The year 2012 saw the release of the Karan Johar directed STUDENT OF THE YEAR. The teenage drama not just proved to be a hit, but also gave Bollywood the trio of ‘Gen-Next’ stars in the form of Sidharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt. While Sidharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt went onto do KAPOOR & SONS, Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt came together in the 2014’s hit film HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA. This time round, Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt are coming together again in BADRINATH KI DULHANIA. Will the film repeat history at the Box-Office or will it become history, let’s analyze.
BADRINATH KI DULHANIA is an archetypal Bollywood rom-com drama (written by Shashank Khaitan), which mirrors the ups and downs in a couple’s life and the quintessential role of the society in the relationship. The film starts off in Jhansi with an extremely unique explanation of a boy being an ‘asset’ and a girl being a ‘liability’ vis a vis the prevalent dowry system. This is followed by the self-introduction of the tenth standard pass Badrinath Bansal aka Badri (Varun Dhawan) and his family which consists of his mother, his elder brother Alok Bansal (Yash Sinha) and his brother’s wife Urmila (Shweta Basu Prasad). The entire Bansal household is kept under his control by Badrinath's strict and patriarchal father Bansal saab (Rituraj Singh). One day, when the carefree Badri sees the effervescent Vaidehi Trivedi (Alia Bhatt) in a marriage, he instantly falls in love with her. He, then, starts pursuing Vaidehi relentlessly to marry him, only to get a firm no for an answer every single time. Even though Badri gets to know about Vaidehi’s past, that does not deter him from wooing her. One day, after much ado, Vaidehi says yes to Badri’s proposal for marriage, but, with a condition that she has to get her elder sister Kiran (Aakanksha Singh) married before her. After searching the length and the breadth of the city (which also includes a ‘bridegroom hunt audition’), Kiran finds her soul mate in Bhushan (Aparshakti Khurana). After all the ‘customary dealings’, the elders of both the families decide to conduct the marriages of Vaidehi and Kiran together. While Kiran gets married to Bhushan, Vaidehi runs away from the marriage without informing anyone, thus leaving both the families in an extremely embarrassing situation. An infuriated Bansal saab then orders Badri to get hold of Vaidehi from wherever she is, so that they can beat her up in the public and make an example out of her. Does the ever-obedient Badri listen to his father’s orders or does he listen to his heart which still loves Vaidehi, what was the reason for Vaidehi’s escape on the day of her marriage, does Badri become successful in tracing Vaidehi or does he return home empty handed and what ultimately happens to Badri and his selfless love towards Vaidehi, is what forms the rest of the film.
When BADRINATH KI DULHANIA’s promos were released, the film managed to build expectations, considering that it happens to be the franchise of the hit film HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA. Contrary to the audiences’ assumptions, BADRINATH KI DULHANIA is not exactly a sequel of HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA, but, its franchise. Except for the film’s lead cast, its director and the basic premise, there are absolutely no similarities between the two films. The film’s screenplay (Shashank Khaitan) does not follow the regular route and ensures that the film is devoid of the clichés and stereotypes that one generally associates with such genres. The flipside is that, in an attempt to make a film with a (underlying) social message, the makers of the film seem to have gone on a ‘preaching overdrive’ (which is visible in quite a few places in the film). If this wasn’t enough, then, in the name of cinematic liberties and convenience, there are many scenes which challenge logic and sensibilities of the audience.
Shashank Khaitan (after having directed HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA) springs up yet another winner in the form of BADRINATH KI DULHANIA, a film that sees him improved immensely as compared to his last film. Full marks to him for ensuring that BADRINATH KI DULHANIA enjoys a distinct and individual identity of its own and does not suffer from a ‘Humpty Sharma hangover’. Shashank Khaitan, who wins you over with his extremely eloquent direction, has kept the film’s narrative lucid and relatable, without resorting to any kind of over the top situations or incidents. He also manages to amalgamate the humour element in the film with the main crux of the film’s narrative (especially in the first half). While he becomes successful in conveying the film’s message of women empowerment using humour, what really plays the villain is the way in which he has culminated the film towards the end, which looks very abrupt, sudden and convenient. The film’s first half is interesting but it’s the second half that plays the spoilsport as it seems dragged and stretched after a point. Even though the film’s integration with ‘Singapore Tourism’ happens to be a smart idea, the way in which they have executed the same seems slightly off, which starts showing in the film, as the Singapore track just gets never ending in the second half. Even Alia Bhatt’s air hostess training contributed majorly to the film’s length, which, otherwise, could have smartly handled.
Even though the film is not laced with memorable one liners, the film does have its share of hard-hitting dialogues and funny moments. Do not miss the scenes where they hold an audition to find a suitable groom for Alia’s sister, Varun wooing Alia in the running bus, the introduction scene of Aparshakti Khurana, Alia Bhatt’s ‘cover-up’ act of Varun’s bare chest’ with her dupatta, the fighting between Varun and his friend in the sea and also the oxygen cylinder scenes, which symbolises the state of Indian fathers in a very humorous way.
As for the performances, it’s the impeccable duo of Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt who carry the film solely on their shoulders. The chemistry that they share in the film is simply impeccable. One has to see it to believe it. As for Varun Dhawan, after impressing everyone with his performance in the last year’s hit DISHOOM, he creates yet another winner in his titular role of ‘Badrinath’. The attitude and the body language with which he approaches his character are spot-on. His natural childish charm and innocence only adds to his onscreen persona. He gives yet another reason for audiences to be in awe of him. The ease with which he has handled both, comic and emotions, are really clap worthy. On the other hand, it’s Alia Bhatt, who (yet again) pulls off her role in the film very flawlessly. After having proved her versatility as an actress in her earlier films like KAPOOR & SONS, UDTA PUNJAB, HIGHWAY and her last release DEAR ZINDAGI, Alia Bhatt springs up with yet another heart winning performance in BADRINATH KI DULHANIA. The other actors in the film are also cast very well. Sahil Vaid who plays Varun Dhawan’s friend has done a fabulous job in the film and also has good screen time in the movie. Gauhar Khan however appears in a small role and seems wasted in the film.
The film’s music (Amaal Mallik, Tanishk Bagchi, Akhil Sachdeva) is average and does not live upto what one would ideally expect from a ‘Dharma’ film. Despite that, the film does have a couple of melodious tracks in the form of the remix of ‘Tamma Tamma’ and the film’s title track. On the other hand, the film’s background score (John Stewart) is decent, which is in sync with the film’s narrative.
The film's cinematography (Neha Parti) is decent. On the other hand, the film's editing (Manan Sagar) is strictly average and could have been tighter.
On the whole, BADRINATH KI DULHANIA is a beautifully textured love story and an enjoyable entertainer that wins you over and keeps you hooked right till the end. At the Box-Office, it will be a sure-shot success. Do not miss it.