Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan Trailer! Rorschach Test, Does This Make You Laugh or Cry?

Either response is acceptable, I think it probably depends on how emotional you are feeling today. I just find it interesting to think about because I think the filmmakers were going for laughs, but have a respectful awareness that the topic may make some people cry.

I am feeling a bit intersectional about this. Because IT’S THE SAME MOVIE AS EK LADKI! IT IS IT IS IT IS!!!!! But when it’s a girl’s story, does it get all the buzz and promotion? Noooooo! It has to be a stupid boy’s coming out story before everyone is talking about it.

I am aware that intersectionality means acknowledging competing social aspects without putting one necessarily before the other, and I should be happy that queer stories are being told from all sides and so on and so forth. But, IT’S THE SAME MOVIE!!!!!

Margaret, don’t be stupid! You love ELKDTAL, you should be happy people are imitating it. A loving family comedy in the heartland where the central romantic couple happens to be same sex is a very specific genre, and I don’t think I will be sick of it for years to come. If more and more people want to rip off ELKDTAL without giving it credit, it will just bring more happiness to me, why shoot myself in the foot. Deep breaths.

Anyway, this movie is nice. Love the idea of Ayushmann as the sexy awesome brave Queer Superhero who romantically swoops in to save his true love from a forced marriage. Love the little bit tossed in about how Ayushmann is from a lower class less educated family and so made the break and always knew he would have to make that break, while his boyfriend struggles since there is a legitimate possibility that his parents might understand. That feels real. Really love Ayushmann skulking around the wedding being sexy and tempting. And from the way the trailer is structured, I think we can assume a happy ending. I hope the poor fiancee also gets a chance to speak her part, because it is sad to think about all these young women in India forced into doomed marriages.

One thing this movie might do better than ELKDTAL is giving the central couple actual sexuality. I’m sticking with my theory that ELKDTAL had less sexualization just because girls in general in Indian society are seen as asexual, not because of some kind of queer phobia thing. And this movie supports that, they are boys so it is all about sexual attraction not dreamy weddings and true love.

Oh, and I should go back to my first question. This movie is definitely set up to be lightly comic in a good way. It’s not funny because “two boys in love, ha-ha”. It’s funny because of all the misunderstandings and hijinks around that. Makes us see how silly society is for not accepting same sex relationships and laugh at them, not at the central couple. So this trailer can make you laugh at all of that. But, on the other hand, if you are PMSing a little, or just got off the phone with your mother, or are going through a coming out journey yourself, or just feeling emotional, Neena Gupta saying of course she is accepting because she is a mother might make you cry a bit.

58 thoughts on “Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan Trailer! Rorschach Test, Does This Make You Laugh or Cry?

  1. I’m with you Margaret. I like this idea so much (and it’s a good trailer) but I’m a little pissed that Ek Ladki didn’t get this treatment. But of course overall it’s such good news to have another mainstream film about gay people and finally being accepted/standing up for their personhood and self-determination. And I’m a little weepy about that all. Just one of those days.

    Not to ruin this discussion but I finally watched War and I have to say honestly that I didn’t get all the gay feels from it. I kept searching…but my gay-dar was either not working or I don’t know. They’re so super pretty together and the little bit where they look like they’re riding motorcycles (or whatever) in Jai Jai Shivshankar is pretty gay, but I (and my 4 adult watching companions) didn’t see it in the overall relationship or how they looked at each other. I’m usually pretty tuned in to that stuff. Hmmm.

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  2. I guess I finally have to watch Ek Ladki because just from trailers alone I got different vibes. I actually think that this movie seems decent and much better than the other trailers we’ve been getting but I’m also not entirely surprised that the guys seem to have more sexuality. I feel like whenever there is a character that’s gay in most films they’re super sexual. I’m happy that the characters in this film seem to be bc avoiding stereotypes

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    • Oh yeah, the trailers were very cautious. But the move is explicit (although not sexy). I liked the romance for the reason you mention, it is a straight up (ha!) Rajshri romance, they fall in love at first sight and hold hands and are dreamy and traditional just like a male-female couple would be. But it is a shame the two actresses just didn’t have the kind of chemistry that creates sexual tension even in a family friendly way.

      On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 10:53 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. I don’t think Ek Ladki wanted the treatment SMZS’s trailer is getting. It was the first massey commercial romance film about a gay couple. I think they purposely kept it under wraps until the very end. This way, people would go see it with an open mind and without any expectations and come out of it being like, ‘Wow, what a nice family movie.” To me, this is also why they didn’t go too explicit with the sex. There were rumors for months and months that Ek Ladki was about Anil’s character having an affair and Sonam finding out about it and confronting her father. They could have very easily dispelled that rumor, but they did not.

