Badrinath Ki Dulhania
Badrinath Ki Dulhania: A Heartfelt Entertainer with Disconcerting Comedy
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
In the small towns of Kota and Jhansi, the inhabitants still perceive the girl child to be a liability and a boy to be an asset. At this breeding ground for consistent gender discrimination and a rapidly growing dowry system, an entitled and spoilt young man, Badrinath Bhansal (Varun Dhawan) falls in love with a fiercely independent woman, Vaidehi (Alia Bhatt) whose dreams are bigger than misconstrued love.
Shortly after Badri and Vaidehi’s predictable first encounter takes place, director Shashank Khaitan takes you through their rocksliding romance that could be saved only at the blossom of mutual respect.
The fact that Badrinath Ki Dulhania dishes out progressive characters amidst its formulaic and predictable plot is what makes it a partially pleasant viewing experience. There is a lot of small town humor that works only if you have the palette for it. But in one problematic scene, the humor goes overboard. Varun Dhawan gets molested by a group of masked gangsters, and instead of raising concerns, he seems to be the subject of amusement. This one scene in the film makes you wonder why the director took a few steps forward while dealing with women empowerment but sadly took an alarming step backward while dealing with gender equality.
Even though that one scene is a setback, the idea of incorporating a predictable formula in such a mainstream film opens up an instrumental debate amongst people from all walks of life. The fact that its progressive core is hidden between these commercial layers doesn’t nullify its impact.
Director Shashank Khaitan deserves due credit for building up such fascinating characterizations, especially that of Vaidehi’s character. Even though there is an overuse (and sometimes wrong use) of humor, there are a few scenes that are written and played out with so much conviction.
One must agree that one of the significant reasons why Badrinath Ki Dulhania works is due to the stellar performances it boasts of. Varun Dhawan as Badrinath Bhansal has inherent characteristics of Akshay Kumar’s humor and Salman Khan’s masochism. Even though he seems to have borrowed these traits, the boyish charm Varun lends to his character is quite amusing and entertaining.
As Vaidehi, Alia Bhatt delivers yet another stirring performance. All through the first half, she expresses her societal suffocation and exhibits an overwhelming need to escape through her restrained eyes. She lends striking and unfathomable layers to Vaidehi. Her frustration, relief, happiness and dreams come together so beautifully due to her fine acting. She is definitely the saving grace of this film.
Amaal Mallik, Tanishk Bagchi, and Akhil Sachdeva serve their purpose by delivering quintessential Bollywood songs. But John Stewart Eduri’s background score strikes a wonderful balance between being overpowering yet mellifluous. Neha Parti Matiyani’s cinematography highlights the demands of the script. The imagery is colorful and appealing in most parts, but it doesn’t employ new dimensions.
Overall, Badrinath Ki Dulhania definitely has its flaws, but it manages to showcase its earnest intentions. It would have been more impactful if it was mindful of its inappropriate humor. But, the metamorphosis of the film’s characters and their conviction makes it a worthwhile and pleasant watch.