The promo of Badhaai do indicated that there was a funny tale in the offering. With a gay man [Rajkummar Rao] proposing marriage to a lesbian woman [Bhumi Pednekar] so that they can keep their parents happy and meanwhile live a life of their own, it seemed like there would be laughs galore right through the film. However, that’s not really the case as the film is more emotional than funny. Nothing wrong with that but had the promo set the expectations accordingly, I would have been better prepared for what was in the offering.
The manner in which the film begins, it lends a sense of deja vu around similar stage and set up, as seen earlier as well. Bareilly Ki Barfi, Ujda Chaman, Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan – there are number of references that one gets when it comes to characters and their surroundings. In fact the second half of the film even reminds one of Haseen Dillruba. That film had Taapsee Pannu trying to adjust in Vikrant Massey’s household and here it is Bhumi Pednekar who is trying to conceal her real identity even as Rajkummar Rao’s mother Sheeba Chaddha snoops in.
There are some sensitive moments that seep in with the entry of Chum Darang. The actress from Arunachal Pradesh has a good screen presence and as the love interest of Bhumi Pednekar, she brings in certain ‘thehrav’ into the proceedings. Moreover, as the third angle to this love triangle where she is constantly referred to as ‘the cousin’, she brings on good smiles as well.
As it happens though, the smiles are on and off, especially in the first half of the film where there are loads of emotional elements that come in. There are some extended scenes featuring both Rajkummar and Bhumi, sometimes in silo and sometimes as a couple, where they bare their heart about the kind of stigma they face due to their LGBT status. Typically such kind of narrative is evidenced in the second half of films belonging to this genre but here it all happens before the interval itself, which at times leads to boredom too.
Thankfully, the second half of the film is better and while emotional moments work too, there is a bit of humor also thrown in, especially when it comes to confusion around the marital status of the couple. Moreover, the best is reserved for the last 20 minutes. While the pre-climax song featuring LGBT community atop a flyover is excellently directed, the scene featuring a kid during the rituals amidst the family members is quite sensitively handled as well.
Both Rajkummar and Bhumi do quite well as actor. Of course, they are accomplished actors and hence know what’s expected out of them. Still, these are different characters to be played and in that aspect they do well. The supporting actors are a mixed bag. Loveleen Mishra irritates big time as Bhumi’s mother who frequently goes on a ‘maun vrat’. Shashi Bhushan as Rajkummar’s brother-in-law is just not real in the statements that he makes. Seema Pahwa doesn’t get much scope though Sheeba Chaddha is decent. Chum Darang is a find.
All in all, Badhaai Do is a film that can be watched, though one needs to go with an expectation of watching an emotional tale instead of something out and out humorous.