    Whereas, I take it as Ek Ladki’s success and acceptance by the audience as the very reason SMZS is able to promote the movie so openly and show a same sex couple kissing in the actual trailer. I am taking this as progress and honestly attributing SMZS’s trailer success to Ek Ladki’s brilliant strategy and depiction of a same sex couple.

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    • So long as you vow to join me in the correction army to shout down everyone who says “Of course, it was ten years ago in 2020 when Hindi film had its first mainstream same sex love story”. I can feel it coming, ELKDTAL is never going to get the historical appreciation it deserves because SMZS is going to overshadow it and I will care about this more than probably anyone involved in either of the two movies.

      On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 10:58 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Oh I absolutely will! Although in my optimistic and probably naive viewpoint, I think 2019 will be remembered as such because of both Ek Ladki and Made in Heaven. But if someone decides to attribute it to 2020, I will fight them tooth and nail with you.

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        • Years of fighting the “Karan Johar never launches outsiders” and “Shahrukh never plays his age” battles have made me weary and cynical.

          On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 11:07 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I can very much see your point of view, and I do think people are going to view “history” the way they want to.

            But to me, right now, it was a HUGE show of progress to see how Ek Ladki’s mainstream acceptance is actively playing a role in Indian cinema showing more same sex romance stories. Having grown up on this cinema, even just a years ago, I would have NEVER ever thought this would happen. So, to me, I am loving every bit of this and also taking the time to enjoy this wonderful progress and just be happy.

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          • Pish-tosh, progressives can’t be happy! They have to be always complaining about how this progress is nice, but it could be EVEN BETTER and until it is perfect, we should point out every conceivable flaw. That’s how you prove you are the Best Progressive and get your Best Progressive medal from the Lords of the Internet.

            On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 11:18 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. I absolutely don’t see ELKDTAL as the same movie. This film centers the couple. They get a song. They get many romantic scenes together. THEY GET A KISS. I loved ELKDTAL and you could reasonably argue that it made it easier for SMZS to go farther but I had a much stronger reaction to this one. Also, it’s not just about the sexual attraction. They reenact the DDLJ train scene! Jitu is constantly making heart eyes at Ayushmann. I think your frustration shouldn’t be with the reactions people are having but with the filmmakers of ELKDTAL who chose to downplay the romance and barely referred to it in the promotions.

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    • I love the DDLJ train scene bit! And I am torn, because on the one hand I really want a wedding ending where they both ride off on the white horse, but on the other hand I also really want a DDLJ train scene ending, and I can’t see a way to have both.

      On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 12:26 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • This is true! Plus that would mean a happy end credits wedding song, which is my preferred ending for all films.

          On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 12:43 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • The thing is also, whatever the motives in making ELKDTAL less sexual, they could have made it romantic instead. I mean if there’s one movie industry for epic non-sexual romance it’s Bollywood! This is what song sequences are FOR!

      I don’t entirely blame the film makers, I blame all of Indian society of which the filmmakers are a part for just not giving a shit about women. I want that to be clear. It’s easy to give all the praise to this movie, when it has it much easier, so I won’t do that, but I do think ELKDTAL could have taken a LITTLE more risk. But of course the press goes for this one more, because it’s about men, so of course it’s automatically better.

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      • But ELKDTAL was FIRST!!!!! I’m having a bit of a “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred did but backwards and in heels” reaction. And I don’t even like that saying because it’s inaccurate since Fred did far more. But you know what I mean, ELKDTAL was not only struggling under the weight of being female, but also first, and they still were brave enough to release and managed to sneak out there somehow. And now here’s all these Johnny come latelies getting the credit. Grrrr.

        On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 3:26 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • But here’s where this film takes a much bigger risk: I’ve been watching YouTube reaction videos and in every single one of them the viewer gasps and gapes in shock when the men kiss and everyone is OMG THEY WENT THERE. The filmmakers not only did it, they put it in the trailer. Credit where it’s due. When the ELKDTAL trailer came out there were reviewers who literally couldn’t tell it was supposed to be about lesbians. I saw people on Twitter and YouTube scratching their heads over it.

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          • Again, pedantic Margaret has to point out that Dostana had a male-male kiss over ten years ago.

            But non-pedantic Margaret agrees that putting the kiss, impossible to ignore and in your face, right in the trailer, is quite something.

