Badhaai Do Review: One of the best Hindi movies of 2022!
Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar, Chum Darang
There have been several Indian movies based on the LGBTQ+ community over the years. But what makes Badhaai Do stand out from them is how it engages in comprehensive storytelling with raw and organic characters. The film uses the idea of a lavender wedding, which has been in existence since the beginning of the 20th century, to explore the emotions and troubles that people of the LGBTQ community go through.
Shardul Thakur (Rajkummar Rao) is a police inspector working in the Women’s Grievance Cell. On the outside, he is everything an ‘ideal man’ is, with his chiseled body and cop job. But on the inside, he is suffocated with the burden of his clandestine sexual identity. Being in a conservative milieu, Shardul suppresses his truth. Suman Singh (played by Bhumi Pednekar) is a PT teacher who identifies herself as a lesbian. Her conditions are not much different from Shardul’s. Both in their early 30s, the pressure for marriage from the families doesn’t make their life any easier. And that’s when they decide to get married so that they can get their families off their back and live their truth freely. The friendship they share is beautiful though we see them nagging and fighting with each other. But things aren’t as easy as they thought it would be.
Badhaai Do handles the subject with extreme sensitivity, adding humor without letting go of the intensity of the matter. It is not another commercialized Bollywood LGBTQ+ movie made with marketing propaganda. It stands true its cause. Rather than spreading awareness on the issues faced by the community, the film highlights the personal struggles of the people, the emotional turmoil they go through.
The sneaking in and out, the constant lying, the hustling all add to the humor of Badhaai Do. The pressure to conceive a child also paves the way to some refreshing humor in the film. It primarily happens in India, where the entire family is after the couple asking them to have kids! The segment where Shardul’s mother comes to live with Shardul and Sumi is one of my favorite comic bits from Badhaai Do. She is a highly unopinionated mother with no sense of authority over anything in her life. She is nothing but a puppet for Shardul’s aunt (played by Seema Pahwa) to get her nephew in control. The role is slightly different from the usual mother roles that Sheeba Chadda does. And she executes it to perfection.
Shardul and Sumi always have to be in a constant state of awareness, so that their truth is not revealed. But how long can this go? And they are caught in the act.
The scene where Shardul’s mother finds out about Sumi is brilliantly taken. The shock in everyone’s faces conveys the horrors of what is about to happen. Not much later, Shardul comes out clean to his family, letting out everything he held back all these years. The hug he and his mother share speak volumes. Maybe with him coming out, even she felt e sense of relief and comfort. After all, both mother and son just did what was being told by the family without any expression of their choices. The scene is one of the most beautiful ones you will see in recent movies. Shardul calls up Sumi, after all, she was the only one with whom he shared his truth. The scene sums up their friendship in the purest form.
With refreshing storytelling, stellar performances, and a headstrong plot, Badhaai Do is one of the best films one can watch this year.
Watch on: Netflix
Image Courtesy: YouTube