As far as concepts go, Badhaai Ho is not exactly on a path-breaking ground. A Pakistani tele series hovered around a similar subject of how middle class parents of grown up children deal with an unexpected pregnancy.
Badhaai Ho, however, despite dealing with a similar dilemma, is fresh from start to finish.
Placing the same issue in a middle class family, its treatment perpetually has you smiling and simultaneously tugs at your heartstrings. Touching and entertaining in equal measure, it deals with some social concerns but in a light-hearted manner.
At the heart of it, is a family of four, five actually if you count the feisty grandmother. And there is no way you can discount Surekha Sikri’s stellar act as the intrusive mother and saas or her relevance to the script. Seemingly happy, their comfy existence is challenged by the impending arrival of a new-born. How society, rather near and dear, judge them for
what is absolutely legitimate forms the crux. While unravelling the rather discomfiting import of three letter word sex in middle age of one’s life, the film, however, not even once goes overboard or crosses the limit of decency.
Essentially a family film it’s a much about family values as the need to break free from blinkered perspectives. Backed by some superb performances Gajraj Rao as the man at the centre of unwanted attention is brilliant and one can’t believe what a gem of an actor he is. It would perhaps be no exaggeration in saying that he is the real hero here. Be it as the middle class railway employee, a diffident father or the gentle husband who looks at his wife ‘oh so lovingly’ he gets each nuance of his part right. Incredibly endearing when he tells his wife; ‘Kasht tumara to faisla bhi tumhara’ as they contemplate abortion. Neena Gupta, as the mother of two sons seems born to the part, an epitome of motherhood, patience and resolve.
Her character’s strength lies in standing by her decision without engaging in a verbal duel. Ayushmann Khurrana as her elder son Nakul is as always effective pitching in the right emotional curve as son, boyfriend and sibling. Sanya Malhotra as his upper class girlfriend Renne is pleasing, looks lovely and emotes well too. Actually not even a single actor is out of place.
The only point on which the film can be faulted is the sudden turnaround in Nakul’s and his grandmother’s mindset. But even these are minor irritants in the happy flow of things and don’t stand out like a sore thumb. In fact, the feel good tenor leaves little room for lingering bitterness.
Instead what stays on, is a tear and a smile. Birth of a child in India, a billion plus nation, is always a cause to celebrate and cheer. Never mind as the Dadi reminds us the government has been advocating Hum do hamare do… But then this film isn’t about population explosion or control for that matter but welcoming of new attitudes. Sex between two adults, yes even ageing parents, is just right, neither a cause for embarrassment nor consternation. The film says so simply and beautifully. With dollops of humour intact and fun quotient fairly high, the message comes riding high on merriment. Music, especially the songs that play out in the end, Badhaaiyan tenu composed by Tanishk Bagchi, sung by Brijesh Shandailya, Romy, Jordan in particular, add to the cheerful tidings. Care to brighten your Dussehra weekend… here is a perfect way.
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