Badhaai Do Review – It is a brave film about same sex love and well done. The movie revolves around the story of Shardul (Rajkummar Rao) and Sumi (Bhumi Pednekar), who are secret members of the LGBTQ+ community, who live in the same house after they approve to get into a ‘marriage of convenience’.
The film narrates how an individual’s sexual orientation defines and decides their destiny in the society.
While Shardul, a police officer, and Sumi, a PE teacher, approve to this arrangement — to ward off their families up and get rid of the persistent pressure to get married, the journeys they take on with their respective partners eventually lead to several realisations about their real life.
For both Shardul, the cop who is obsessed to build his body, consuming protein shakes on the way; and Sumi the fun loving physical instructor who teaches in a school as she navigates her way through a dating app, the marriage is a perfect cover.
They can keep their ‘jaldi-shaadi-karo’ families at bay, and they can continue to be true to their sexual orientation: ‘zamana kya kahega, mummy-papa mar jayenge agar sacchai saamne aa gayi toh (What will society say, and mummy-papa will die if the truth comes out)’.
Badhaai Do Review: A strong societal message dealt in a light hearted manner
When it comes to touching upon a sensitive topic such as homosexuality, Bollywood films like Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan and Dostana have relied on this concept and succeeded in sending out strong messages. So, it comes as no surprise to see Badhaai Do also resort to a humor tone while bringing society’s attention to an important issue.
Director Harshvardhan Kulkarni deals with the subject in a mature and sensitive way, and in his attempt to sound witty or add punchlines, at no point does he undermine the ordeal homosexual people go through.
There’s an ease and comfort with which Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi own this characters, but even while staying true to their real identity, they continue to struggle to be seen as ‘normal people’ in the society. That’s where Badhaai Do really works. It’s doesn’t get preachy or tell homosexual people to turn rebels. Instead, the film shows the real and actual evils they fight every day, not just in the society but also at home.
Badhaai Do also explores the dynamics of families of homosexual people, especially those living in small towns, and shows how they deal with this deep-rooted stigma. In the movie, there’s a very realistic and relatable portrayal of conflicts that exist within families when a son/daughter wishes to come out of the closet – Badhaai Do shows how it is considered as some sort of a ‘disease’.
The first half of Badhaai Do shows the teething troubles Rajkummar and Bhumi face while staying together as a married couple and connecting with their real personalities and partners, while the second half shifts focus on how they try to de-stigmatise and normalise homosexuality for their families. The director didn’t try to please everyone and made viewers forcefully understand and accept the reality of Shardul and Sumi.
Rajkummar is in full form and on point as a gay cop. You’d love the references where he admits that being gay and in police force is the perhaps the biggest irony. His dialogues, the accent he speaks in and the muscles he flaunts breaks away from the stereotypical portrayal of gay men onscreen.
The scenes in which he narrates his inner pain strike a chord with the audience. Bhumi, too, delivers an excellent performance and at no point looks like she’s awkwardly playing a lesbian character. She is unapologetic about her sexual orientation and makes it evident with a strong grip on the story. The intimate scenes with her girlfriend Rimjhim (played by debutant Chum Darang) are exceptional and beautifully captured.
It is quite brave of the makers to cast a newcomer from the North East as a parallel lead and one only hopes this paves way for more such casting opportunities. Chum brings her own flair onscreen and doesn’t seem any less confident playing such a bold part along with Rajkummar and Bhumi as leads.
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Among other actors, Seema Pahwa, Sheeba Chaddha, Nitesh Pandey lend a strong support to the story. Their hilarious conversations trigger some genuine laughs. Not to forget Gulshan Devaiah, whose special cameo is just unmissable. It is definitely one of the most inspiring moments in the film. The movie is worth watching for its brevity.