Movie Review: Badhaai Do


Badhaai Do Review {2.5/5} & Review Rating

BADHAAI DO is the story of a homosexual couple entering into a lavender marriage. Shardul Thakur (Rajkummar Rao) is a cop in Dehradun. He stays with his conservative family. He is a closet homosexual man and he hasn’t revealed this fact to his family. He’s 32 and his family is pressuring him to get married. Suman Singh (Bhumi Pednekar), meanwhile, is a physical education teacher, and is a closet lesbian. Even her family is compelling her to settle down. She resorts to dating apps to find a suitable match. She comes across the profile of Raju and he expresses a desire to meet her and take matters forward. She agrees and they decide to meet in a café. At the café, she gets the shock of her life when she realizes that Raju is actually a guy pretending to be a girl. This guy, whose real name is Rajeev (Vyom Yadav), finds out where Suman lives and where her father (Nitesh Pandey) has a shop. He blackmails her and demands sexual favours or else he threatens to expose her. Suman complains to the police. Shardul notes down her complaint and he gets Rajeev arrested. Rajeev blurts out to Shardul that she’s not straight. While noting down her complaint, he has learnt that Suman is of the same caste as him. Hence, he meets Suman and asks her to get married to him. According to his plan, both can reside as roommates after tying the knot and can live their lives on their own terms. Suman agrees and thus, both get married. A year after marriage, Shardul’s family starts pressurizing the couple for a baby. Shardul is dating an MBA student, Kabir (Deepak Arora), and their relationship is on the rocks. Suman, meanwhile, bumps into Rimjhim Jongkey (Chum Darang), who works at a pathology lab. Both begin a secret affair and Rimjhim even moves into Shardul and Suman’s marriage. Shardul gets afraid over this development as he resides in the police quarters where his fellow cop neighbours are quite conservative. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

Badhaai Do

Akshat Ghildial and Suman Adhikary’s story is progressive and the concept of the film is quite brave. Akshat Ghildial, Suman Adhikary and Harshavardhan Kulkarni’s screenplay is shaky though at few places, it is entertaining as well touching. Both the main characters are very neatly fleshed out and also that of Shardul’s mother (Sheeba Chaddha). However, the script is stretched in the middle portion of the film. Ideally, the screenplay should have been shorter for a better impact. Akshat Ghildial’s dialogues are conversational but lack punchlines. His dialogues were far better in BADHAAI HO [2018] and the one-liners here should have been similarly witty and smart.

Director Harshavardhan Kulkarni has handled certain scenes with élan. He deserves kudos as a film of such a topic needs to be treated sensitively. In this regard, Harshavardhan comes out with flying colours as there’s nothing offensive or objectionable at all about LGBTQIA+ community. He also breaks stereotypes; the gay character is a strong body-builder with six pack abs and is a cop, something that’s never seen before in a Bollywood film dealing with a homosexual character. Sadly, he lets the film go on and on. BADHAAI DO is 147 minutes long and should have been ideally of 2 hours duration. A few humorous gags fall flat. The director doesn’t explain why Kabir lost interest in Shardul and what went wrong between them. Even Rimjhim’s character disappears in the middle. Thankfully, the last 30-35 minutes are excellent and very moving.

BADHAAI DO’s beginning is alright. The track of Raju is intriguing and inspired by true events. After Shardul proposes marriage to Suman, one expects the makers to devote the next 10-15 minutes to the family preparing for the marriage. However, the film straight away moves to their marriage part and one expects the film to move like a rocket. However, the film begins to wander aimlessly for a while. A few scenes, thankfully, stand out like the blood test scene between Suman and Rimjhim, Shardul pretending to be ‘manly’ in front of the DSP (Abhay Joshi) and his wife (Durga Sharma) and Shardul’s mother trying to act tough in front of Suman but failing big time. Thankfully, things get better in the third act. The film ends on a fine note.

Speaking of performances, Rajkummar Rao, as expected, nails the part. His comic timing is spot-on and overall, he does justice to his part. Bhumi Pednekar also gives her best shot and delivers a heartfelt performance. Sheeba Chaddha gets to play a fun character and raises laughs. In the last act, she communicates through her expressions and eyes beautifully. Chum Darang is a great find and delivers a great performance. Gulshan Devaiah (Devi Narayan) is impressive in a cameo. Nitesh Pandey is lovely and is memorable in the pre-climax scene. Deepak Arora, Vyom Yadav, Loveleen Mishra (Suman’s mother), Abhay Joshi, Durga Sharma, Seema Pahwa, Priyanka Charan (Shardul’s sister) and Nidhi Bhati (Naaznin Baig) are fine.

Music is not memorable and the songs act as a deterrent. The title track, ‘Atak Gaya’, ‘Hum Thay Seedhe Saadhe’, ‘Bandi Tot’ and ‘Maange Manzooriyan’ don’t have a long shelf life. ‘Hum Rang Hai’ is the only track that stands out and comes at a great juncture. Hitesh Sonik’s background score gives the film a light-hearted touch.

Swapnil S Sonawane’s cinematography is appropriate. Laxmi Keluskar’s production design is realistic. Rohit Chaturvedi’s costumes are straight out of life. Kirti Nakhwa’s editing could have been tighter. The film should have been mercilessly edited by at least 30 minutes.

On the whole, BADHAAI DO talks about an important topic in a sensitive manner and is embellished with some fine performances. However, the long length, poor writing, lack of buzz and niche appeal will prove detrimental to its box office performance. It would work only in a handful of cities and urban multiplexes.

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