Recently, Badhaai Ho has crossed 200 crore club and despite a month of its release, the movie is still giving a tough competition to the new big budgeted – and big starrer – movies such as Thugs of Hindostan.
A middle-class family, the intimacy between age-old couple culminating into pregnancy, saas-bahu family drama, an uninvited chota mehman, and breaking stereotype against societal norms; this is the premise of Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s most awaited Bollywood flick Badhaai Ho.
In September, when the trailer of the movie was launched, everybody was smitten by the novel idea presented by Sharma in a tongue-and-cheek humour. The expectations shot up sky-high when the old, married couple were shown breaking the news of their pregnancy to their two grownup sons. I became interested in knowing how the movie would go beyond the awkwardness fun part. There was a fear that the movie would turn into a typical Bollywood masala with no soul. And to my surprise, the movie delivers beyond its potential with power packed performances and crackling dialogues that split the audience with laughter.
Set against the backdrop of Delhi’s Lodhi colony, the story revolves around railway ticket collector in his early 50s, Jeetender Kaushik (Gajraj Rao) who lives with his wife Priyamvada Kaushik (Neena Gupta), his mother Surekha Sikri, two grown-up children, Gullar (Shardul Rana) who is in his teenage years prepping for boards and Nakul (Ayushmann Khurrana) who is in his mid-twenties and works at a multinational organisation. The movie gets you engrossed in minutes as the Kaushik family discover that Priyamvada is 17 weeks pregnant.
The fun part in the movie is when couple has to share the ‘good news’ with their family. The scenes where Jeetender tries to awkwardly talk to his young sons and to his mother will crack you up. Nakul and Gullar, on other hand, cannot come to terms with the fact that their parents are going to have a third child at this age. Sikri is appalled when she hears the news and thrown the usual mother-in-law jabs at Priyamvada.
In another track, Nakul has a relationship with Renee (Sanya Malhotra) who belongs to an elite family in Delhi. She lives with her mother (Sheeba Chadha) in an upscale locale. The mother is fond of Nakul, but concerned about his family. She describes it as a circus she doesn’t want to buy tickets to. Although Sheeba appears in the film only for a few scenes, she leaves an indelible mark.
The strength of the film lies in the script (written by Shantanu Srivastava, Akshat Ghidal and Jyoti Kapoor) that explores an uncomfortable subject delicately. The screenplay, written by Akshat Ghildial, is amazingly brilliant. For instance Jeetender woos his wife with poetry and mangoes, the couple steal glances at a wedding, the family visits a local doctor at a small dispensary – all of which add to an amazing narrative.
The film has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, especially in the first half thanks to Nakul’s grandmother, whose response to learning about the pregnancy is pure gold. Veteran actress Sikri steals the show with her comic jibes.
Moreover, the story has many scenes which are exceptional like Nakul going to Gullar’s school to teach a bully, the heart-touching relationship between brothers, and mother-in-law praising daughter-in-law Priyamvada when criticised for pregnancy will definitely make you smile as well as form a lump in your throat. Also, the scene when Nakul invites Renee’s mother for his mother’s baby shower display sheer honesty and emotional sentiment which leaves everyone teary-eyed.
As far as characters are concerned, I will say that the loose ends left in the script have been covered by stellar acting of the protagonists. Ayushmann Khurrana has delivered yet another brilliant performance, after winning accolades for his work in Andhadhun. Khurrana has of late come as a mature actor with the selection of experimental scripts that gives him margin to explore his acting potential. In this film, he showcases the various emotions of anger, shame, repentance, sorrow and love with great precision.
Sanya Malhotra has limited screen time but gets into the skin of the character and comes up with a superb performance. Neena Gupta does a convincing and adorable job as a mother. Gajraj Rao is just too wonderful and I just loved his Mr Bean like expressions. Shardul Rana has also done a decent job.
The music is fair, but there are no standout tracks in the film. The absence of chartbusting music is sorely felt. Abhishek Arora’s background score is remarkable and adds to the impact of the drama.
Although the movie keeps you hook to the seat in the first half with its super fun and hilarious dialogues, the second half witness the dip in the energy. However, the climax is beautiful and extremely fulfilling. Overall, the movie is enjoyable and sends across a strong message which is heartening.
I rate this movie 3/5.