Badrinath Ki Dulhania – Movie Review – Entertaining , yet thought provoking

Badrinath_ki_Dulhania

We live in India, the country which is synonymous with contradiction.

We worship goddesses, yet our women are oppressed into becoming meek submissive creatures who adjust, adapt and sacrifice until all the zest for life is sucked out of them.

Shashank Khaitan’s Badrinath Ki Dulhania is a romantic comedy, which attempts to impart a message of gender equality while entertaining the audience. Now many might think that this is 2017, and issues like dowry and women being forced to give up their career dreams are so last century; but the scathing fact is that this is 2017, and issues like female infanticide, dowry harassment and female oppression are as prevalent as ever. And these instances are not just limited to small towns like Jhansi and Kota, these things happen in the most posh neighborhoods of cities like Delhi and Mumbai too. According to studies, despite all the initiatives to increase awareness, female sex ratios among infants is on the decline; and primary reason for that is sex selective abortions. Even today, marriages are decided on basis on the amount of dowry promised, and even today, women give up successful careers simply because their husbands and in-laws do not want them to step out of the house.

Story:
Badrinath Ki Dulhania starts off with introducing Badrinath Bansal (Badri) who is a son of a rich businessman running automobile cars, which is  based in Jhansi. He has a good pal in company Somnath (Sahil Vaid). There he meets Vaidehi (Alia Bhatt) at a mutual friends wedding at Kota. Of course Badri falls in love with Vaidehi and there starts an love angle between them. After some Desi Romance (Which is Refreshing), Vaidehi has some good ambitions in life to become an well settled Air – hostess. Badri finally is successful to convince her for the huge wedding until she reveals she has an elder sister in which has to be married first. Badri and Somanth find a suitable guy named Bhushan (Aparshakti Khurrana) who is simply fabulous! Everything is looking great for an happy ending until Vaidehi runs away from the big wedding in which everybody were excited for! Badri’s father does not want her to work after marriage, and an message is evident here.What happens next, is to see for.

The film delves deep into a middle class life in small towns of India and how archaic they still are when it comes to daughters, their marriage woes and the futility of a girl’s personal dreams. The father of two girls as always is a humble man with docile mannerisms, waiting for the day to get them married irrespective of having constructed their own identities. The father of the two sons ( Badrinath and his brother ), played by RituRaj is a male chauvinist, adheres to the 50 year old definition of a woman’s status in a feudal family and vows to physically and publicly punish the girl who betrayed his son. We read of such men daily in our newspapers, well it’s a reality. Feudal men feel the irresistible urge to get back at a woman through physical might.  However, the film also goes on a male bashing spree at times, caricaturing men only in a certain light.

 Badri is a cool boy, with ‘no dowry at all’ attitude. He falls in love with a girl much smarter than himself and also coerces her to follow her dreams. It’s about boys who love their girls dearly but can’t break out from the hard cocoon built by their father at home.

Despite a couple of clichés, there are chances of you to get emotional, particularly if you had grown up in a small town and witnessed such stories.

What I liked best was a scene where inspired by Alia’s zest for life, passion for her career and hunger for her individuality, Badrinath remembers not his mother but his Bhabhi ( played by Shweta prasad) and draws parallels between the two women. She stood a bright chance at life too, had she been allowed to have a career. Moments when she refuses to be a helpless girl make this movie refreshing.

It stands out by pinpointing the regressive social system of dowry without making the proceedings melodramatic or overdrawn. In fact, the regression is passive – and almost accepted by all.

That is why the detailed disclaimer at the start of the film, asserting that neither the film nor the cast endorses anything related to discriminating women is relevant. Typically, therefore, the film goes to establish the patriarchal order of families, and how women – despite their dreams or qualification – are relegated to being ‘house-wives.’

The hero Badrinath conforms to the equation; he doesn’t see anything wrong or right in the dowry system – he simply plays along because he doesn’t want to challenge the order or take on his powerful dad.

While women cry foul at the social inequalities, it is not surprising that the prevailing order continue uninterrupted – after all, not everyone has the nerve or need to fight back.

