Culture, Gender and Movies

Subh Mangal Zyaada Saavdhan on Dealing with Homophobia

Yes, we lost Anjana Hareesh to homophobia. Many must have by now come across the death of Anjana, a bisexual girl from Kerala. Upon knowing about her sexual orientation, her family took intense measures to cure this ‘illness’ only to lead to her untimely demise.

Though homosexuality has been legalized in our country under Section 377 of the Indian Constitution, LGBTQ+ is still an enigma in a middle class conservative Indian household. This homophobic community which comprises the majority of our population considers homosexuality as a disease that can be cured.

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 It is this loophole that the film Shubh Mangal Zyaada Saavdhan tries to address. 

Taking Allahabad as a reflection to all those small towns suffering from homophobia, this movie takes a quirky take on same-sex love. Same-sex love is indeed a serious subject but at times, serious subjects do not need serious treatments. 

The film offers genuine peals of laughter, not at the sexuality of a person (which was once the source of humor in films) rather the joke is on the family who is unable to accept the sexual orientation of their son.

The Characters

The disgust on Sankar Tripathy’s(Gajraj Rao) face when he sees Aman and Kartik together is symbolic of the very thought millions of Indian families have on homosexuality.

 Aman Tripathy (played by Jeetendra Kumar), on the other hand, impersonates those umpteen homosexual people who dread at the thought of confronting their families with their sexuality. However, he does not let this dread reduce his love for Kartik by any amount. Though skeptical of the society, his affection for Kartik is firm and unharmed by the societal notions.

Kartik(played by Ayushmaan Khurana), however, may seem a bit unrealistic due to all the careless and confident gay man he is but that does not override the fact that it is people like Kartik who are going to bring a wave of change for the homosexual community. 

While some fret over and hide their sexuality, Kartik embraces his sexuality with utmost love and acceptance. What other people think of him never bothered him and he is ready to fight as much as possible for his love. 
 The scene where he questions the lyrics of the famous nursery rhyme Jack and Jill and asks why can’t  Jack go with Johnny has a scope of becoming the gay anthem in the coming times. 

Another important character to be noted is Aman’s cousin sister Goggle(Maanvi Gagroo). She was aware of Aman’s truth since childhood and never judged him for being different. Goggle is that one family member who does not let the social norms and prejudices take over once identity.

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The success of the movie lies in how entertainingly this subtle matter has been captured. We don’t feel Aman and Kartik as a gay couple rather they romance like any other straight couple and anyone who has seen the film will find it cute and beautiful. 
They share stunning chemistry and their moments together are endearing. In an attempt to normalize same-sex love, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan has made its first step.

It will take time….

To suddenly change what you have believed all these years (or to be accurate-made to believe) is not an easy thing. To accept the genuineness of a subject that was once considered a crime can be a tough job. It will take time to come in terms with the truth. This is exactly how the film concludes.  
The Tripathys don’t change what they have been thinking all of a sudden. They are left to take their own time and think about it. As Kartik and Aman head back to Delhi, Sankar Tripathy’s eyes reeks of guilt and acceptance in mild quantity for the couple, probably signaling a hopeful future.

It is not the first time a film has been made on homosexuality but in mainstream cinema, Shubh Mangal Zyaada Saavdhan has pushed boundaries and conveyed the message without being much preachy. 

Watch on Amazon Prime Video  

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