Cast: Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Sahil Vaid
Badrinath Ki Dulhania is what happens when a substantial social message forms a significant undertone of a modern-day breezy love story leading to an outright ‘paisa-wasool’ Bollywood film.
The last time Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan united on screen, they brought to life the love story of Kavya Pratap and Humpty Sharma in Shashank Khaitan’s Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. And this time, Khaitan weaves a delightful yet complicated tale of Badrinath and Vaidehi, making an out and out commercial success.
Badrinath Bansal (Varun Dhawan), a gullible, pampered son falls in love with a go-getter and a rebellious woman Vaidehi Tiwari (Alia Bhatt). It’s love-at-first sight for Badri who belongs to Jhansi, but the woman has her own priorities. Being the dedicated lover that Badri is, he decides to pursue the smart Kota woman. Just like a usual Bollywood film, the two meet and soon their fights turn into adorable banters and before you know, she has fallen for him too. Badri’s attempts to make her fall in love with him are more like good deeds for family members. But the story doesn’t go the usual way and a climax awaits the viewers.
Alia Bhatt, as a performer, is a delight to watch. She paves her way from being a good family girl to pursing her passion and amid the onscreen personal journey, you witness her professional transformation too. First half sees her as a woman with a strong grip on burning one-liners, at times slyly pulling Badri’s leg, and dropping hints with her charming smile. If not that, she’s giving back to patriarch ideologies without being too loud. The second half shows her as a confident woman, pursuing her passions vehemently and leading a successful life away from home.
At one point in the film, Dhawan’s character Badri says, “Humse koi chidd jaaye, yeh toh ho nahi sakta?” And rightly so. Dhawan is a charmer – partly due to his affable vibe and partly for his comic timing. As Badri falls in love with Vaidehi, women fall in love with Varun. With his emotions taking the limelight, it makes it difficult to not feel and fall for both him and his character. His teary eyes convey angst with the same panache with which he delivers a quick fun-filled one liner. And even though he goes a little overboard a few times, you wouldn’t mind it.
The fact that the Bhatt and Dhawan are comfortable with each other makes their pairing look so effortless. They share a camaraderie that tugs the viewers’ hearts each time they appear together. Alia’s breezy vibe complements Varun’s enthusiastic persona and churns out an onscreen couple Bollywood is lucky to have.
Not often does a film captures your attention right from the beginning and keeps you invested till the very end. And the credit for the induced attention span goes to the supporting cast. The same faces that left you in splits in the prequel make you chuckle in this one too. Sahil Vaid perfectly nails the best friend act! He becomes and remains this personification of ‘Tu mera bhai hai na’ throughout the film. The chuckles get louder every time Sahil comes on screen. Gaurav Pandey, too, plays his part well. Some scenes, featuring the three together, bring back the memories of Humpty, Shonty and Poplu from the first film. Shweta Basu Prasad, Gauahar Khan and Yash Sinha do justice to their characters.
Beneath the ‘paisa wasool’ plot lie some grave societal issues. The film begins with a humorous take on gender-based discrimination thereby tagging ‘ladki’ as a ‘liability’ and ‘ladka’ as an ‘asset’. It brings to the limelight the culture of dowry, the depth of patriarch values ingrained in our society, the mere respect standards of ‘ladkiwala’ and ‘ladkewala’ during the wedding ceremonies and the urge of a modern woman to live her life on her own terms – both financially and emotionally. It wavers from one relevant issue to another without being boisterous or sounding preachy. The makers haven’t made obvious the good intentions that form a strong undertone of this breezy love affair yet the message is crystal clear.
Director Shashank Khaitan’s understanding of modern-day relationships is a job well done. He has managed to capture the intricacies and complications of a human mind in a pretty relatable way.
The droll one-liners are the true strength of this film and probably play a major part in building the characters that’ve been etched. More like subtle digs making viewers face to face with the society’s stark reality such as Dulha dhoond rahe hai Roadie nahi or 3 saal se tumhara biodata ghoom raha hai or Ladka humara sale pe nahi hai. Several other references including rejection ka thappad, ghusand or chutkimeishaadi.com in tandem with the dialect will leave you in splits. Even though the dialect is a bit flawed, it is still a minor drawback.
Watch this one for its well-woven plot, crisp performances, groovy numbers and of course, the good intentions. The fact that it questions the patriarchal mind set with a breezy modern-day love tale makes it a relevant watch. It’s an absolute feel-it movie!