Badrinath Ki Dulhania stands out in two respects. First, it is a mainstream commercial feature which takes its audience into smaller towns of India, a departure from the regular Dharma Productions movies. Secondly, while maintaining its entertainment quotient the film takes up the topic of chauvinism and dowry – usually something people get serious about. This film not only has its heart in place, but like Alia’s character in the film, manages to hold respect high.
Director Shashank Khaitan cleverly sets his story in Jhansi, the city of Rani Laxmi Bai – one of the most iconic figures from Indian history. Badri Bansal is a scion of a wealthy family in the city and has a heart of gold. He is willing to do anything for the love of his life Vaidehi. In the meantime, Badri’s father is not one who would entertain much of anyone else’s wishes. Especially, if it is a girl’s wish to be independent!
So wrapped in the garb of a love story, Shashank serves us dreams and aspirations of a girl. A girl who rates respect above love. And that’s natural as she has never seen women around her being given much respect. Certainly not allowed the independence to follow their ambitions!
Shashank has written the film himself and he seems to know his characters really well. He gets the language they speak right. The dialogues of the film lend a lot to the entertainment factor. Lines like Indian fathers have the weakest hearts as we often see them getting heart attacks at the sight of problems will make you laugh. And Shashank’s lead actors do complete justice to them.
Varun Dhawan is an extremely likable actor when he is on screen. He has the charm and presence that Govinda had in the 90s. Govinda played a number of characters that were based in UP and it is interesting to see Varun dabbling in one with Badri. And he does well. Alia in the meantime comes across almost as a seasoned actress. Easily the finest talent from her generation of actors, she has an ability to don characters flawlessly. But like Shashank’s first film, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, this one too has some impressive supporting characters. While you wish Shweta Basu Prasad got a meatier part, her importance in the screenplay is huge. Sahil Vaid as Badri’s best friend is as fun to watch as he was as Humpty Sharma’s friend.
Badrinath Ki Dulhania flows smoothly till midway of the second half. It could be edited to be shorter there, or maybe better thought out writing could have helped. But that’s just a brief feeling as it quickly takes speed again and moves towards the closure. What’s impressive is that at any point in the film, the director never resorts to any regressive stand. This film takes a step in the right direction. It’s about Badri being Vaidehi’s dulha as much as it is about Vaidehi being Badri’s dulhania.
Caution: You might walk out talking like Badri. If that’s what loveable characters usually do to you.