Our country is known for its age-old traditions. One of them is the dowry system. It is a two-sided sword. It is a joy to the husband and his family who get expensive gifts while it is a curse to the bride’s parents who bear the enormous cost to satisfy some unreasonable demands.
The worst part is that the demand for dowry does not simply stop at weddings. Often, the bride faces harassment both mentally and physically if the groom’s family’s needs are not met. So much so that sometimes a girl finds no other option other than committing suicide to prevent further torture.
Nothing cries fowl about our patriarchal society more than this system. Women have to go the extra mile to prove themselves worth the respect of men. Since time immemorial women have faced obstacles in achieving a successful social life. Unfortunately, even today women struggle with their daily life.
Establishing a career is still a great deal for women. Many parents still prefer to have a boy and only educate the kids then. Women for them are the medium to keep their family happy, healthy, and together.
Badrinath Ki Dulhania, directed by Shashank Khaitan, raises a question on these two issues. Its prequel was a pretentious, impromptu remake of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. But the sequel actually has something to talk on. Also, the script and the comic timing are much stronger than the previous one.
The movie directly raises a question on how having a boy is considered to be an asset while having a girl a liability.
The story revolves around Badrinath Bansal (Varun Dhawan) who plays the younger son of Jhansi’s biggest moneylender. He does collections for his father. His father, Amarnath Bansal, is a typical judgmental baniya with misogyny dripping from every orifice of his body. He carries an oxygen cylinder with him wherever he goes.
His elder son, Aloknath, wants to marry the girl of his own choice, but Amarnath makes him marry the girl of his choosing by faking a heart attack. Not only does he ask for a gigantic dowry, but afterward even restricts his daughter-in-law from working.
Somdev Mishra (Sahil Vaid) is Badri’s childhood friend who runs a matrimonial business ‘Chutki Mein Shaadi’. He also accompanies Badri during his collection tours. During one such tour, they meet Vaidehi Trivedi (Alia Bhatt), a strong-headed girl who cannot be scared.
Vaidehi, who was tricked for money by someone she loved, is no easy but to break. This shakes her so deeply that she decides never to trust any guy.
Badri tries his best to win Vaidehi’s heart. He does whatever it takes to help her and her family. Finally, Vaidehi agrees to marry him. Badri confesses to Vaidehi about his father’s principles and how he doesn’t want women in his family to work. Vaidehi realizes the implications of this on her Mehendi day.
On the day of the wedding, she runs away to Mumbai to become an air hostess.
This shatters Badri’s heart and brings great disgrace to his family. When they find out that she is in Mumbai, Badri is sent to find her and bring her back to Jhansi so that she can be made to pay for it. On reaching Mumbai, Badri gets to know that Vaidehi works in Silk Air in Singapore. So, he along with Somdev set for Singapore in search of Vaidehi.
In Singapore Badri and Vaidehi play the cat-mouse game with Badri chasing her and her running away from him. But with time, everything settles and their relationship transforms from being bickering lovers to bonding friends.
Then one fine day, Badri returns to Jhansi without telling Vaidehi. His sister-in-law is pregnant, so his father has organized special rituals so that the baby is a boy. Pretty much frustrated with his life, Badri bursts out in front of his father and raises many questions on his ideology.
He finally confesses that he loves Vaidehi and wants to let her pursue her job. Meanwhile, Vaidehi arrives and expresses her love for Badri and both finally decide to marry.
Shashank Khaitan has done an impeccable job with casting in this romantic comedy. I don’t think anyone else other than Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt could have played Badri and Vaidehi. Also, the director has brought out the best in the actors for the characters.
The pair is pretty much bubbly with the goofy Badri and the strong-willed Vaidehi. Khaitan has done a neat job by taking a grim subject and treating it with a light hand.
The JMD (Jai Mata Di) song and the bus conversations between Alia and Varun, where she asks him full forms of IIT, ABS, and the difference between simple and compound interest are some of the best moments of the movie.
The scene when the two fathers, played by Swanand Kirkire and Rituraj, meet each other and one compliments the other’s oxygen cylinder is again a very funny one. The fight between Badri and his friend Somdev is delightful too.
All in all, Badrinath Ki Dulhania is a full paisa-vasool movie that entertains you, enlightens you, and sends you back home with a smile on your face.