An adult romcom sensitively handled
In a society where critical issues like family planning and reproductive health are seen as successes/failures of women, (as men feel they cannot ‘go wrong’ in such issues), commercial Tamil cinema touched a new high in 2013 when one of its films placed the responsibility of maintaining a harmonious family life on the man concerned also.
In a society where critical issues like family planning and reproductive health are seen as successes/failures of women, (as men feel they cannot 'go wrong' in such issues), commercial Tamil cinema touched a new high in 2013 when one of its films placed the responsibility of maintaining a harmonious family life on the man concerned also. Specifically, on issues like sexual satisfaction of the married couple.
The film's title 'Kalyana Samayal Saadham', directed by a debutante R S Prasanna was inspired by the Tamil hit song in 'Maaya Bazar' (the dubbed version of 'Vivaha Bhojanambu' number in the Telugu original). Basing itself in a milieu typical of Tamil Brahmin marriages, the arranged event showcases the difficulties which the shy groom faces as he comes to term with his problem of erectile dysfunction as he agrees to an arranged marriage.
Shot in 25 days, marketed as a feel good marriage movie, the flick featured young hero Prasanna and Lekha Washington with a host of veterans of Tamil cinema lending heft to the venture. The music was received well and the director's fine balancing act of not descending into a typical adult comedy but maintaining a sensitivity in handling the issue was noticed and appreciated. The film went on to score at the box office too.
By opening up on similar topics, Hindi cinema had already created a niche market for such ventures by then. Specifically, Ayushmann Khurrana, a young name in Bollywood had acted in ' Vicky Donor' a film released in 2012 which spoke about sperm donation, a hitherto unheard of theme taken up in mainstream Hindi cinema. He was the natural choice for its Hindi remake titled ' Shubh Mangal Saavdhan' released in 2017 with the vivacious Bhumi Pednekar playing his considerate spouse.
With the Tamil director reprising his role in Hindi also, the film received mixed reviews from critics yet went on to be favourably received by the audience. Produced with a budget of Rs 25 crore, it went on to touch Rs 64 crore as its earnings, making it a surefire hit.
Taking this theme a step further, a spin-off on the 2017 release was made three years later with 'Shubh Mangal Zyaada Savdan' when it broached the topic of gay marriage and appealed to the audience. Khurrana, by now, is a leading star with a string of more than half-a-dozen continuous hits spread across various genres and is at the top of the A-listers in Hindi cinema.