BADHAAI HO: an inconsistent delivery

Amit Sharma’s first directorial was Tevar (2015), it’s hard to believe Badhaai Ho comes from him, but here, it’s mostly screenwriter Akshat Ghildial’s reign. For brief period and importantly Amit Sharma’s Badhaai Ho revolves around the phenomenon commonly known in middle-class family as log kya kahenge (what will people say). Shame is a big factor which drives most of the people under the fear of what will people say, the realisations work on we are family principleUnfortunately, the interesting bits were seen in the trailer leaving only a little to comprehend – but, the comprehensiveness lies in dealing with class and a social spectrum. Akshat juxtaposes higher class as well as middle class providing an ultra-view of the (dys)functionality; and it holds a mirror to the society on its treatment to sex.

An intriguingly unconventional conflict, where elder son Nakul (Ayushmann Khurrana) is in a relationship and another son Gullar (Shardul Rana) is a teen and at an impressionable age to steal condoms – the parents, Jeetendra (Gajraj Rao) and Priyamvada (Neena Gupta) of the two get embroiled into a late pregnancy mishap. Writer’s (Akshat Ghildial, Jyoti Kapoor & Shantanu Srivastava) strength lies with exploration of the clichés and myriad reactions. It delivers right amount of emotions with genuine warmth, laughter and tears; yet, Badhaai Ho felt a long stretch – what would’ve been mounted effectively in a short film gets a 125 minutes chunk. It takes time to set the rhythm and works like a shockwave – inconsistently between a conflict of tramedy (tragedy + comedy) or dramedy (drama + tragedy), like the characters.

Badhaai Ho’s superlative key notes are its simply crafted scenes and effective performances which explore the middle-class in every possible way – it talks about space, in terms of even patriarchy and societal stigma. For instance, the scene where Jeetendra’s grumpy Mother knows about the pregnancy, her first reaction is “when did you get the time to do?”. Towards the second half it engulfs into a sitcom zone, eventually venting out strongly in a we are family zone.

Ayushmann Khurrana looks like a Freudian-kid – whose internal conflicts arise from sex-relatedness whether its Vicky Donor (sperm donation) or Shubh Mangal Savadhan (erectile dysfunction). Ayushmann slips into the middle-class with an ease, he’s like the go-to performer for such roles, which look like tailor-made and he leaves no stone unmarked. Gajraj Rao and Neena Gupta are the real souls of Badhaai Ho who share meatier characters and screen time at-par Ayushmann. There’s a sizzling tenderness in both’s performances, ultimately making it a heartfelt sail. Surekha Sikri as the grumpy Mother is a fireball while Sanya Malhotra in a refreshing role after fierce characters in Dangal (2016) and Pataakha (2018).

Badhaai Ho lingers around situational humour while initiating a conversation about age factor vs. romance, it’s inconsistency mars an ensemble effectiveness. Yet, the superlative performances and unconventional essence pertains throughout.

Language: Hindi
Release: 18 October, 2018
Rating: 3/5

Copyright ©2018 Ninad Kulkarni. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.


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