Shashank shows great restraint in not making Vaidehi a caricatured feminist; this is just any girl, who dreams and dares to do. Post-interval, the film shifts gears after a disturbing turn in the life of Badri and Vaidehi brings to spotlight not just the dowry system but also the core theme of the film – women’s empowerment.

Badrinath Ki Dulhania is set in Jhansi, and the choice could not have been coincidental. After all, this city has been home to one of the most courageous women warriors of India.

Badrinath Ki Dulhania is a film straight from the heart !  A woman can be fiercely independent,self dependent and yet doesnt offend or distrust men for the sake of it.She can Love!!! Writer Director Shashank Khaitan has made a far better film than his debut Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. It’s an entertainer,consistently funny,shift in attitude towards women and life without being preachy at all!

Here are 4 instances from the film which drive the point about gender equality.

1) If you love a woman, support her aspirations, unconditionally

Varun Dhawan’s character in the film is of a 10th standard dropout who is brought up to believe that he is privileged and will get whatever he asks for. But, to his dismay, Alia’s character turns down his advances immediately, because for her, career comes first.

So, from being the man who thought that he was doing a woman a great favour by agreeing to marry her despite the fact that she had been in a relationship, Badri undergoes a change. He sees beyond his patriarchal upbringing, understands her point of view, and decides to give up everything he has, so that she can pursue her dreams.

2) Forced marriages don’t just affect women, they ruin lives of the men too

Apart from the Badri- Vaidehi storyline, the film also has a sub-plot about Badri’s brother and his wife’s marriage, which was arranged against their wish. While Shweta Basu Prasad’s character (Badri’s bhabhi) is the perfect embodiment of the oppressed Indian daughter in law, Khaitan also focusses on the fact that her husband is equally unhappy and disturbed because of the alliance forced by the patriarchs of their families.

3) Don’t aspire to be the daughter who is equivalent to the son; be the best daughter

Many girls unknowingly demean themselves by saying that, even though I am a girl, I want to be the son of the family. The film raises the valid point that why being ‘like a son’ is the ultimate statement for achievement for a daughter. As Badri rightly says, Beta Kyun Ban Na Hai, Sabse Achhi Beti Bano.

4) Do not shame parents of the girl

More often than not, parents want to encourage their daughters to study or pursue their passion, but decide against it because of the judgemental attitude of the neighbours, relatives etc. Also, it’s considered okay for a girl to study and make a career, but sadly, getting married is the only achievement that actually seems to matter.

The film gives out this message loud and clear that the parents of the girl should not let anyone shame them because their daughter isn’t married, instead they should take pride in her accomplishments.

Director Shashank Kaithan has done an amazing job! Kudos to Him!  Karan Johar, Fox Studios for backing this project with a brilliant social message will definitely get the result for it. It’s not at all easy to present a film with a brilliant social message that too entertaining you for such a long time. Though the ending is a tad predictable. Nevertheless, a film which will keep you tight, make you laugh, typical small town romance, emotions, what else would you like! Badrinath Ki Dulhania offers you everything.

Alia Bhatt as Vaidehi Trivedi is fab as always. In an out and out commercial film after few of her reflective performances, she is a delight to watch.  But if there is someone who can steal the spotlight, its Varun Dhawan as Badrinath Bansal in the movie. He is just brilliant, his expressions, his dialect and his act, all bindaas and superb. Their chemistry is crackling. And while the two take the film forward with absolute confidence, it is the supporting crew that makes the world believable.

Sahil Vaid as Badrinath’s friend is wonderful in his performance, he is spontaneous and super fun. Aakanksha Singh As Kiran and Gaurav Pandey as Gurmeet, Alia’s two friends are good in their roles and catches your attention. Shweta Basu Prasad and Gauahar Khan makes their presence felt in their short roles.

Music is a big highlight.. Badrinath Ki Dulhania title track, Tamma Tamma Again, Humsafar, Roke Na Ruke Naina … awesome! Hint of  ‘Samjhawan’ too… in climax.

Full on family entertainer with super performances,cool music and super writing.Enjoy!

 

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