Badrinath Ki Dulhania Review: Bhelpuri Buffet

| March 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

He is no quintessential Archie. He is neither a college bully nor a full blown spoiled brat. He does not know the art of seduction either. He is none of these individually. But all of these rolled into one. He is a Karan Johar’s creation of a new age Bollywood hero who itself is a spin off from Raj of DDLJ. Meet Badrinath Bansal  aka Badri (Varun Dhawan) of Badrinath ki Dulhania,who is merely a matriculate, a scion of a patriarchal family in Jhansi  where father’s writ runs large and wide.No one can go against his diktats.This father is such a caricature to boot.

In this scenario Badri falls in love at first sight with aspirational Vaidehi from Kota, where else but at a friends wedding (keep in mind it’s a KJo production). Now his wooing of his love interest in today’s legal terminology will be branded as stalking. But it is a minor quibble as it is presented with an icing of humour.

Major issue is the treatment of girl child and women per se in these patriarchical enviorns, where parents  want to wash  hands off their daughters of marriageable age as soon as possible. Where parents of sons presume that they are doing  would-be daughter-in-law a big favor by agreeing to marry off their son with her. Of course this comes at a price. Dowry. That this is still  such a big problem in 2017 in tier two towns of emerging India is a matter of concern.

Still the core issue is not this social evil. The premise is summed up late into the story when Vaidehi has left Badri to become an air hostess instead of getting tied down in matrimony,and she quips: Badri mujhse pyaar karta hai. Lekin  respect nahi . Na main uski respect karti hoon. Love is not enough without respect.  (Something on these lines). So now the whole story plods along till this love vs respect issue is resolved.

Then there are  linked issues of gender equality, saving of girl child, women empowerment. I mean there is a buffet of issues to choose from. Its up to you with what to associate depending upon your inclination. You do wonder how a tenth pass guy can have the gumption of getting a girl who is much more qualified than him. How a girl with aspirations of women empowerment and financial self reliance can accede to such a proposal, though the guy is shown to have heart of gold. Anything is possible in KJO’s world of romance.

Frankly you gulp all the incongruities not because of the social messages and preaching packaged as pulp, but for sheer exuberance of the lead pair. Varun Dhawan is endearing as a man-child because of his sheer energy and enthusiasm with his character. Its Alia Bhatt who is a scene stealer and a magnet that makes you sit through the prolonged and at times ennui inducing second half.She is such a natural to portray the courage and confusion so easily. For a change Hero’s best buddy Somdev (Sahil Vaid) is not a dumbo but a young man with a mind of his own with a streak of humour running through his veins.

Shashank Khaitan, after getting buoyed by the postitive response to his Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania,is not doing any path-breaking effort but still paying tribute to an era of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (HAKH) and DDLJ after 25 years. A whole new generation has been raised but it seems the cinema of Dharma Productions and ilk is frozen in time.

Screenplay throws up half-baked characterisations, especially Vaidehi’s elder sister and whole issue of her getting married off. Her understanding of breaking the confines of tradition and rooted social disparities is a cop out at its best.Then the characterisation of Badri’s elder brother on the lines of Mohnish Behl of HAHK is quite regressive for 2017’s Indian youth.

May be the world beyond cosmopolitan environs is still steeped in the social and gender inequalities and obsessed with big fat weddings. But the way it is fleshed out and presented does not make you think nor engage you in wholesome manner. If entertainement is the guiding principle, then yes, Badrinath’s Dulhaniya, Vaidehi aka Alia Bhatt is the sole motivation for me to visit this old wine in not so new bottle.

Rating:

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Category: Reviews

About the Author ()

Dhieraj Mohan is Hindi cinema's keen observer. With earnest interest in its dynamics and constantly changing milieu he revels in dwelling on the discrepancies, idiosyncrasies,contradictions,masala and the formula that defines Bollywood.He is a poet and a screenwriter too,who simply adores Hindi cinema's chameleon like traits.

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