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Badrinath Ki Dulhania Review

Badrinath Ki Dulhania
Vaishnavi Kulkarni /
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait to rent it
Following the success of Humpty Sharma's wedding, Shashank Khaitan brings us another (unrelated) installment in the "Ki Dulhaniya" series - a rocky ride which teeters between feminism and misogyny, using not-so-subtle social satire and humour. So fasten your seatbelts and brace yourselves - it's time for Badrinath to get married.

We drop into the Bansal household, right in the middle of Jhansi, and are introduced to Mr. Bansal (Sr.). A man with patriarchal notions firmly rooted in his psyche, Mr. Bansal sees women as little more than serving carts bearing tea and snacks - he could well be the founder of the tasteless, sexist line of "go back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich" jokes.

His two sons, Badri (Varun Dhawan) and his bhaiyya, have an unfortunate medical condition. Their vocal cords and spines mysteriously cease to exist in the presence of their oxygen cylinder-toting father, despite their being afforded the decency of being treated like actual human beings by him.

We meet Vaidehi Trivedi (Alia Bhatt) soon after, a character in sharp contrast to Badri, the man-child who thinks he is God's gift to women. Vaidehi wants to shoot for the stars, and displays absolutely no interest in settling down as someone's wife - so of course, staying true to the proclivity of Bollywood heroes to decide that a woman's rejection must mean that she is totally interested, he vows to make her his bride, and woos her by stalking and harassing her.

The first half is fairly light-hearted - humorous without resorting to lame clichés. Vaidehi and Badri flirt and bond while trying to set her sister up with an eligible bachelor, and Vaidehi is charmed by Badri's innocence and his good heart (as good as it could be after being subjected to the toxic masculinity of his father, that is). She ultimately succumbs to family pressure and agrees to marry Badri.

But come the day of the wedding, we see a refreshing deviance from the usual Hindi film spiel in which the ambitious, career-driven woman folds the moment the man reveals his hand of tradition, regressive family values and patriarchy, topped by the trump card of love - Vaidehi decides to take her destiny into her own henna-coated hands and pulls a classic runaway bride.

It is a testament to the talent of Varun Dhawan that we feel sorry for him whilst simultaneously cheering Vaidehi for her courage. He plays his part with a genuineness that doesn't overplay his character's childlike innocence and sweetness or his annoying cockiness. Alia Bhatt excels as always; her portrayal of the feisty and brave young girl is real and believable. Sahil Vaid also does a great job at playing Badri's sidekick, the best friend aka the comic-relief character, Somdev Mishra.

The film plummets a bit after the intermission, stomping out the embers of the message it is gradually trying to convey. Papa Bansal, enraged by the perceived humiliation of his family, decides that the only way to salvage his reputation is to publicly murder Vaidehi. In his world, being known as a kidnapper and murderer is still a good legacy to leave.

He provokes Badri to commit the crimes, and we are treated to 45 minutes of Badri acting like a psychopath by throwing girls into car trunks and beating up innocent bystanders, in the backdrop of Singapore. Vaidehi, astoundingly, acts like she deserves it - her argument being that she hurt him first. Newsflash: Getting left at the altar is not a free pass to turn into Jack The Ripper.

There is also a disturbing point in the narrative - an incident of attempted male rape is turned into crude and feeble fodder for humour. In a film that is ostentatious in its socially relevant message, it is horrifying that a man being assaulted is casually turned into a joke about his (supposed lack of) masculinity.

Thankfully, the movie redeems itself in the last quarter. Badri develops a sense of pride over Vaidehi's achievements, and begins to question his ideals and see the error in his and his family's ways. The final showdown, while predictable, is immensely satisfying to watch.

The characters are well-written; their flaws make them relatable and balance their other larger-than-life traits. The chemistry and the banter between Dhawan and Bhatt keep the romance alive, and certain moments of candid honesty as their characters grow and begin to respect each other make you shed a tear.

The songs are quite generic, and the remake of a hit '90s song hurts the eardrums. However, Arijit Singh's soulful crooning of Roke Na Ruke Naina steals the show. The film has beautiful visuals, and juxtaposing the dusty beauty and tradition of Jhansi's architecture against the contemporary, bright and shiny development of Singapore is pretty symbolic.

Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya is a fun watch for kids and adults alike. It is nice to watch a film that promotes the concept that mere love is never enough, and that it is friendship, mutual respect and support for each other's choices that make for a happy marriage.
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Badrinath Ki Dulhania (hindi) reviews
Rating is quick and easy - try it!
  • Cast
    Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Gauahar Khan, Mohit Marwah, Aakanksha Singh, Sahil Vaid
  • Music
    Akhil Sachdeva, Amaal Mallik, Tanishk Bagchi
  • Director
    Shashank Khaitan
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
rahulsachinsourav123 on 13th Mar 2017, 1:17pm | Permalink
Entire second half was unnecessary except for climax. Just to make it 2.5 hour movie, all senseless scenes were added. Primary purpose of movie should be entertainment and all others like social messages, teaching ethical values and all should be secondary. Just to give some social message for few minutes of climax, there can't be 1.5 hours boring scenes. Not sure how 7 star rating given, nowadays all critics and reviewers looks to rate movies based on values and ethics and morals which I disagree. If I need to learn about them, I will very well watch some documentaries on DD television.

And why attempted male rape is disturbing scene? Since its a reality especially in western societies, why can't public see social relevant message in it too? Also if males saves females from getting raped, it's heroism and if females saves males from getting raped, its disturbing?? At least I saw heroism from heroine and it also carries social message in a way :)
Vaishnavi Kulkarni on 21st Mar 2017, 11:50pm | Permalink
The rating takes into account every aspect of the movie, not merely the plot. Good performances, even in a mediocre part of the story, count towards the overall rating, as does social relevance. But of course, this is my personal take on the movie and you can certainly have differing views. :)
It is disturbing because, as I clearly mentioned, it was turned into a joke by the movie. The part where she saves him was NOT disturbing, but laughing at what happens and treating it like a hilarious incident certainly was. It is a very serious issue and the movie used it to score a cheap laugh from the audience. The movie had many flaws, but in my opinion, mocking a serious crime that is already neglected far too much was its biggest one.
rahulsachinsourav123 on 29th Mar 2017, 2:19pm | Permalink
Okay, thanks for the clarification. Initially I was surprised with your thought process but then I read lot of media articles where movie actors, producer and director coming out and clarifying on this man molestation scene. So it did seem like to invite lot of criticism since there is lot of public who did have similar perspective as yours towards this scene :)
JayZ on 13th Mar 2017, 1:40pm | Permalink
Most critics give reviews based on the cast..that's why such movies and Raees gets 7s and 8s
Neil Anderson on 12th Mar 2017, 12:10am | Permalink
I liked it too. Great review Ms. Kulkarni.

True testament to the talent of both leads when we root for one and equally feel sorry for the other (interval scene).

I personally also thought the scene in the bus was a riot ...

Thoroughly enjoyed this one.
vaishnavikulkarni on 21st Mar 2017, 11:53pm | Permalink
Thank you :)
JayZ on 11th Mar 2017, 8:04pm | Permalink
Wow a 7!!!!! I would give it a 2
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