A bride who’s a flight-risk, a groom who’s struck by the love bug and families that are comically patriarchal and dowry-happy: welcome to the chaotic world of Badrinath Ki Dulhania.
Director Shashank Khaitan has displayed impeccable taste in casting in this romantic comedy as he hoists the well-adjusted young actors Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan onto the proverbial horse and hands them the reins. The pair is sparkling as the goofy Badri and the strong-willed Vaidehi. Badri, who belongs to a rich family from Jhansi, falls madly in love with Vaidehi after he meets her at a wedding, but she isn’t interested. She doesn’t beat around the bush and turns his proposal down.
Watch: #Review of #Bollywood film Badrinath Ki Dulhania starring Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhattby Manjusha Radhakrishnan, senior reporter ofGulf News tabloid
While Dhawan’s persistent courtship may be considered stalking in some parts of the world, in the universe of Hindi romantic films it’s considered the norm and given romantic tones.
Badri won’t take her ‘no’ for an answer and doesn’t let the relentless rejection get to him.
But credit has to be given to Dhawan for making his stalker-like behaviour endearing. He can dance, sing, cry and make people laugh and has enough screen presence to make it all convincing.
His object of fascination and desire isn’t ready for marriage and wants to pursue a job as an air hostess. Bhatt, like Dhawan, has charisma enough to pull off a role of a pro-choice champion.
The timing of this romantic comedy is also apt. A day after we observed International Women’s Day, we have a heroine who isn’t shy of exercising her right to choose — be it about life or her life partner.
Even morose subjects such as the dowry system, rampant in India, is treated with a deft hand by the director. Without ever turning didactic or intense, Khaitan does a neat job of taking a grim subject and treating it with a light hand. Some of the conversations around taking and giving money to the groom by the bride’s family is dealt with in an adult manner.
The first half of the film moves at a brisk pace, while the second half gets bogged down by an overly long stretch about Vaidehi’s profession as an air hostess. We are given a crash course on what it takes to be a flight attendant and it isn’t always riveting.
However, it’s the chemistry between the lead pair is what keeps you hooked to this romance.
While the comical twists put a smile on your face, a stray joke about homosexuals was unwarranted and grating.
But just like a big fat Indian wedding, there’s a bit of colour, dance, music and loads of drama thrown into Badrinath Ki Dulhania. Take the plunge with Dhawan and Bhatt. Their combined acting skills and comic timing will make it an enjoyable affair.
Run time: 150 minutes
Director: Shashank Khaitan
Cast: Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan
Gulf News rating: 3 out of 5.