Avinash Lohana (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 14, 2017)

R S Prasanna is gearing up for his Hindi directorial debut with the Ayushmann Khaurrana-Bhumi Pednekar starrer, Shubh Mangal Savdhan, a remake of his 2013 Tamil romcom Kalyana Samayal Saadham. The film revolves around Mudit and Sugandha who are heading towards an arranged marriage when it is revealed that the boy suffers from erectile dysfunction. “I've always loved films that push the envelope. After the original released, many people wrote to me admitting that their marriage was on the rocks because of this ailment,“ Prasanna says, adding, “The film asserts that love is important and the challenge of the subject excited me be cause I know it'll open up a debate.“

Prasanna met producer Aanand L Rai in Mumbai at his Tamil film's screening in 2014. “Afterwards, he gave me a hug and invited me to his office. At that point we hadn't even discussed a remake but when we started working on it, he cautioned me, saying 'Prasanna don't Bollywoodise the film'“, he says.

He assures that this story and some of the characters are different from his Tamil film. “Only the core concept and the feel remains the same. In fact, our writer Hitesh Kewalya didn't see the original until we finished shooting,“ informs Prasanna, who spent two weeks in Delhi, Rishikesh and Haridwar with Hitesh as part of their “cultural recce“.

His wife Minakshi is an army girl and has lived all over the country so he claims he's comfortable with North Indian culture. “We had a wonderful time sampling street food and trying to understand these places, people better. I was able to connect with them when I was writing,“ says Prasanna, asserting that he's familiar with Hindi as he lived in Mumbai as a child and his mother was born and brought up in Matunga.

He locked the final script in October 2016, roped in the cast by November and rolled in early 2017. So, was Ayushmann cast because he's become synonymous with the sperm donor of Shoojit Sircar's Vicky Donor? “That's the immediate afterthought but not the reason why he was cast. He has brought so much life and charm to this character though I'm aware that the audience will joke that the sperm donor has gone missing here,“ laughs Prasanna, who became a father a second time recently but refuses to talk about it.

Given the subject, is he anticipating censor problems despite the fact that we have a progressive CBFC Chairperson in Prasoon Joshi now? “I sometimes joke that ours is the cleanest film as it's about a guy who can't even have sex,“ he laughs. “On a more serious note, many lives are affected by this biological problem. But so what if you can't get it up, stand up for love.“