Vaidehi from Kota, Rajasthan, is smart, beautiful, and is determined to make a good career. She’s also smart enough to not fall for a man who doesn’t respect her.
Badri from Jhansi, UP, is a class 10 dropout, and is a living example of the phrase ‘all brawn no brain’. They meet, she shows him his place, he falls for her, and follows her around.
She says, “no”.
He understands, and marries someone else. Vaidehi, too, lives a better life with her successful career, and pursues other things that make her happy.
Sounds like a good tale?
Except, that’s not what happens.
Instead, Shashank Khaitan’s Badrinath Ki Dulhania has oodles of ego clashes, dramatic runaway bride scenes, unnecessary songs, and a love story that is technically a little worrisome – but well, it’s Bollywood.
Badri is a good-for-nothing 20-something man-child who believes any woman would be lucky to marry him because he’s a stud. Enter Vaidehi, educated and ambitious – a combination that does not sit well with most of the conservative characters in the film.
Badri starts courting Vaidehi, without taking ‘no’ for an answer.
Except she doesn’t. She runs away minutes before the wedding.
Good, we think. But, it still doesn’t end there.
The rest of the film is about how Badri literally follows her around, kidnaps her (on one occasion, he even throws her in the boot of his car) and forcibly lands at her place – piss-drunk – to finally have her fall for him like nothing before.
And the film, I’d heard, was all set to prove ‘women are equal to men’ – except for one tiny glitch: the terrific female lead falls for a spineless, Salman Khan-esque male lead.
However, the underlying message in the film – which seems to be right out of the sexist 90s – is commendable to an extent. There’s a twist: The man-child repents. A family turns over a new leaf. The sexist patriarch learns a sound lesson. There are glaring inconsistencies, though, and a total lack of sensitivity.
A scene in the film where Badri gets nearly raped is viewed as humour – especially when male rape cases are a reality.
And this, is more unsettling than most.
You’d hate Varun Dhawan’s entitled douchebag character, Badri, just for his dialogues. Women are like that only, he says a dozen times in the film. And also, for his constant need to showcase his virilty.
But perhaps, that just proves his mettle as an actor. He’s that convincing.
And, that annoying.
Alia Bhatt, too, is natural on screen. As Vaidehi, the girl who relentlessly pursues her dream, she is unarguably the one who saves the film. Highway, Udta Punjab, Dear Zindagi… Alia chooses her films well. This may not be the best film she’s chosen, but it’s noteworthy because she’s always likable – someone you can relate to. Her role, surprisingly, is written rather well (considering the writer is a man), and resonates with a dialogue uttered by Badri: “It ought to be ‘Vaidehi Ka Dulha‘ and not ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania‘.
And that, really, is what we’d have loved, too.
The Badrinath Ki Dulhania review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.