By MEHER MASALAWALA
March 15, 2017
“A guy that thrives in the patriarchal society of a small city and a girl that wants to run away from it all, fall in love despite their incompatibility and the hero’s stalker-ish behavior.”
A guy that thrives in the patriarchal society of a small city and a girl that wants to run away from it all, fall in love despite their incompatibility and the hero’s stalker-ish behavior. That is the basic premise of the new romantic comedy Badrinath Ki Dulhania (Badrinath’s Bride), the second installment of the Dulhania Series, the first being Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (Humpty Sharma’s Bride).
Just like the first film, this was directed by Shashank Khaitan, and stars Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan in the lead roles.
It is a Dharma Productions project so you know it is a Karan Johar-esque film, which basically means that no stone will be left un-turned in the pursuit of Bollywood masala flick goals.
Bright colorful costumes, check.
Peppy and catchy songs, check.
Entertainment at all costs, check.
While the film had a lot of buzz around it and probably will be commercially successful, it is not a film that deserves much praise.
In the first half of the film we see Badrinath Bansal( Varun Dhawan) of Jhansi relentlessly pursue and essentially stalk a not-interested-in-love-or-marriage Vaidahi Trivedi(Alia Bhatt) of Kota. When no charms work he sends his friend, Somdev, with a marriage proposal directly to her parents, who of course can’t wait to have her older sister and her married off.
Bollywood has a long history of portraying men stalking women as cute and romantic. And just like in all the old films, the girl caves in and accepts the advances. While the film is humorlessly pointing out the issues of conservative parents, it kind of forgot to highlight this social ill.
Forgetting this archaic plot line, the first half of the film is typical but enjoyable at the expense of Badri and his friend Somdev’s (played by Sahil Vaid) funny banter and Badrinath and Vaidahi’s verbal clashes. Varun Dhawan is endearing and lovable in his role and Alia Bhatt is spunky and strong willed.
The film does head in another direction for the better after the interval when Vaidahi runs away from their wedding to pursue her dream of becoming an air hostess.
Going against family and society, she ends up in Singapore and Badri shows up there as well. However, the film loses its steam and surety in the second half.
A lovable Badri gets into about three fights and is arrested twice and while that may have been to show his angst, it was quiet tiresome to watch.
The Romeo of this film even grabs and throws his Juliet in the trunk of his car?
All of this seemed way too out of Badri’s character, meanwhile Vaidahi is with him every step of the way since she does hold affection for him and feels guilty for leaving him at the alter.
We eventually learn that Vaidahi did not leave solely for her career but because she was not receiving the respect that she deserves as a woman and equality both in society’s and in Badri’s eyes.
While seeing her dedication and drive, Badri realizes how wrong his upbringing was and even publically confronts his conservative father. But the film could have done a better job of driving this idea home.
Vaidahi is a strong modern female character but unfortunately she did not get her due. Essentially, the comedic elements and the Tamma Tamma remix song are the only watchable parts of the second half.
Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan’s performances are likeable, sincere and the best part of the movie. But unfortunately, the story was not up to the mark and therefore it all falls a little flat.