In Conversation With 'Shubh Mangal Saavdhan' Director RS Prasanna

City Scape: Transit Lounge

He ventured into Bollywood picking up a sensitive topic which Indian people don’t prefer to talk about in public domain but with ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’, director R.S Prasanna has made his presence felt in the ‘shubh’ way!

Starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar, the romantic comedy dealt with the problem of erectile dysfunction but it was taken up in such a subtle way with a good script and storyline that it received a good response from most viewers. ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’, in fact, was the remake of Prasanna’s debut Tamil film ‘Kalyana Samayal Saadham’ released in 2013.

The talented director was in the city to attend an event at KIIT when he shared about his journey and aspirations with My City Links. Excerpts:

‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’ was based on erectile dysfunction. What inspired you to make a film on such a topic?

Sex is a natural thing which everybody does but nobody is willing to talk about the problems associated with it. When you cover up a problem and put a taboo, it destroys life of many people. If a person suffers from erectile dysfunction, he hesitates to talk about this to others. Many marriages are destroyed because people don’t talk about it. 

I chose this topic as I wanted to convey the problem that exists in the society. When we make films on certain issues and present it in a funny and entertaining way, it touches everyone and they enjoy it a lot. I believe that though I am in an entertainment industry, if I am giving 90 percent entertainment through my films, 10 percent of it should be in the form of a message. Films like ‘Nil Battey Sannata’ or ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ should be encouraged as people are liking them today.

‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’ is your first Hindi movie which is also a remake of your first Tamil movie ‘Kalyana Samayal Saadham’. What motivated you to make it in Hindi?

The topic of the film is a global story, it was about male impotency. However, the film was based on a sexual issue but I made a non-sexual film based on a sexual issue which is considered as a taboo. I knew that if the Tamil version will run well, I would definitely get an offer to make it in Hindi also. We had a special screening for ‘Kalyana Samayal Saadham’ where we invited some of the celebrated film directors. The story is universal and I still have the desire to take it to more people.

What were your feelings before the release date? Are you satisfied with the response?

You will always have that confidence and desire that your film is good and will do well but some sort of fear will always be there too. What if the audience rejects me? Filmmakers also face heartbreak. My nightmare is that people will completely stop seeing my film! 

Thankfully, I received good response from people for this film. People called me and appreciated me for choosing such a sensitive topic. They are now curious to know what my next movie would be based on!

How was your experience working with Ayushmann and Bhumi?

Oh, it was a great experience! Both of them are very good people and fantastic actors. Both of them loved the film and script. Without that love and conviction, this film would have not happened.

Are you planning any other issue-based films?

I will not make any movie unless I have something very deep. It need not be a message but it could be something to do with life about which I could give an insight. Apart from entertainment, I always look for that.

As a filmmaker, do you think that Indian films are changing with the focus shifting to good content and storyline instead of unnecessary ‘masala’?

Yes, I agree, we are going back to basics and this is not a new invention. You need a great story to make a great movie and the film is bigger than the star, that is what is happening now! That is why we see big stars also gravitating towards good films.

As a filmmaker, which is your favorite genre?

I would love to do every genre except horror. I would love any film which would make my audience go wow! But of course, romantic comedy will always be special and my favourite genre as it makes people happy. My second film in Hindi whose work has already started will again be a light-hearted film but that too will carry a message.

How was your experience in Odisha?

Well, this was my first visit and I really liked it. Thought I didn’t get much opportunity to see the place, I will definitely plan a trip with my wife soon.