At the heart of it, Badhaai Ho, has a strong underlying message that no matter how big a mess you have landed into, if you have a strong family support system, everything will work out well. In separate scenes, when Ayushmann (Ayushmanntastic again!) and Surekha Sikri (second only to Alia Bhatt – Raazi – in best female performance of the year) fight back, you just can’t hold back moist eyes, seeing the family stand together. Although, originally, that wasn’t supposed to be the case.
Laughter and tears
From the day, Badhaai Ho’s trailers came out, every Indian movie buff I know, has been eagerly awaiting it’s big screen release. Me too! Every instance the trailers came on big or small screens, my better half and me froze to watch, giggle and smile. The performances were so solid that we instantly started feeling bad for Gajraj Rao (the father) and at the same time, laugh aloud at Ayushmann’s rib tickling one liners.
What finally unfold on the big screen, was not just laughter, but an adequate mix of emotion and tears. Comedy is the toughest genre in the movie making landscape. Impossible to achieve over two hours, without the help of vulgar jokes, sexual innuendos and mocking handicap in people. But Badhaai Ho achieves all that and more, making it the most refreshing movie of 2018. Along with Andhadhun & Raazi, this Amit Ravindernath Sharma directed Dussehra release, are the three best movies of the year.
Badhaai Ho falls in the same genre as Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, Hindi Medium, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Tumhari Sullu. Each of these classics, deal with middle class families, with uncommon issues, standing up tall (with strong family support), amidst a cruel, insensitive society. The scenes after the baby is born, or when the boys patch up with their parents or the fight back scenes (mentioned above), each speak aloud of the importance of family bonding. An aged couple are expecting a ‘chota mehmaan’ and as the story unfolds, the more you gush at the weirdness of the situation, the more you mush at the way how the lovingly charming couple stand by each other, communicate a lot with their eyes and even physically stick to each other, always.
Performance of the year
I first noticed Gajraj Rao the actor in Black Friday, essaying role of Dawood Phanse, eager to meet his more notorious namesake. He made such a strong impression there, that I followed his career closely. Badhai Ho does true justice to his potential. From the railway ticket collector, shortchanging tips to railway staff by handing over a small mango; to how he jostles in the family photograph to be only next to his wife (super Neena Gupta); to every time calming down his mother (a brilliant Surekha Sikri); to staying shy yet proud of the unusual situation he got landed into. Gajraj comes up with the performance of the year. Closely followed by Surekha Sikri – watch the ‘saas’ in her, trudge up on her walking stick, trembling, defend her ‘bahu’. You heart will go out… For now, get your wallet out and buy tickets to Badhaai Ho.
Rating: 4.5/5 (Averaged with friends)
It’s a must watch. Publication reviewers may struggle to rate it as high, as the movie doesn’t have any strong ‘Bollywood filmy camp’ connections. Trust me, each person in the hall loved this flick, with laughter and tears.
Update (7 Nov 2018):
We watched Badhaai Ho second time today and loved it even more. Gajraj Rao solely deserves winning the best actor of the year award at every award show. Not ‘supporting actor’, but the ‘best actor’ award of the year! Also at our second viewing we got to appreciate Sanya Malhotra and Neena Gupta even more. They offer more than just support cast. That scene when Neena Gupta explains Ayushmann to patch up with Sanya is very endearing .. Indians aren’t known much to talk to their kids suggesting to seek forgiveness from GFs/BFs. Or the way Sanya takes her mother’s side although Ayushmann’s arguments were justified etc. Badhaai Ho has many strong messages aside acceptance of family members the way they are; to forgive, forget and forge ties with ease and most of all, the importance that even middle aged couples have right to live a great love life. The daadi had a venomous tongue but Gajraj and Neena always loved and accepted her the way she was. Lots to learn. I now have changed my rating above from 4.5/5 to 5/5. And I want to go watch it again!