• Release Date: 19/10/2018
  • Cast: Ayushmann Khurana, Sanya Malhotra, Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao, Surekha Sikri
  • Director: Amit Ravindernath Sharma
  • Written By: Akshat Ghildial (story, screenplay and dialogue), Jyoti Kapoor (story), Shantanu Srivastava (story)

Nakul’s (Ayushmann Khurana) world comes crashing down when he learns that his mother is pregnant. He can’t face his local buddies. He can’t face his girlfriend, he can’t attend family functions and he even chooses to stay away from his work. All that because the society has demarcated a specific age limit to when one can bear offsprings. As the film progresses, Nakul through his own experiences and judgment questions his own actions and embarrassment as he starts taking his parents to be human beings with their own emotions and needs and not just some clog in the greater machinery known as the society.

Badhaai Ho is a brave and well-made film that once again chooses to ask the right questions and comes up with its own set of answers. Nakul’s parents love each other dearly and they had that spark in their relationship and the passion to do something that the society deems unfit after a certain age. The biggest question Nakul needed to ask himself was whether they were right in doing their heart’s will. But instead, he too gets absorbed into what is right and what is wrong by the standards of the society. His embarrassment, his awkwardness and his disbelief at his parent’s action are in strong keeping with the norms of the society. But soon he sees through the sham and then we get to what is the emotional core of the film.

Ayushmann Khurana may be the protagonist of this film but Badhaai Ho belongs to Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao, and Surekha Sikri. The three veterans cook up an insanely funny yet immensely affecting drama that strips bare the issues coming with doing something that is beyond the norms of the society. The Dadi (Surekha Sikri) is highly critical of her Bahu. She finds faults in everything that she does and when she learns of her pregnancy, it results in some of funniest bits in the film. The witty dialogues and the realistic rendering of a jilted character by Sikri breathe life into a scene that is what it is primarily because of the way it is acted out. The same Dadi towards the end of the film turns a whole new leaf and becomes even more hilarious. I will be honest to say that she got me teary-eyed in a scene where she stands up for her Bahu who is being cornered for being uncultured as she is pregnant in an odd age.

Gajraj Rao plays the father, a TTE by profession and a hobbyist poet who goes by the name of Kavi Vyakul. In many of the scenes of the film, one can see the sense of awe and attraction that he has for his wife. Rao brings indelible charm to these scenes and makes his character believable and gives it the reasons for doing what he ends up doing. If that was not good enough, just look out for him in the scenes where he has to portray a man who is gradually being cornered by his own sons and the society for doing something that is extremely personal and in many ways a matter of mutual consent between him and his wife. Badhaai Ho will be remembered as one of the best performance from Gajraj Rao after his Dawood Phandse turn from Black Friday.

Neena Gupta had little to do in Mulk but here she is one of the four axis’ on which this film stands and she does a terrific job. I loved the amount of control that she had on her expressions and how she essayed her character mostly through her expressions letting out very little in terms of spoken words. That incidentally gave a lot more depth to her character and excused her from most of the comedy thereby keeping intact the seriousness of her character. Her condition is used in the end effectively to extract some wonderful drama. The scenes that she shares with Ayushmann are some of the best in the film.

Ayushmann Khurana is fast turning out to be one of the most brilliant actors of Bollywood. In a matter of three weeks, he has starred in two polar-opposite films (Andhadhun, Badhaai Ho) and has done exceptionally well in both. The man has the range, the charm and also the screen presence to make you like his characters on screen. He also understands his characters and gives other chance to share screen space. He is not afraid to take a step back and let others take center stage. He is more of an actor than a star which has been serving him really well in the films he has been choosing. Badhaai Ho is an addition to that very list. I loved his scenes with Gajraj Rao and Sanya Malhotra. Again it’s the expression that makes you laugh out loud more than the dialogues.

Badhaai Ho is a laugh riot that never forgets its emotional core. It may not be too self-serious but it maintains enough maturity and poise for you to take it seriously. It has a unique story to tell and is characterized by some wonderful performances. In short, if you are looking for a film to tug at your heart-strings and your funny bones at the same time, Badhaai Ho is the one for you this week.

Rating: 3.5/5 (3.5 out of 5 Stars)



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