Badrinath ki Dulhania Movie Review

It is a Dharma Productions masala flick with a social pulse with attempt to understand deep rooted cultural thoughts and the quiet redefining of gender stereotype. No, no preachy sessions here.

Badrinath urf Badri (Varun Dhawan) lives in Jhansi. That’s small town in India. This Jhansi is still feudal with a strategic father who does not stop using heart attack to get his way when he seems to be losing control of his immediate family. He has a large presence and orders everybody around but forgets it is 2017 and not 1947. He looms the scare of death due to an attack over their heads and with that he also got his eldest son to give up his love and agree to marry a girl arranged by the family. In short, Badri lives with ruling father, silent mother, a compromising brother and a sister–in-law who has no adjective yet.

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It is the younger Badri’s turn to be bound by matrimony and he poses and preens with intentions of matrimonial matchmaking success.. He is single and ready to mingle with blessings of his parents. He then meets Vaidehi (Alia Bhatt), who comes with opinions, a clear focus in life, wants to be independent and is feisty. None of this fits into Badri’s family. She is not impressed at first with what she sees but he is completely lovebug. His new job description is to woo her and just her and her and gets down to work immediately.

He sends a marriage proposal to her via his broker buddy, and their respective parents. The marriage broker friend cum proprietor of ChutkiMeinShaadi.com Somdev and Sahil Ved Badri’s friend are two people you should watch out in the movie. Marriage broker and his interactions and his intentions are utmost comical to watch and paces the movie beautifully.

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Badri’s pursues her he does so with lot of beautiful moments as opposed to irritating chasing and harassing. This in itself is a huge change from the movies of yore with assumptions that a woman’s no is a yes in disguise.

Vaidehi becomes Badri’s friend but is not a bride in waiting. She is job hunting not hubby hunting and she knows what her core strengths are. She is a woman in today’s world. She strategizes her life and emotions are mere attachments when she seeks Badri’s help to find a life partner for her sister. She does not measure her ambitions by the size of the town she lives in. Note there is no cooing and pleading. It’s a barter deal. She marries him if he helps marry off her sister. She is smart and the kind of woman men should marry to manage their life.

The protagonists emphasize the belief that they are separate individuals who will still remain individual humans with separate aspirations and take on life. Alia helps Varun understand himself and they collectively work towards a goal without sacrificing themselves at the shrine of matrimony.

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The movie has its masala moments and does touch girl child and discrimination, dowry, impact of patriarchal decision making but is sweet cocooned to make it saleable for the current young lot. The film is a family entertainer and makes you laugh. Set in small towns like Jhansi and Kota makes it very realistic. A decent son of a rich father versus a girl, who will not listen to social pressure and family melodrama. Staying strong she has strength of character and won’t succumb to any emotional strings tugging at heart.  She manipulates the story through the circle of pressures of being a girl and being pushed down to accept it as a matter of defeat and not as a boon of nature.

Alia is inspiring for girls. She speaks her mind and there is no reel and real Alia. She is every woman. Varun is lovable, a little village dud sometimes but lovable and you almost want to protect him. He is what makes endearing movie material along with the ever fresh Alia.

Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt are easily the best thing that could have happened to the film and their camaraderie is effortless. They are witty, don’t seem stretched and level plays the characters onscreen. They have the best chemistry seen amongst the latest crop of actors and we start to wonder if tis movie could have been made with any other pair. Absolutely not. The chemistry between the two fuels the movie. They seem like friends we always had and who are suffering the marriage issues. Their comic timing is worth the price of the ticket and makes this heavy subject relatable to the current generation who though believes in marriage and the institution as such but would not be bound by and manipulated by it. Sincere, vulnerable and very strong acting plus rehashed song and some of Bollywood twists make this a movie worth a definite dekho.

 

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