Eight Ayushmann Khurrana Films That Are Exactly the Same

Shubh Mangal Zyaada Savdhaan is making headlines everywhere. This film’s a definite game changer in Bollywood, dealing with homosexuality and homophobia head-on.

Yet, something seems off, right? Let’s see: where have we seen Ayushmann Khurrana play a North Indian young man, born to middle-class traditional parents (who are loving but stuck slightly in their ways), and shock society with his forward-minded views on sex, beauty, marriage, gender and sexuality?

Oh, that’s right. (Almost) Every. Movie. Of. His.

Let’s go through them.

Bala:

The story of a balding man from Kanpur (North India) and his struggles with finding love and social acceptance. Side characters include a small-minded society and women who struggle with skin colour, but are strong and independent. Moral of the story? Beauty lies inside, in the eyes of the beholder, etc etc. Oh, and we need a man to realise this.

Dream Girl:

The story of a young man from North India, who has a knack for impersonating women and his struggles with finding love and social acceptance. Side characters include a small-minded society and the love of his life, Mahi, a strong and independent woman. Moral of the story? Gender cannot be compartmentalised, it is fluid, phone sex is a legitimate profession, etc etc. Oh, and we need a man to realise this.

Article 15:

The story of a young man from in North India, and his struggles with understanding caste and violence as a savarna himself. Side characters include a small-minded society and his wife: a strong, independent woman. Moral of the story? An upper-caste police officer (who doesn’t believe in caste) is needed to fight caste injustices in villages.

Badhaai Ho:

The story of a young man from Delhi and his struggles with finding love and social acceptance, while his older parents have (accidentally) conceived a younger brother. Side characters include a small-minded society and the love of his life, Renee, a strong and independent journalist. Moral of the story? Older people having sex should not be taboo, love is love, etc etc. Oh, and we need a man to realise this.

Shubh Mangal Savdhaan:

The story of a young man from Gurgaon and his struggles with finding love and social acceptance with his erectile dysfunction problems. Side characters include a small-minded society and the love of his life, Sugandha, a strong and independent woman. Moral of the story? Masculinity is not defined by one’s penile strength, normalise erectile dysfunctions, sex isn’t always easy, etc etc. But here, we actually do need men to realise this.

Bareilly Ki Barfi:

The story of a young man from Bareilly and his struggles with finding love and social acceptance, while being in love with Bitti, a strong and independent woman who also struggles with finding love and social acceptance. Side characters include a small-minded society and Rajkumar Rao pretending to be the paragon of toxic masculinity. Moral of the story? Women can smoke and still be worthy of marriage, etc etc. Oh, and we need a man to realise this.

Dum Lagaake Haisha:

The story of a young man from a North Indian town and his struggles with finding love and social acceptance, all the while being married to an overweight woman with whom he cannot consummate his marriage. Side characters include a small-minded society and his (for once) not skinny, but strong and independent wife. Moral of the story? Overweight women are worthy of love too, and we need a man to realise this.

Vicky Donor:

Ah, the film that started it all. The story of a young man from Delhi and his struggles with finding love and social acceptance, while hiding the secret that he has donated his sperm for money and indirectly fathered hundreds of children. Side characters include a small-minded society and the love of his life—who is a strong, independent woman. Moral of the story? There are unconventional ways of having children too, which should be made legitimate and socially acceptable. And it’s not easy for men either, okay. (sense the sarcasm)

And so you have it: the basic formula to ‘Ayushmannism’.

  1. Take a North Indian boy who thinks progressively
  2. Give him parents who simply don’t understand how his generation thinks
  3. Give him a love story
  4. And have him drop the mic with a killer monologue about “what’s wrong with homosexuality/treating all castes as equals/calling a hotline to talk to girls/being a strong, independent woman”.

Not to say I haven’t watched and don’t love these films. Because I have. And I do. Very, very much. You can’t deny Ayushmann’s charisma, talent, and hotness. It’s all there. But when he became the Unofficial Poster Boy for Male Social Change, it was like all his movies merged into one… Like one super movie, dealing with multiple sex problems and repetitive stock characters. Often resulting in a series of sketches loosely tied together to be called a ‘film’.

Speaking of which, we cannot WAIT for his next hit. Wonder what it’ll be about. Maybe asexuality? Pornstars? Transgenders? Men with erectile dysfunctions? Oh, wait. The last one’s been done. Of course. Anyway, whatever the cause, we’re here for it because it actually reaches a huge part of the Indian population who either cringes or feels super uncomfortable even talking about this stuff—dadijis, nanajis, uncles, aunties, kids, you and I both—and makes us think about our own lives.

That’s what good cinema should do, right?

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