‘Badhaai Do’ is a spiritual sequel to the much loved ‘Badhaai Ho’ and it has maintained the flag higher than ever. Ayushmann Khurrana has taken the baton of making films that makes the audiences laugh out loud while introspecting their deep inner-rooted beliefs. With Badhaai Do, Rajkumar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar have successfully taken the legacy forward and how. Director Harshavardhan Kulkarni has done a marvelous job in making a movie with such a sensitive topic yet in no way has he persuaded the audiences for approval.
The movie revolves around the two main protagonists, Shardul (Rajkumar Rao) and Sumi (Bhumi Pednekar). Shardul is a policeman who’s gay. He is so proud of the fact that he is a gay policeman and finds it extremely ironic. Sumi is a PE teacher and contrary to people’s expectations of what subjects a female teacher should teach, she is very good at it. Sumi is a lesbian but there is one factor that puts Shardul and Sumi in the same position, they are both closeted members, meaning no one knows about their sexual orientation.
Family pressure and societal expectations lead them to find each other and enter into a marriage of convenience, also called a lavender marriage. Coming from a small town, the people are narrow-minded when it comes to the age of marriage. The first half of the movie is about how Shardul and Sumi adjust in this pattern of living as roommates which sure does help them get away from those family comments and concerns. While living in this arrangement, they are also trying to find who they really are with their real partners. Things do get a little annoying but their quest does not stop.
The second half of the movie is very crucial as it is about de-stigmatising their identity with their family. Although very difficult, the director is in no mood of pleasing anyone and that is quite visible in the movie. This is because no one should have to justify their sexual orientation to anyone, not even their family. Another very important character that I loved in the film was Sumi’s girlfriend, Rimjhim (Chum Darang). Her chemistry with Sumi is amazing and the cinematography of intimate scenes was done brilliantly.
Coming to the cast and concept of the movie, both Rao and Pednekar seem to have absorbed the roles of Shardul and Sumi respectively. One very important point worth mentioning is – It takes guts to perform such unconventional characters in a country like India. To do that with a splash of confidence only adds on to how well the movie does. Both Rao and Pednekar have done such fantastic jobs as Shardul and Sumi, being very real to the character and unapologetic even. They are not trying to prove to anyone or please them but they are trying to get comfortable under their own skin. Rajkumar Rao has caught on to the accent and witty dialogues along with his biceps pretty well and that is how he has tried to give a different image to gay characters onscreen. Bhumi is super cool and is so into the character of Sumi, at no point does she look uncomfortable in this new area.
All in all, ‘Badhaai Do’ is a great watch with family, I say, it’s a must watch with family. With such movies, Bollywood is taking baby steps towards a healthier and more accepting culture that is much needed, I must add. We are scared of society in general but it might get very difficult for people to deal with their own families as well. To feel the need to justify oneself to our own family seems extremely taxing and so many people have been doing it for a long time. This movie has done a good job in portraying the daily life struggles of people in such situations, that too unabashedly!