Beyond the dog and its husband, the AR Sreedhar directorial is a distasteful adult comedy
Laxman, a wastrel living in a suburb, is head over heels in love with Mounika. With great difficulty, the duo convinces their parents to get them married but the priest suggests the man marry a dog/tree for astrological reasons. He finds a dog for the ‘alliance’ and just when it seems like a happy ending for Laxman and Mounika, a legal case complicates matters. Will Laxman marry his lady love?
In times when the man-animal equation is taking newer turns by the day, Slum Dog Husband centres on a man who’s forced to marry a dog and needs to divorce it, pay alimony, if he wishes to marry his lady love. The film is a farcical comedy, but it is so casually made with a liberal dose of sexual innuendos, vile humour and cheap gags. It’s hard to choose what’s more absurd - the story or the storytelling?
More than marriage, the comedy feels like a B-grade tale of two sexually deprived souls who can no longer hold their horses. To offer a glimpse of its world, the protagonist comes to the bridegroom’s house for a marriage proposal and when the parents can’t remember their children’s birthday (to check horoscopes), they creepily recall the day they made love, to arrive at an approximate estimate.
When the astrologer advises Laxman to marry a dog, there’s an elaborate ceremony, the invitation is sent out to the entire street, there’s a wedding song and even a ‘first night’ sequence. Laxman’s girlfriend even checks on him if he’s busy with his new wife, a neighbour asks the guy to limit his ‘romantic’ escapades with the dog to four walls.
After a legal petition demands the man to divorce his ‘wife’, the defence lawyer interrogates the dog to know its side of the story. To make matters worse, there’s a dirty-little twist that the dog is male and the director uses this excuse to make some unwarranted homophobic commentary. A group of henchmen even show a porn video to a dog to titillate it.
The film gathers steam briefly when a twist throws light on the opportunism in human relationships and the protagonist delivers a monologue on why dogs are more loyal than humans. Ultimately though, the joke is on the audiences. While the premise is genuinely funny, the writing is all over the place and settles for cheap thrills. None of the so-called comic sequences work, the dialogues are in poor taste and the absence of conviction in the storytelling is quite evident.
Sanjay Rrao neither has a strong screen presence nor displays any flair for comedy and it’s a struggle for the viewer to invest in the protagonist owing to his performance. Pranavi Manukonda, the child artiste-turned-lead, is a promising find - she has the good looks, can hold a scene well and dances like a dream. Yet, one wonders what convinced her to pick such a toothless script for her debut.
The supporting cast - Brahmaji, Muralidhar Goud, Sapthagiri - is efficient but they’re offered little scope to shine. Fish Venkat’s judge-act is unconvincing though Yadamma Raju makes the most of a well-written role that drives the narrative forward. Bheems Ceciroleo’s music doesn’t disappoint - Lacchi Gaani Pelli and the finely choreographed retro track Mere Chote Dil are the pick of the lot.
Slum Dog Husband is a juvenile sex-comedy masquerading as a farce. The director AR Sreedhar fails to build upon an unconventional premise and tries to cover much ground in the third act with a twist. The writing is largely substandard and the performances don’t make an impression at all.