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REVIEW: BADHAAI Do

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Producer- Vineet Jain

Director- Harshavardhan Kulkarni

Star Cast- Rajkummar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar, Seema Pahwa, Sheeba Chaddha, Cham Darang, Nitesh Pandey Gulshan Devaiah and Loveleen Mishra

Genre- Social

Platform of Release- Theatrical

Rating- **

Slow Paced and lacks universal appeal

Jyothi Venkatesh

P.T Instructor Sumi (Bhumi Pednekar) and cop Shardul (Rajkummar Rao) lead socially-suppressed lives as closeted members of the gay and lesbian community.

Both of them decide to settle for a marriage of compromise to please their intrusive families, and assume this would give them cover to pursue partners of their choice and also lead a dual life. How this forms the narrative of this family entertainer is what unfurls on the screen.

Harshavardhan Kulkarni’s film which has been declared by its producers as the sequel to the multiple National Award-winning film Badhaai Ho sets out to depict this complicated arrangement often termed as a lavender marriage.

The film also has humor and wit and handles the protagonists’ dilemma with a great deal of sensitivity but sadly with a plot like this which may not be palatable to the mainstream audiences, it may not fare well at the mainstream cinemas all over the country.

Shardul and Sumi’s romantic interludes with their real partners play out with the kind of ease, comfort, and turbulence that we have seen between any other couple in our movies and indicates that the intention of the film is not to stereotype the gay and lesbian community but make a strong attempt to change the mindsets and eliminate prejudices against them.

However, in a bid to not alienate the viewers , the director who was at his best in his earlier outing Hunterr, compromises by not resorting to bold lip to lip kissing scenes between the gay couples (Rajkummar Rao and Gulshan Devaiah) and Bhuni Pednekar and Cham Darang. Thus making the proceedings on the screen lack reality and turning them bland.

Bhumi Pednekar’s portrayal of the P.T Teacher Sumi is sensitive and nuanced while Rajkummar Rao tucks in a neat and effective performance seldom seen in the Indian screen till date. Cham Darang is a rare discovery and makes a fine debut in Bollywood with a queer role that takes courage for a newcomer to go along with.

The makers must be lauded here for casting an artiste from the northeast as a parallel lead, which is also very rare in Hindi cinema and marks a departure from convention.

Gulshan Devaiah deserves a special mention for his cameo .The supporting cast, comprising veteran artistes like Seema Pahwa and Sheeba Chaddha, manage to add gravitas to the story. Nitesh Pandey is very endearing in his role as Bhumi’s father.

Badhaai Do attempts to normalize the big-screen depiction of the gay and lesbian community and their romantic relationships, without taking a very condescending attitude towards them or making it seem vulgar .

On the whole, Badhai Do cannot at all be compared to Badhai Ho as it lacks universal appeal and is extremely slow paced. See it for the exemplary performances of both Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar

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