Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao, Sanya Malhotra, Surekha Sikri
Direction: Amit Ravindernath Sharma
‘Badhaai Ho’ is a winner all the way. A heartwarming tale that tugs at our heartstrings and challenges our traditional beliefs system. While we laugh at the humour that subtly flavours this story, we also end up wondering what our reaction would be were we to be confronted with a similar situation.
The plot revolves around an elderly couple, played brilliantly by Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao, who find out that the stork is about to pay them a visit. The unexpected news catches everyone off-guard and we have their grown-up sons, family members and neighbours trying to awkwardly grapple with the situation.
The most affected by this new turn of events is the couple’s elder son, Nakul, played by the very capable Ayushmann Khurrana. He is dating a colleague (Sanya Malhotra), and is also on the verge of planning his own wedding. Quite understandably, he seems to be having a tough time trying to accept the fact that his parents still ‘do it’. The embarrassment spills into his own relationship and he finds it an uphill task trying to negotiate through the ensuing emotional chaos.
This unusual premise of the film could have easily been mishandled. The laugh-out-loud moments could have become cringeworthy. The director Amit Ravindernath Sharma, however, manages a perfect balancing-act – the emotions, the drama, the comedy come together seamlessly to strike the right chords. After a point, I actually questioned myself whether the pregnancy of a parent at an unexpected age is really that big an issue!
The filmmakers have normalized it so well that it almost teaches one to get over the initial shock and process it as an ‘unusual’ situation, but not an improbable one.
The ensemble cast, all of them – Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao, Surekha Sikri and most definitely our hero – essay their parts with such conviction and ease that it is impossible to visualize anyone else in their roles. Sometimes they don’t even need dialogues: the expressions do all the talking.
Ayushmann has given us another memorable character to cherish. I wonder whether these off-beat scripts find him or if he has mastered the art of picking just the right roles that give him a chance to exhibit his craft?
‘Badhaai Ho’ is seasoned with a certain ‘Delhiness’ and is weaved together with lots of fun, laughter and a fine insight into traditional relationships in modern India. This one is a must watch.