Movie Review: 'Badrinath Ki Dulhania'
Opened: 10 March 2017
Cast: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Sahil Vaid, Aakanksha Singh, Gauahar Khan, Aparshakti Khurana, Rituraj Singh, Kanupriya Pandit
Director: Shashank Khaitan
Producers: Hiroo Johar, Karan Johar, Apoorva Mehta
Yes. Yes I know it's been out a month now, and every online movie portal, blogger, critic, showbiz website et al has rinsed the plot out of the film, but I felt compelled to write about it, purely because it gave me major 90's feels, making me reminisce of the Chi Chi-David Dhawan films of yore, and because I had such a blast seeing Varun and Alia channelling their inner Govinda and Madhuri respectively, in what has to be the most unapologetic tribute to hard core yesteryear masala films in recent years.
Shashank Khaitan’s writing has drastically improved and while I enjoyed Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, it failed to move me because of its somewhat flat screenplay. What’s more, since Humpty, both Varun and Alia have had an impressive run at the movies, in diverse roles and have grown leaps and bounds both in terms of ability and confidence. As well as churning out impressive performances here too, they boost the film with their sparkling camaraderie bouncing off of each other, and adding depth and dimension to characters that may have otherwise been predictable had they not been the protagonists.
In Badrinath Ki Dulhania, Badrinath Bansal (Dhawan) a somewhat misogynistic ‘sadak chhap’ type is on the lookout for a bride until a chance encounter with feisty livewire Vaidehi Trivedi (Bhatt) derails his existence and he falls for her hook, line and sinker, and virtually hounds her to marry him. Vaidehi meanwhile has other aspirations, and would rather pursue those and it doesn’t help that she’s reeling from deception and heartbreak from a previous relationship. Not one to take no for an answer, Badri finally woes her but Vaidehi gets cold feet at the last minute, and how they overcome their differences forms the crux of the plot, which despite its obviously culmination, keeps you engaged because of Varun and Alia’s crackling chemistry.
Sure there are a few pointless scenes in Badrinath Ki Dulhania, specifically one that many pointed out was hugely offensive to the gay community (for the record I wasn't the least bit bothered, because the world is already drowning in a new wave of political correctness), but I see why it's there. I suspect where it's going is that, it's always the women subjected to those cringe-worthy scenes so why can't it be the man for once? That aside, there are segments in the second half that feel bloated, especially the ones involving Alia's emancipation, but the actress keeps them chugging along with her unfailing effervescence which see even the blandest scenes through.
The show-stealer here though is Varun, who's character goes through the whole gamut right from man child to heartbreak, to ultimately giving women the respect they deserve. It's a showy part, but Varun surrenders to it elevating even the film's few mundane moments and make us root for his impish character right through to the films somewhat convoluted climax. Besides him, the film benefits hugely by casting Sahil Vaid as Badri's sidekick and a host of relatively fresh faces, that I'd definitely like to see more of on screen.
After a streak, of 'look at me I'm so important, I have a message' (yes this one has it too but in doses) films, Badrinath Ki Dulhania comes like whiff of fresh air. Riding on a wave of nostalgia, 'Tamma Tamma' (a song I danced my way through as a kid, don't ask), a killer soundtrack, Varun and Alia, both individually and as a couple, I'm going with four stars for this predictable, yet immensely entertaining caper. It's the most fun I've had at the pictures in a while, that's for sure.