Small town romances continued to rule the box office in 2019. 2020 begins with one more chote-shahar ki badi-badi baatein. These earthy romances have grabbed audiences’ fancy .What I found most interesting about the trailer of Sab Kushal  Mangal is  that the debutants are no conventional lookers . They seem aware of their unorthodox personalities and   play rural Biharis with an infectious gusto, verging on  a seasoned self assurance.

Meet Priyaank Sharma and Riva Kishan. They are progenies of time-tested actors. He is the 1980-90’s favourite Padamini  Kolhapure’s  son. She is the irrepressible Ravi Kishan’s daughterShe plays a fearless uninhibited girl called Mandira who would rather fly a kite than make rotis. He plays a self important TV news anchor and thinks no end of himself.

The trailer puts a winking spin to their bantering romance. The ‘Bihari’ accent is for once, not overdone.

Yes this pair looks convincing.  Baqi sab Ishwar aur Akshaye Khanna ke haath mein. As a glorified goon this neglected Khanna who was brought out  of hibernation last year as the arrogant cocky lawyer in  Article  370, is cast as rustic character for the time in his entire  career. Akshaye goes at his Bihari babu’s role with hammers and tongs.

Sab Kushal Mangal looks like a fresh engaging way to begin the New Year. It’s directed by a newcomer Karan Vishwanath Kashyap. Its producer Prachi Manmohan, daughter of the well-known producer Nitin Manmohan, is also a first-timer.

New talent specially so early in the New Year when the tried-and-tested have failed us so miserably at the end of 2019, is certainly welcome.