Pour: Bhumi Pednekar, Rajkummar Rao, Seema Pahwa, Sheeba Chaddha, Lovleen Mishra, Nitesh Pandey, Shashi Bhushan, Chum Darang and Deepak Arora
Director: Harshavardhan Kulkarni
evaluation: Three and a half stars (out of 5)
A successful, level-headed mix of entertainment and social purpose, Badhai Thurs makes working with a difficult subject easier and gets its message across without breaking out into song and dancing over it. This is not an easy task. The film makes an unequivocal commitment to individuality and inclusivity while delivering a compelling story that’s funny, thought-provoking and intriguingly edgy all at once, while staying firmly on the ground.
The sensitive and witty screenplay by Suman Adhikary and Akshat Ghildial is handled with impressive skill by director Harshavardhan Kulkarni (of Hunterrr fame), who also elicits admirable performances from both leads and a fabulous supporting cast.
By choosing the small town of Uttarakhand as the setting, Badhai Ho secures the freedom not to fall into excessive confusion and to trudge cautiously into a nondescript world where wake-ism is not even a word, let alone an idea circulated and practiced.
While it gets caught up in situations that might seem a little far-fetched – unavoidable given the plot revolves around a marriage of convenience between a lesbian woman and a gay man trying to break free from societal shackles – the film never deviates from the real and down to earth.
Shardul Thakur (Rajkummar Rao), a member of an extended family, is a sub-inspector at a women’s police station in Dehradun. Suman Singh (Bhumi Pednekar), who lives with her parents and a teenage younger brother, is a physical education teacher at a school. Both are in their early 30s but in the mood for being pushed into marriage.
Shardul’s aunt (Seema Pahwa) and his widowed mother (Sheeba Chaddha) are desperate to find a bride for him. Suman is also at a similar point. Both are not interested in the opposite sex, but cannot come out in view of the conservative milieu to which they belong. They find each other – Suman meets Shardul when she reports a stalker to the police – and decide to resort to regular marriage to ditch their families and continue to be who they really are.
The lavender marriage runs into trouble when Sumi’s newfound love, Rimjhim (Chum Darang), an assistant in the pathology lab, moves in with her. Shardul has an apartment in the police colony, and maintaining the facade of a happily married couple becomes a major challenge because the Deputy Superintendent of Police lives in the apartment downstairs. Parents, other relatives and nosy neighbors must be kept at a distance. It’s obviously easier said than done.
From my heart Badhai Thurs is a lively comedy – in many ways and occasionally reminiscent of the subtle, light-hearted methods that a Hrishikesh Mukherjee film used so effectively in another era. But his firm New Age spirit helps him to firmly embrace diversity and difference while exploring notions of masculinity, feminine desire, marriage, procreation, and the shackles society tries to impose on those born differently.
Badhai Thurs has several scenes that could have been unnecessarily trivial if the writing hadn’t been so to the point almost throughout. Yes, the film is overly long and could have used tighter editing. But when it’s run its course and catches on without foaming at the mouth, you leave the theater feeling like this movie couldn’t (and shouldn’t) have been made any other way.
Humor and gentle persuasion are his primary weapons, and he wields them in a way that cloaks a penetrating edge in a velvet sheath. A moment or two approaches the sermon’s edge, only to pull away at the last moment and return to the couch of lightheartedness the film clings to all the way to its preclimatic turning point.
The soundtrack is graced with love songs that celebrate gay love in such a refreshingly matter-of-fact and gently embedded way that they don’t even come across as smashing entrenched prejudices. In this and in another sense Badhai Thurs deserves unqualified congratulations.
If that gives the impression that this is a movie that gets it absolutely right, well, the truth is far from it. Badhai Thurs isn’t without its blemishes, but a two-and-a-half-hour Bollywood film about same-sex love (and a couple of couples trying to make their way in a world full of prejudice) that doesn’t allow any manner of self-conscious awkwardness to get in the way of its run is a small marvel.
In addition to the writing style and the lightness of the directorial interventions, the play of the ensemble cast is extraordinarily effective. Rajkummar Rao is always believable as a cop who must contend with a reality that is at odds with what the world thinks of him. Bhumi Pednekar is no less impressive as the girl who must contend with her own immediate family and those of the man she is “marrying”. Both are finely written, executed and acted roles that exist Badhai Thurs a solid spine.
Seema Pahwa and Sheeba Chaddha are great, as is Loveleen Mishra in the role of the hero’s mother, who occasionally takes a vow of silence. Nitesh Pandey, cast as the heroine’s father, delivers an excellent performance that provides a solid context for the girl’s struggle for acceptance. Gulshan Devaiah, the star of Kulkarni’s 2015 debut film JägerrrHere he plays a cameo that is not only special in a technical sense.
Badhai Thurs runs in cinemas. Make the journey. You will not regret it.
नीचे दिए गए लिंक को क्लिक करे और ज्वाइन करें हमारा टेलीग्राम ग्रुप और उत्तर प्रदेश की ताज़ा खबरों से जुड़े रहें |