Honestly speaking, I went in expecting to be greeted by an empty theatre where I’d have my pick of seats. Instead, I was wedged in between kids in their teens, early twenties (my age. Ahem!) families, couples and then some people – who’ve come all by themselves. So many Badrinath fans? Unexpected.

⏩ Genre :- Rom-Com/Drama.

⏩ Run-time :- 2 hrs 20 mins.

⏩ Cast :- Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Gauahar Khan, Shweta Basu Prasad, Rituraj Singh, Sahil Vaid, Aparshakti Khurrana.

⏩ Director :- Shashank Khaitan.

⏩ Plot – The plot is basic. Badri is born into a millionaire orthodox family, where the birth of a boy is seen as an asset, and a girl child, a liability. Also, a boy’s worth must be encashed at the time of his wedding, paid by the girl’s side, aka dowry. Our “metric-pass” Badri falls head over heels for an ambitious and straight-headed Vaidehi (Alia) after witnessing her “nakhre” (tantrums) at a wedding function. While Vaidehi is an educated career-oriented modern woman, the only goal in Badri’s life is to desperately get married to her. Will sparks fly between the North and South pole? Or will Badri’s world come crashing down?

⏩ Direction and Screenplay :-

It is quite commendable and creative of Shashank to use a rom-com as a vehicle to deliver the message of women’s empowerment. Backed by Dharma, the production design is larger than life and vivid. To be honest, the characterization is a lot like Humpty… A reputed family with –
A male – chauvinist father who gets things done using his chest-pains and false alarms of heart-attacks as a remote control,
A meek mother whose job is to only nod at whatever her husband says,
A doting ‘bhaiya’ (brother),
A supportive ‘bhabhi’ (Sis-in-law)
And a bestfriend-cum-sidekick who is always ready to save his BFF’s ass.
Finally, last and the least, our ne’er-do-well and lousy hero – Badri. So there was a high chance of BKD falling flat on it’s face considering the mundane background. But instead, it turned out to be a perfect example of how a mainstream cinema can do wonders when backed up by excellent performances and an intelligent screenplay. He highly succeeds in the first half of the film, where one can feel the strong undercurrent going behind the comical scenes. The movie could have been an even greater entertainer, but nevertheless still ends up being a decent one time watch.

⏩ Editing and Cinematography :-

Editing by Manan Sagar, could’ve been better. The first half is fine and easy, but its the second half that seems stretched to the fullest. Few scenes are hastily woven in the the second half, making it repetitive, bland and boring at times.

Cinematographer Neha Parti Matiyani, whose earlier works include Ghajini, My Name Is Khan, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and many more, ups her game with BKD by adding more colors into the frame. The way she has captured the scenes in Singapore post interval is fascinating and captivating. A part of the credit for maintaining the liveliness of the film, goes to her since she has managed to blend the colors according to the mood of the scenes.

⏩ Music :-

BKD has got a good music collection but we miss the magic Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s Main Tenu Samjhavan had created. Before you start sulking about that, we have a
soulful number by Arijit Singh called Roke Na Ruke Naina, which might make you smile. PS- The song might make more sense when you watch the film.

Another romantic number Humsafar, sung by Akhil Sachdeva, will remind you of Atif’s beautiful voice. Nothing extraordinary about the song tho

Speaking of Tamma Tamma, if we ignore the rap, the best thing is the fact that they have retained Bappi Lahiri and Anuradha Paudwal’s voices. (Psst! Club owners, you’ve got another groovy chartbuster.)

The title track is scintillating and extravagant, like the typical Bollywood songs.
Aashiq Surrender Hua is an obnoxious rehash of the 90s songs. Unimpressive.

⏩ The Highs –

▶ While the rallying call of this generation is gender-equality (which is an exact synonym of Feminism, but some people will start pelting stones at me for using this term. Because, half knowledge), it’s high-time our commercial filmmakers refrain from burying their heads in the sand, clean up, recognize and felicitate the new age hero: Heroine. And Shashank has done the same thing, progressively. Yeah, I know it has been done before with ‘Queen, Pink, English Vinglish, Dear Zindagi.’ But this, is an unanticipated but amiable disposition.

▶ It lacks the realism of hard-hitting indie cinema. For instance, a male-molestation case being jerked off as humor. But it still manages to take a relevant subject to a wide audience in a mainstream yet mature way.

▶ The Jai – Veeru esque jodi of Dhawan and Vaid, displays impeccable timing and enough bromance for you to root for them. There is a confrontation scene on the beach, which will remind you of Ranbir and Aditya Roy Kapoor from YJHD.

▶ This is a the third time Varun and Alia had been paired together and their chemistry seems to be growing each time. They give you glimpses from the life of a teenage couple, married couple and best-friends and ultimately leave you yearning for more. Now, this is what we call a pitched perfect pairing.

