Rating: 3.5/5 stars
‘He is nice, but I can’t see ourselves getting married because in a relationship, respect is important. Today, he doesn’t respect me, and I don’t respect him’
This is pretty much the essence of Badrinath Ki Dulhania which, other than talking about matters like equal rights, women empowerment and more also emphasizes on the need of mutual respect. Being nice or being in love is just not enough (as per the characters), if there is no respect for each other. Truer words have never been said and while filmmaker Shashank Khaitan tries to say a lot through his second outing Badrinath Ki Dulhania, it is these words that reverberate the strongest in one’s mind.
From the theme perspective though, one has seen it earlier in Kareena Kapoor and Tusshar Kapoor starrer Mujhe Kuch Kehnna Hai . Back then, it was about the girl in question deciding to go for higher studies instead of opting for a marriage. This time around, the female protagonist [Alia] wonders if it is really unreasonable to build a career for herself, even if back home (especially in the interiors of the country) everyone around her believes that getting married is the best possible solution to ‘get rid of the liability’!
It is this battle of liability (woman) v/s an asset (man) that sets the stage for the Karan Johar production. Now this could well have turned out to be a heavy duty stuff that may have taken an offbeat route. However, considering the fact that this is a Dharma film, one pretty much sees the ethos of the production house ensuring that the entertainment quotient is kept intact. What makes it special is the fact that while the film is set in the interiors with ‘shaadi-byaah’ and other ‘desi’ modalities alike, the film never gets into the Imtiaz Ali [Jab We Met] or Aanand L. Rai [Tanu Weds Manu] or Sooraj Barjatya [Vivaah] zone!
Instead, the film maintains its own integrity and in this aspect, the lead stars are in great form which ensures that never once does the drama or the light hearted moments appear fake. Varun Dhawan as well as Alia Bhatt get their lingo, accent as well mannerisms right to suit the Jhansi/Kota milieu correct, which means they do well in shedding off the persona from their Dishoom and Dear Zindagi days. To see these Mumbai born and brought up actors get the interiors feel so right on screen is a good enough testimonial of their true talent and this is what truly gets tapped by the makers.
This is well supported by those around them as well, especially the guy who plays Varun’s best friend [Sahil Vaid] and is there right through the film’s running length. He is the one who is practically responsible for most of the funny moments in the film. As for the others in the frame, majority are from the world of television and though Rituraj Singh is a rather awkward casting as Varun’s father (he just doesn’t fit the bill), everyone else – be it Yash Sinha (Varun’s brother), Shweta Basu (Varun’s sister-in-law), Sukhmani Lamba (as Alia’s sister), Swanand Kirkire (as Alia’s father) and Gaurav Pandey (as Alia’s friend) is adequate.
What does come across as rather inadequate are some portions post the interval point. (Spoilers ahead) There are a series of sequences once Varun hunts for Alia in Singapore and what happens there could well equate to stalking. Agreed that later in the film Varun is shown to be guilty about his acts but the chain of events for close to 20-25 minutes when Varun creates a lot of scene in and around Alia’s workplace makes one wonder if there could have been a different way to handle this portion of the script. Moreover, during these portions, the film becomes repetitive too and even slows down at times.
Thankfully, just like the first half of the film which is quite entertaining, the last 20-25 minutes bring Badrinath Ki Dulhania back in form as well. From the time things start becoming well between Varun and Alia to the moments that they share in Singapore to Varun’s return to Jhansi to the sequence that takes place at the ‘pooja’ to the eventual climax, you like what unfolds on screen. This is also the time in the film when ‘Tamma Tamma’ is included in the narrative and that further perks up the scene, instead of coming across as an unwanted guest.
As for the celebrations that take place in the coming together of Badrinath and his ‘dulhania’, you certainly won’t mind being a guest. The film keeps the smiles on right through the first half, and then the culmination is on a feel good note as well that leaves one with a smile on the face. That is good enough to give this entertainer a dekko.