What made Badhaai Ho from Amit Sharma so enjoyable was its comedy texture in presenting a movie with a heartwarming ending. Badhaai Do, the spiritual sequel to the 2018 film, might not be as entertaining as the Neena Gupta starrer. But the topic they have decided to address is more complex, and the margin for error in making a comedy movie out of that subject is extremely minimal. In that aspect, I would say Harshwardhan Kulkarni’s Badhaai Do is a least compromised and enjoyable story about two individuals belonging to the LGBTQ community.
Shardul Thakur is a policeman, and he is gay. Because of the societal acceptance issue, he hasn’t revealed his sexuality to anyone. Suman Singh, a Physical Education teacher, who is a Lesbian who also feared society, one day approaches Shardul for police aid as a boy was blackmailing her, saying he would expose her sexuality. Shardul sees a win-win opportunity for both him and Suman in living in this society if they both decide to marry each other. How this ambitious plan to live a life hiding one’s true self goes through ups and downs is what we see in Badhaai Do.
I am not saying this as a negative. But structurally, there is a similarity in the emotional graph of both Badhaai Ho Badhaai Do. You start off establishing the backdrop, and then the central conflict comes. After that, some humor happens as the main characters are trying to hide things. The tower of lies falls, and when the revamp happens, it is all happy tears. Movies that have tried to address the LGBTQ community in the comedy genre have always had an issue in achieving a certain depth. Despite being this mainstream song and dance movie, in the last quarter of its runtime, Badhaai Do manages to be emotional, and it puts a smile on your face.
Rajkummar Rao gets a really meaty role in Badhaai Do. It was loud and subtle, and he made sure both performance variations created the desired impact. Bhumi Pednekar, on the other hand, kept the character in that minimalistic space, and she conveyed the lack of confidence and fear of a small-town girl beautifully. Chum Darang as Rimjhim was lovely, and Gulshan Devaiah as Guru had that irresistible grace. Seema Pahwa, as always, did an impressive job. Two performances that stayed with me were from Sheeba Chaddha and Nitesh Pandey. The way Sheeba Chaddha managed to make Shardul’s mother a lovable character despite having to be this puppet for a majority of the runtime was so brilliant. Nitesh Pandey grabbed the opportunity to play this cool-dad character to showcase his talent, and his control over the drama in the performance was perfect.
Representation and diversity are things one has to address when talking about something like LGBTQ rights. And the film tries to widen its scope by breaking certain stereotypes. The typical representation of masculinity is a policeman with a solid body, and we have Rajkummar Rao playing a gay policeman with all those attributes. And the representation of North East through Rimjhim, the depiction of the affection between these characters, makes the gaze of Badhaai Do extremely positive. Even though the script gets stuck in the middle portions, it recovers from the sluggishness in the last quarter, and the warmth it creates is helping the movie a lot in having that positive outlook. The music was really nice, especially the track, Atak Gaya.
Just like its predecessor, Badhaai Do isn’t becoming a preachy film. Yes, it has its share of broad-strokes in certain areas. But those compromises to make it a commercial entertainer never takes away the credit the film deserves in taking up a topic like this and presenting it without losing the seriousness. With some really memorable performances to its credit, Badhaai Do has what it takes to put a smile on your face.
With some really memorable performances to its credit, Badhaai Do has what it takes to put a smile on your face.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended