Badrinath Ki Dulhania Review
This film starts out as a fun , breezy, romantic comedy suddenly shows so many shades of wrong, it surprises you. And it's a good thing. It throws light on how in a patriarchal society, when everyone is silenced because 'dad has had a heart attack', there is disservice being done to many lives, and many hearts are broken.
Badrinath (Varun Dhawan, perfectly adorable) seems to be leading a happy life, the muscle who makes collections for his moneylender dad. His older brother is married to a lunch-making, housewifely woman his dad chose for him. Badrinath's dad is the patriarch, using his supposed 'weak heart' to emotionally blackmail his family into submission and sometimes using his position as the head of the family to shut everyone up.
At a friend's wedding Badri falls in love with the feisty Vaidehi Trivedi (Aalia Bhatt in a role tailor made for her!), and sends a proposal of marriage through his best friend Somdev Mishra (Saahil Vaid, a brilliant performance), who runs a wedding-at-a-snap business. Everything is hunky dory and Badrinath even works twice as hard because as Vaidehi has demanded, her older sister Kritika needs to get hitched first. Badri finds her a groom, and even part of the dowry to help Vaidehi's parents.
The process of finding a groom for the older sister Kritika is so much fun, you think nothing is ever going to go wrong. After all, it is as they say, it's a Dharma Productions film where the wedding business is perfectly shown.
But Vaidehi has bigger plans than to just be the obedient daughter-in-law of a rich household. She pulls a great escape. And even though so far you have enjoyed the romance and the pursuit of love from the young lad, you begin to understand why Vaidehi escaped matrimony.
Badri has to learn the hard way why Vaidehi does not want to be not just his, but anyone's dulhania. The role of an 'obedient daughter-in-law is suffocating' and that is explained rather well by writer-director Shashank Khaitan.
Badri goes chasing after Vaidehi, and learns what true machismo really means. The second half of the film drags a bit with songs and picnics and shopping, but the younger audiences seemed to enjoy the little song and dance.
You do wish the last scene of comeuppance had been a tad more powerfully written than just subtly, with loose ends tied up nicely (about how Badri's bhabi Urmila, the daughter-in-law of the family was really the brains behind the family's success, and how if dads took pride in their daughters' successes and abilities, they wouldn't ever have to run away). I liked that Badri at last is able to stand up to his dad, but disappointed that he had to use alcohol to make that final speech. Thank God for the humor.
That Aalia Bhatt is a wonderful actor, and can just as easily be Kumari Pinky, a laborer in Udta Punjab as Vaidehi Mishra in this film, is a given. She is luminous. But Varun Dhawan is a revelation. He can prance and dance like the best of the younger lot, but there is something vulnerable about his muscle bound Badri and that is commendable. Saahil Vaid is truly a super support, a friend you'd want if you are in trouble.
This is certainly not Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, but stands in its own place. Happy to entertain.
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