            And irritable old lady Margaret says “YouTube reaction videos are the Worst Things On Earth and I HATE THEM!!!!”

            On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 4:11 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • But it did have the first male-male kiss! As I said, pedantic Margaret.

            On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 4:18 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Did the gay sex ban article lift happen before or after ELKDTAL? Did that even go for lesbians? That might have been a factor, plus there was a change in the censorship board last year (I think) which made it a bit less extreme. Plus, men have Made In Heaven going for them.

          I’m not saying don’t give ELKDTAL any credit, but I think they went a bit smaller than they had to.

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          • It happened before, but so close before that they must have had the film in pre-production already.

            377 was actually against sodomy, it wasn’t necessarily “gay” even. Sodomy and sex with animals I think. I read an interesting article a few years back about women’s rights activists considering using it to try to prosecute marital rape. Marital rape isn’t illegal in India, but if sodomy is, maybe they could get the husbands on that. It also means that if you were a gay man who never had sex, you weren’t doing anything illegal. And Lesbians were never doing anything illegal. But the 377 victory and the attention it brought helped in bringing the community out of hiding in general and making it more a topic of conversation.

            On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 12:48 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Right, so you could make a lesbian film with less risk but the environment was a more repressive one in general. It’s something to keep in mind.

            I try not to be one of those perfectionist activists, and I get their choices, but there comes a point where the gay element is so small that you start to wonder what the point is.

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      • I do wish these movies would have a bit more LGBT community/solidarity. There are a number of Govinda films where hijra randomly show up like a deus ex machina to save the day and I always love that.

        Also, I did NOT know Ayushmann looked like that and I appreciate it.

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        • Have you watched Made in Heaven yet? There is an awesome Hijra bit in the last episode.

          On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 12:50 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Now THAT was made before 377 was struck down! Which you can see because they had to fudge with the ending and put in the disclaimer.

            On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 7:05 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I almost wonder if part of the delay in season 2 is that they had this whole multi-season storyline built around the court case test case, and then POOF! All gone!

            On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 8:00 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Oh that’s very possible. Are they filming now? Jim Sarbh has spent like the past year doing extremely little so I wonder where his time has gone and is going, because all he’s doing now is protesting.

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          • I just assumed there would be a season 2, because how could the world be so cruel as to not give it to me?

            But I did a little research just now and it looks like Zoya posted on social media back in April something like “back to work, MIH season 2”. But knowing how Zoya-Reema work, that could have meant “now we start the 12 month process of writing the perfect script”, so I don’t know if they are filming or not?

            But there MUST be a season 2!!!! I have so many questions!!!!

            On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 9:10 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I guess that was it, because Kalki hasn’t been filming it I don’t think. I need closure, and Jim needs to work. He makes money modelling and stuff but that’s not going to put him on my eyeballs.

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          • Just watch the Jim Sarbh edit of Raabta over and over again, it’s what I do!

            On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 9:16 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. One thing I was pleasantly surprised about is that Ayushmann is playing the role that is openly gay and not the scared/struggling person. When I first heard about this movie I assumed Ayushmann was playing the character that Jitu is actually playing because it fits the pattern of his characters in movies like Bala, Vicky Donor, SMS etc.

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    • Oh what a cool thought! So it’s not just that Ayushmann is in a gay movie, he’s playing a totally different kind of role from usual. Forget the rest of this, maybe it means that Ayushmann is going to start playing more confident Hero roles instead of awkward growing as a person roles.

      On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 6:27 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Exactly! I was so tired when I realized that he was basically playing the same role in Bala. I’m glad he’s finally moving on to playing more confident roles.

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        • I am excited about this as well. When Bala came out I thought, this is his career, he’s just going to address a series of increasingly more banal male problems.Very happy this is not the case.

          I’m in a crying place about this, because there is a video floating around the internet of an actual gay wedding (in Texas) in which one of the grooms’ dads makes the most wonderful speech and I was late for work because I had to reapply all my makeup.

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          • Yes! Although I just showed Andhadhun to my brother-in-law which reminded me that he really can play scary and confident and very different roles.

            On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 10:16 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Lemme add to the 2019 list
    Ek Ladki
    Made in Heaven
    And
    4 more shots please
    a streaming series 1 season so far on Netflix or Amazon styled after Sex & the City. One of the 4 gfs is gay and in a relationship with an older past her prime actress played by Lisa Ray.

