This is a fresh and funny film. In the mould of a Rajkumar Hirani screenplay, it seamlessly blends emotions in fluid strokes of minute details and grand gestures.
Director Shashank Khaitan has a gift – the ability to surprise you. It works hand in glove with another gift – a lightness of touch. The latter helps him eschew Bollywood formulas in a script that is ripe with opportunity for them. The former then makes an appearance and elevates the film, sealing the deal when it comes to making a mark with his movies.
When Varun’s Badri tells Alia’s Vaidehi to run while he fights off goons in a dingy Singapore alley, you know it’s the oldest trick in the hero book. Rescue the girl and kick off the romance in full throttle. It is the easiest move in Hindi films. The scene that follows is tongue in cheek, cocking a snook at the trope and emphasising in the funniest possible way what the point of the story is, and what the spirit of the film is.
Casting Varun Dhawan as a man child with the proverbial heart of gold is a very clever move, besides being a spot on decision. It is more believable that someone of his innocence can accept a world view different from his own, and even change himself to it. As Alia points out, this is heroism too, and far more inspirational at that.
This is another wonderful trait in the film – no situation or scene is unbelievable. Even the ending does not call upon nonsensical melodrama to effect dramatic change of hearts. It merely hints that change is underway, and will take time to affect. In doing so, the film respects the huge challenge it sets out to address at its core – sexism in Indian society. It does not trivialise the problem. The collective sensibilities of the writers and the filmmaker are clear winners here.
Alia and Varun are invested and enthusiastic as two young people from small town India – Jhansi and Kota. That they are too urban to portray the milieu is apparent. But they are diligent, working through their accent and their performance with unerring consistency. And they do bring a spunk to their characters, that lifts the film. They are superbly supported by an ensemble cast. The director extracts what he needs from each actor to bring his story alive. He is aided by dialogue that fits nicely in the settings of the story and the characters.
Badrinath… is a fresh and funny film. In the mold of a Rajkumar Hirani screenplay, it seamlessly blends emotions in fluid strokes of minute details and grand gestures. There are few films and filmmakers in India that can tread the serious with the funny without being frivolous or cliched, and yet entertain. This one is undoubtedly a winner.
Hindi, Romance, Comedy, Color