13 March, 2017
Badrinath ki Dulhaniya – A Spirited Sequel
In 2014 Shashank Khaitan made ‘Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya’ with Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhavan and 2017 sees the same trio have a go at it again and Humpty Sharma morphs into Badrinath Bansal from Jhansi.
There is something extremely charming about the Desi hinterland that has claimed most of the cinema space in recent years. The charm lies in the fact that the Desi is hip ... this was a barrier that existed for long not just in Cinema but in all of the visible media space in any field. Strangely this barrier was blown to smithereens in the field of cricket by a lad from Ranchi who stormed into the team to captain it and lift the world cup bringing the country honor's of kinds it had seen only decades ago. Mahendra Singh Dhoni with his wacky hair do his cool quotient and consistent performance made the Desi look cool beyond everything seen, heard or experienced before. Could Cinema the virtual mirror of a changing society have remained very far behind?
Everyone now rushes out of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata and the location ethos has moved to places like Gurgaon, Haryana, Jaipur in Rajasthan to now Jhansi and Kota in this film. From here the Desi boy and girl fearlessly steps out of the country and becomes International. Gone are the days when international necessarily meant you were big city Urban and Polished. Now the edgy unfinished Desi also fearlessly expresses and achieves his dreams and those aren’t small anymore. That apart, here we walk into a classical stereotype father of the North – Central India.
Retrograde customs like dowry are bandied about along with the gender inequality with absolute casual impunity. A girl child being a liability and the boy kid being an asset sets the tone of the film for the ethos that grooms such a mindset in society. So here we have a tenth pass Badrinath the second son of a counting machine of a father in Rituraj ( quite credible ) who is by profession a moneylender but never is seen lending or receiving money. Badri does extort for his father in his informal recovery department and in one such case wrangles out an invite for a wedding of a borrower, at Kota. In the marriage Badri runs into the fiery, spunky, extremely articulate Vaidehi of a service goer father ( Swanand Kirkire, the poet, singer and Music director in reality ). She who has been cheated and jilted in her prior attempt at love has now given up the idea of “holy matrimony” despite being of an eligible age. She would rather see her elder sister married off first.
Now we enter another regressive methodology called persistent stalking that climaxes into a scene where the girl is virtually picked up, kidnapped and dumped into the boot of a car and whisked away by the hero who has been rebuffed by her time and again. Yet he is so charming and sincere and otherwise well mannered and in today’s times won’t hurt to call him sanskari either. He proposes marriage first having seen two instances of loving a partner not working favorably; one in his house with his otherwise quiet brother who enjoys a tipple on the rooftop terrace every single day. In the memory of a past love in whose place he has been wedded to a Shweta Prasad (the talented child star from Makdee and Iqbal who now looks extremely fetching in a sari ). The plot is so wafer thin that in a food analogy it seems like the proverbial yet very well made Chiwda in the first half and turns into bland popcorn in the second,as it travels to Singapore.
Yet it is a splendid easy going watch of a film simply because of the energetic pair of Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhavan who have sensational onscreen chemistry that they simply sparkle. Close your eyes and the light hearted romance resembles that of a Govinda film of the 90’s where you were expected to leave your thinking cells at home. Varun Dhavan has grown up on them; what with his father David having directed most of them.
The songs are hummable and fun; from the boisterous " Aashiq Surrender Hua" to the melodious " Humsafar" and "Roke na Ruke Naina" and the zingy title track "Badri Ki Dulhaniya"
While Alia is as usual on the button with her performance, it is Varun Dhavan who injects sweetness into his Badrinath and so totally looks the part and always remains in character. It is a must watch for all those who love the honest to goodness, lack of pretense, of a Bollywood 'Mad Masala Movie'.