As Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan just cameout of the closet this week, I booked the first, first show, front row seats to watch this unconventional rom-com.
In the opening scene, as I saw an adorable Jeetu bhaiya running on a platform with Ayushmann Khurana dressed as superheroes in their capes to catch a train DDLJ style, I knew that they were there to fight and target the germs of homophobia in our society.
The story got more interesting and intense when Mr. Tripathi a.k.a Gajraj Rao walked in on his son (Jeetu Bhaiya) kissing another man in a moving train and literally threw up after that.
Half an hour into the film, I realised that this same-sex love story was all set to create ripples in mainstream cinema for the representation of the LGBTQIA+ community.
And as Jeetu bhaiya mustered the courage to confront his father, come out of the closet and discuss his sexuality like adults, Mr. Thripathi hoses him with a pipe to avoid having a conversation about his son’s sexual orientation.
This scene made me wonder if Mr. Tripathi who’s a major homophobic was showering water on his son to “cleanse” his soul of the “gay spirit” or was it a disrespectful move (representing pissing) to keep his son and the community he represented, suppressed.
In that moment I realised that this movie was changing the narrative of the LGBTQIA+ community in Bollywood. Homosexuality wasn’t just a stereotypically “funny” sidekick or a filler for a movie, anymore.
SMZS focuses on the actual struggles faced by people of the rainbow spectrum. From visually depicting homophobia and delusion to trying to get on a road to acceptance, this movie covers the journey of a small-town boy coming out to his desi parents.
The movie also focuses on the dilemma of a small town closeted man Aman who loves his family as much as he loves his sexuality. And the battle between choosing one over the other frustrates him so much, that he ends up kissing his boyfriend on his sister’s wedding, in front of his entire family.
(I mean you can’t really blame him, he tried to maturely have a conversation with his father, this was kind of the last resort.)
Another revolutionary scene that gave me major goosebumps was when Kartik was wearing the pride flag as a cape and he spread awareness about the symptoms of homophobia in front of the Tripathi family. After witnessing this an enraged Mr. Tripathi gets a huge-ass danda and starts beating the shit out of Kartik.
But despite all the bashing, Kartik stays strong as Aman yells, “inke saamne mat jhukna” and when Mr. Tripathis danda falls, Kartik fiercely picks it up and hands it back to him. Looking at his threshold, Mr. Tripathi finally stops and before crashing to the ground, Kartik says:
My sexuality is my sexuality, none of your sexuality.
This scene is an analogy of the pride flag and the struggles it has gone through but has still managed to sustain itself. No matter how many boomers try to bring it down in the name of patriarchy, the flag stands tall and flutters higher and brighter than ever.
Using classic romantic Bollywood tropes from DDLJ, this movie tries to normalise the idea of a same-sex relationship. In a way, SMZS gives the upcoming generation a reference point for rainbow love, proving that there is nothing wrong with it. You see, mainstream Bollywood cinema hasn’t had enough movies that support and normalise same-sex relationships.
When Kartik (Ayushmann) revisits the nursery rhyme and admits that we can have Jack and Johnny instead of the former, he’s emphasizing on the need to develop these reference points that’ll further lead to social acceptance in the future.