Having a good story and the knack to tell one are two things. It’s a double delight when a film promises both. It isn’t just a fresh idea and a compelling narrative that works for Badhaai Ho. The modern-day rom com drama fires on all cylinders: taut writing, crisp editing and superlative performances all round make it one of the best viewing experiences of the year. And while it ticks all boxes, what rounds it out is its genuine, engaging charm, a scarce screen commodity in Hindi cinema.
Badhaai Ho stays true to and well justifies its genre. It doesn’t solely rely on barbed, punchy one-liners to bring in the humour. Writer Akshat Ghildial intelligently and subtly infuses humor into the narrative; director Amit Sharma effectively recognises and pulls it off while the characters comfortably lend themselves it. The beauty of the film lies in how it manages to keep the humour alive even in the most emotional moments. The film flows organically thanks to a talented ensemble.
The highlight for me is the relationship Neena Gupta (Priyamvada) and Gajraj Rao (Jeetender) share in the film. It’s a relief to note the director doesn’t use the ‘pregnancy’ as a mere tool to propel the story. The couple shares a beautiful bond. It’s warm, tender and relatable. Credits are due to the writer and director for portraying it so sensitively and giving them their due screen time.
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Ayushmann Khurana is breaking the stereotype of a Hindi movie ‘hero’ one film at a time and is effortless as usual with his comedy. Dangal girl Sanya Malhotra appears as much at ease with herself. Neena Gupta is back on the screen after a long time and is a sheer delight to watch. It’s heartening to see solid, meaningful roles for female actors her age even though they come few and far between. Gajraj Rao is brilliant with his expressions and comic timings. But it’s veteran Surekha Sikri who steals the show.
Musically, it’s one of the best albums of the year. Ayushmann’s Nain Na Jodee is a beautiful rendition.
Badhaai Ho may have some cliches strewn about but the director uses them smartly to the advantage of the narrative. There isn’t a dull moment in the film and is consistently engaging. Do not miss it!
By Mansi Dutta
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One of those times when mainstream Bollywood gets it right!