    And IMO an even more pertinent precursor to SMZS is Romil & Juggal, an AltBalaji gay rom com streaming series from 2017 loosely borrowing from Romeo&Juliet – in fact, our leads are both in the college production of romeo and juliet, and each episode starts with a famous line from the play. I know I’ve mentioned R&J here on this blog before. Judging from the smzs trailer, smzs is focusing more on the comedy than the romance, too make the romance more palatable for a conservative audience, whereas R&J follows all the beats of a conventional rom com, including a meet cute, tender first kiss, sexy first time love making, and “will they or won’t they end up together” tension, etc. Some might say it’s smzs meets 2 states – romil is Tamil, juggal is Sikhs, romil is out, juggal is in denial womanizer, romils parents are aware but assume it’s a passing phase, juggals parents are shocked and angry to find oot. As a 10? episode product, there are different themes, some episodes are light hearted, others romantic or sexual, and still others are heightened drama or tension. It does have the slightly melodramatic beats of family conflicts & drama one would expect from any ekta Kapoor product, mostly around familial acceptance of the sons and the couple send how to face society. But that this came out in 2017 is mindblowing.

    One might say well that’s obscure, and for the diaspora and International audience it might well be because altbalaji is not well known. But within India people would sign up for the 14 day free trial subscription just to watch r&j and then cancel before 14 days were up after they had completed the show.

    Trailer – note that the trailer leans more into the drama, but my experience of the show was much more of a rom-com arc.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romil_%26_Jugal

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hopefully Romil and Jugal will get more coverage soon, I noticed that Ekta Kapoor was at the Bezos thing and ALTBalaji has always felt like something they were pouring money into in hopes of getting a big buy out from a larger international company.

      And I didn’t know Liza Ray was still working! That makes me happy. Although I think she was terrible in Bollywood/Hollywood.

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    • Oh! I keep forgetting to recommend another movie, Signature Move, I just ran across it when researching Shabana. Classic Shabana movie, American Indie about a Pakistani-American Lesbian, presumably Shabana plays her mother. I love Shabana, and now I want to see this movie.

      On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 7:53 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. Ok I am EXTREMELY late to the game on this post but I have things to say.

    I totally agree with you that it’s the same basic plot as ELKDTAL, but it differs because this film seems to be marketed as more of a comedy while ELKDTAL was marketed as more of a drama.
    In addition, but unrelated (and this is bigger imo), ELKDTAL was the quintessential “i’m gay and i need my parents to accept me before I can be truly happy in life” story. It may have worked for some people, but it flopped at the box office, which led producers to think that the story didn’t work for people. So they have to do it again in order for LGBT stories to break through. This simple standard story needs to work before gay characters can get their own stories without the main focus being on their sexuality. I also think there is internalized sexism, why this movie is already fared to do better. It’s guys instead of girls. If you look at America cinema too, major LGBT movies like Brokeback Mountain, Love Simon and Call Me By Your Name were about gay men. Movies about gay women don’t get as much fanfare. Like Booksmart. Because I can only name one example of movies about gay women off the top of my head. That’s the entire point. This story has to work for gay men before it can work for gay women, and before gay characters can be properly and seamlessly integrated into film.
    Plus, it’s a comedy, which is lighter and easier to digest, and like you said, it gives the couple a sexual relationship, which Sonam and Regina didn’t have, which gives the viewers who are already allies or in the community themselves something to root for and something to acknowledge the community.

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    • First, watch Kissing Jessica Stein! And Imagine Me and You, which I haven’t seen but sounds adorable. Both of them light interesting Lesbian romances.

      Huh, maybe it’s the “light” part of it? Light romances are aimed at woman, “serious dramas” are for men. So male-male love stories in the West are always serious dramas, while female-female stories go lighter and get shoved into the “rom-com” box to die, unwept unhonored and unsung.

      I really like your theory that this simple standard “coming out” storyline has to work before movies can move on from it. Like needing to learn your scales before playing a piano piece. And I would add that it is double in this case, because it’s a standard “coming out” storyline, and for Hindi film in particular its also the standard “family rebellion romance” plot that is the classic love story. We have to show it can work, commercially and critically, in a same sex way before we can move on to other kinds of stories.

      And then eventually we will get the Kissing Jessica Stein remake starring Sonam and Swara and Ayushmann that I have been dreaming about.

      On Thu, Feb 6, 2020 at 4:32 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Oh, and go read my new Humpty review, it took forever to write and no one is commenting and I am sad 😦

      On Thu, Feb 6, 2020 at 4:32 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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