Cast: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Yash Sinha, Sahil Vaid, Shweta Basu Prasad
Direction: Shashank Khaitan
‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ is a complete entertainer. Helmed by Shashank Khaitan, this Varun-Alia romantic comedy will tug at your heartstrings.
The film starts off as a simple small-town romance but plays out to make pertinent points about prevalent gender stereotypes among the Indian middle-class. Girls, no matter how enterprising, have to be married off because they will always be viewed as a ‘liability’; boys, no matter how useless, will continue to be considered an ‘asset’ by parents and by the patriarchal society at large.
Khaitan is rather more sure-footed directing his second project– the plot follows a consistent trajectory and romance and comedy merge almost seamlessly with the movie’s message. In keeping with the tone of the narrative, the film never gets preachy, even while challenging rampant customs like dowry and other traditions of ‘give-and-take’ that are such a big part of Indian weddings.
There are hardly any jarring notes. Even the music complements the flow of the events.
The director’s lead pair - Alia and Varun - are almost similar to the characters they played in ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’: the girl is spunky and smart, the boy more of a buffoon, but presumptuous enough to think he is the most eligible prospect around.
It is interesting to see how the filmmaker picks the same lead pair, bases them again out of the North India heartland (places like Jhansi and Kota) and yet, manages to infuse a fresh zing to this love story.
Varun woos you over with his charm - as the unsophisticated, naïve, yet, endearing, male lead his comic timing is spot on. Even when he plays the emotional bits, he is completely convincing. I, in fact, did get a little teary-eyed while seeing him nurse his broken heart.
Alia belts out another winning performance – she is vulnerable yet ambitious, manipulative yet lovable, selfish yet empathetic. That’s lot of contradictions to bring into a single character. The great thing about Alia’s Vaidehi Trivedi, though, is that she never loses focus of what she wants to achieve. And she manages to convince her audience that she was right in using the means she did to achieve her goal.
Alia proves once again she is as dependable in commercial cinema as she has been in the other more ‘serious’ roles, such as the ones in ‘Udta Punjab’ and ‘Dear Zindagi’.
‘Badrinath Ki Dulhani’ uses the most dependable canvas available to Bollywood – the big fat Indian wedding – to take you on a thoroughly enjoyable journey with Badrinath Bansal and his heartwarming quest to win over his dulhania.
I laughed and cried with Badri and his dulhania. This one is paisa vasool all the way.