask me, that’s a recipe for disaster.
It is refreshing to see Bollywood undertaking taboo subjects and pushing them to the mainstream audience. Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, for all its flaws, does a decent job of highlighting the issue of erectile dysfunction. For that alone, it deserves your attention.