▶ Bollywood has a tendency of romanticising tailing and stalking in the guise of “wooing” a reluctant woman. Badri thankfully doesn’t fall into the above category because Shashank’s smart writing, alongwith Varun’s performance, limits the story to being comical than creepy. Wise move.

▶ The character sketch of few artists have been sculpted and defined very well. Also, the idea of bringing together the trio from Humpty… Gaurav Pandey, Sahil Vaid and Varun Dhawan is a win-win for the makers. Although they don’t have much screen space together, they are fun to watch.

Bringing the old trio back is one of the greatest high of this film.

 

⏩ The Lows –

▶Out of the blue climax. The screenplay keeps wobbling for a long time towards the end leading to a hurried and unconvincing climax. The whole concept of the climax is wonderful, but somehow it fails to cumulate on the screen.

▶ Few scenes annoy the shit out of your brains. Too many airline advertisements. Post interval, we are subjected to long sequences about the professionalism and working of a Singaporean airline.

▶ Then there’s another scene between the leading pair, where Badri asks Vaidehi, “Have I ever misbehaved with you, or tried to hurt you in any way?” Okay, so the next thing he is going to demand is to be made the President of the country. I mean, come on, that’s a rare talent – not being violent to a woman.

▶ Well, I don’t find it funny when an able-bodied and handsome man is molested by a gang of boys in an empty street at midnight. Harassment is not cool, be it a woman or a man at the receiving end. Where’s the joke? Yet everyone on the screen and around me in the theater were rolling over. Maybe it’s just me who didn’t even smile, let alone laugh? Or am I simply nitpicking? You tell me!

▶ The screenplay falters in a scene or two – Who pays the dowries for the two daughters doesn’t add up? No one seems to be bothered about the cost of the lavish wedding. Let’s not even get into the mumbo-jumbo that Badrinath’s sister-in-law gives as financial advice. It boggles the mind. All that time, energy and effort spent on making a film, and no one could approach the film’s accountant to give them a decent two lines? Let alone the fact that she said it all so fast, she might as well have been saying, “MutualFundinvestmentsaresubjecttomarketrisks. PleasereadtheOfferDocumentcarefullybeforeinvesting.”

⏩ Performances :-

▶ Alia Bhatt’s gets a very easy role for an actress of her caliber. She puts up a charming act but is clearly uninspired. The film doesn’t do anything to satiate the artist within her but it will keep her on the top of the popularity charts and number game. Because, well, she is talented.

▶ Varun Dhawan as Badri, steals the show here. Right from twitching his nipples to playing a homicidal killer in Badlapur, he’s been more than competent. Varun Dhawan for once outshines Alia Bhatt as the story is told from his perspective. He got the accent, the body language and the arrogance of a small town guy bang on and he effortlessly switches from comedy to emotional scenes. It also helps that he dances like a dream. He is Salman Khan and Govinda combined together. The only flaw in Dhawan’s performance is this weird – pulling his mouth in exaggerated vowel formations thing, as if he were doing the voice-over for Nargis Fakhri, oops, I mean, a duck. XD

▶ Shweta Basu Prasad, as the sister-in-law, gives a fine performance but an actor of her caliber must be given a meaty role.

▶ Rituraj Singh, as the autocratic father, is too young to play a dad to Varun Dhawan. Yet he manages to score fine.

▶ Sahil Vaid, (Arre haan vohi Humpty Sharma wala cute bestfraand. Yaha bhi hain vo XD) as Badri’s English-fearing friend, grabs his chance here and shines. Dhawan and his pairing gives a tough time to that of the lead couple. He is the best thing in the film.

▶ Aparshakti Khurrana, Gaurav Pandey and Gauahar Khan are completely wasted but they do justice to whatever they have been provided. Also, Yash Sinha, Swanand Kirkire, Aakansha Singh and others lend good support.

Watch o Not ? Since it’s an extended weekend, watching it won’t do any harm. Trust me, this was very unexpected. I didn’t think I’d say it, but this is a well-defined, perfectly structured follow up of the … Ki Dulhania series. It brings the same amount of joy, laughter and colors, as Holi. To all the people in their early 20s, it might even remind you of YJHD and Dear Zindagi’, at times. Whaat? No, seriously. I guess that’s enough temptation. Go and book your tickets, rightaway.

⏩ Verdict : Badrinath Ki Dulhania, is a chirpy and fresh love story, packed with energetic performances, well-placed humor, decent writing and it comes with a bonus: It provides a chauvinistic man, a crash course in gender equality. The movie could have been an out and out entertainer, but ends up on a satisfying note. The cuteness of the lead actors along with the funny one liners and melodious songs makes this movie a decent watch on this long weekend.

Ratings – 3./5