Badhaai Do Movie Review: This Film Has a Clear Heart But Confused Mind!

Badhaai Do movie review: In a country that decriminalised same-sex relationships just four years back, any film or story that attempts to start a conversation about it is important. Badhaai Do, directed by Harshvardhan Kulkarni has its heart in the right place. It’s the story of Suman (Bhumi Pednekar) and Shardul (Rajkummar Rao) who decide to live like roommates – in what is popularly called a ‘lavender marriage’ – to deal with the family pressure and to hide their sexual preferences in a society where even unmarried heterosexual couples are treated as criminals and are forced to celebrate Valentine’s Day as ‘Matra Pitra Pujan Divas (a day to celebrate parents). To simply say ‘love is love’ in such a society is both courageous and important. But does this beautiful idea transcend into an equally powerful film? Do Suman and Shardul represent the reality of those couples who are stuck in loveless marriages?Also Read – Rajkummar Rao Reveals How He Built a Muscular Physique Despite Being a Vegetarian

With Rajkummar Rao’s brand of cinema, you are always in for some meaningful entertainment. Bhumi, too, has created a niche for herself by presenting stories that drive social change. In Badhaai Do, they both team up to take the conversation around homosexuality a step ahead and do that beautifully. While Rajkummar is delightful as Shardul, a ‘homo-cop’, Bhumi is the woman who is constantly juggling between being a rebel and an ideal woman who is always taught to keep everyone happy around her. When they meet, they feel liberated and that’s probably the only relationship they have – a bond of freedom – they can be who they are when they are together, unapologetically and uninhibitedly. In a scene when they try to forget their reality, once again for the sake of their families, their own sense of unconsciousness wakes them up and they give respect to who they are. That scene, in rain, would have made for a perfect romantic setting in any of Bollywood’s cliche love stories, but in Badhaai Do, the director uses the same setting to break the monotony of romance, as if teasing the audience for the romantic stereotypes they have been served on-screen in many films before. Also Read – Bhumi Pednekar Speaks on Playing a Lesbian Woman in Badhaai Do: ‘That’s Not My Sexual Preference…’

Even with two powerful actors in the lead, what shines the brightest is the presence of a really strong supporting star-cast, especially debutant Chum Darang. Brownie points to the makers for using a north-eastern face in the film sans any conversation about where she has come from or how she looks like. Gulshan Devaiah in his special cameo leaves you with a sweet smile everytime he comes on screen. Sheeba Shukla and Seema Pahwa once again look humble and simple as women who care for their families and in their head, are doing a fabulous job being the ‘open-minded mothers-in-law.’ But only if performances were enough to make any film a 360-degree entertainer! Also Read – Rajkummar Rao Confirms He’ll Begin Stree 2 Soon, Spills The Beans on Mr And Mrs Mahi With Janhvi Kapoor – Exclusive Video

Therés a lot going on in Badhaai Do and that’s precisely the most jarring thing about it. The story talks about one’s own acceptance, importance and readiness to come out as a homosexual person. It then talks about surrendering to the social standards of living like a couple and then moves to question the misogyny that most women face in a family right after they are labelled as ‘bahu.’ The story slowly moves towards the rights of the LGBTQ community in India and the issue of legalising adoption for same-sex couples. All this when the main focus should have clearly been on normalising the conversation around homosexuality in an average Indian household. On its surface now, the attempt looks almost like that of a brilliant chef’s who wanted to include a lot of elements into her dish but ended up making a khichdi that lost both its simplicity and individuality. Moreover, at 152 minutes and 17 seconds, it’s too long a film to test your patience. A missed opportunity despite Rajkummar’s ‘biscuits’, Bhumi’s sincerity and an issue that’s so not explored in Indian cinema yet!

Stars: 2 1/2 

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