Amit Sharma’s film, “Badhaai Ho”, far surpassed my expectations. The film is the first fantastic all-round Bollywood entertainer in many years!
The lives of a middle-aged, middle-class couple (Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao) from Delhi are thrown for a curveball, when they learn they’re expecting their third child. The film shows how people around them react to this news. This includes their aged mother (Surekha Sikri), their adult sons (Ayushmann Khurana), the son’s upper-class girlfriend (Sanya Malhotra) and her mother (Sheeba Chadha), as well as their neighbors and extended families.
Though the plot seems inspired by the iconic Hollywood film “Father of the Bride Part 2”, the handling and storyline are unique to their Indian roots.
From L-R: Neena Gupta, Ayushmann Khurana, Sanya Malhotra, Gajraj Rao, Surekha Sikri and the younger son in a scene from the film.
The middle classes are oft-associated with being the guardians of society’s morality. “Badhaai Ho” beautifully explores this theme. By showing an older couple’s blatant yet believable love for each other, the film stares down a stifling morality that grips many Indians. This is one of many delicate social themes explored here. The film could easily have been preachy, but its comedic presentation makes it real and grounded, with an inspirational message.
The script-writer deserves accolades for a crisp storyline, with many sub-plots given equal opportunity to shine. Whether it’s a subtle inter-class love story, ego tussles between female members of close-knit families, strong community camaraderie, school bullying or the indisputable family bonds that characterize a majority of Indian households. The dialogue is delightfully slick, and the actors deliver it with an expert comic timing. There are multiple laugh-out loud moments with some even being applause-worthy.
The music suits the tone of the film perfectly and includes some catchy tunes. I especially liked the “Badhaai Ho” theme song, the item number played in the end credits- “Morni Banke”, and the lighthearted “Sajan Bade Senti”. The cinematography and costumes capture an endearing side of Delhi winters.
The acting talent of the film is par excellence! Surekha Sikri is mindblowing as the hilariously stern matriarch with a short fuse; Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao both play their characters with equal measures of sensitivity and playfulness; Ayushmann Khurana skillfully portrays all his conflicting emotions; the younger actor who plays his brother also does a good job, as do Sanya Malhotra as Khurana’s girlfriend and Sheeba Chadha as her judgmental and protective mother.
I loved the movie, even if it was a tad over-sentimental towards the end. The sappiness is inconsequential in comparison to the pleasure the entire film gives. However, this is a subjective medium, and I’m reluctant to give a 5 star rating to any film.
I highly recommend “Badhaai Ho” to everyone, regardless of age, gender, class or inclinations. It’s the perfect feel-good celebratory movie to watch with your family this festive season.
FILM RATING: 4.75/5
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