Badrinath Ki Dulhania is a hindi romcom that was released last year and received mediocre response from audience and critics alike. It wasn’t a major Box Office Hit but it wasn’t a flop either. I came across it one day as I was killing time doing the archaic task of channel-surfing on cable TV.
After sitting through nearly 4 hours (curse the advertisements) of a regular Hindi drama movie story (with a little extra), I thought to myself that Badri Ki Dulhania is a very underrated film and here’s why:
As the movie starts, you feel like it is every Bollywood romantic movie where the guy chases the girl and she eventually, after tireless efforts from the guy, realises she loved him all along and runs into his arms. It starts that way. But slowly it takes off from cliches and tropes and unravels into something different altogether. It speaks about Dowry and women empowerment. It is funny without being sexist.
Badri does fall in love with Vydehi at first sight. They do have some random synchronised song and dance numbers. But throughout the story we are shown how Badri’s love for Vydehi is not just lust in a guise.
Vydehi doesn’t fall for Badri’s romantic gestures and sticks to her stand till the very end of the movie even though she likes him too. In a conventional movie, the couple would assume Love triumphs all. But Vydehi ensures she marries Badri on her terms and is ready to risk losing him. Such maturity is uncharacteristic for protagonists in movies.
Badri is far wealthier than Vydehi. But Vydehi is no naive small-town maiden. Despite his wealth, it is Vydehi who is portrayed as a smart and more desirable character.
On the other hand, Badri is shown to be not very bright but has his heart in the right place. As the story progresses Badri doesn’t become smarter, but proves through his deeds how he is a good fit for Vydehi. At no point in the story does he feel sorry for himself for not being as qualified as Vydehi, he lacks the typical male ego found in so many lead characters. Badri is never afraid to laugh at himself. Being from a small town himself and despite probably not having many opportunities to socialise with the opposite sex, he isn’t a creep who is lusting after some fair young girl.
Vydehi is not one bit ashamed of her relatively humble background (as compared to Badri’s) and makes her terms clear to Badri – that she wishes to pursue her career even after marriage. Coming from a background where girls aren’t allowed to speak up, she comes off as independent and gutsy.
Unlike many Hindi movies, Vydehi isn’t some pure inexperienced virgin with no past. She does have a serious heartbreak and this brings her to renounce the idea of marriage. Badri likes her knowing this from the beginning, not despite this. He is broad-minded enough not to judge her.
Vydehi isn’t some mindless rebellious woman who wants to break away from tradition. She doesn’t shy away from cooking for Badri, she forgives him without being too lenient or overlooking his faults. She even has the humility to return and publicly apologise for her impulsive decision to run away from her wedding. She is empowered but not overbearing.
Even though I did have trouble understanding a few words here and there, I liked that the characters spoke proper Hindi. Vydehi’s attire was what you’d find any small town girl wearing. Badri’s haircut and wardrobe match his personality. It shows how he’s trying to be cool and trying to fit in.
I feel in movies, at times, the characters looks are unattainable. They look far too pretty and polished for movie-goers to mimic their style. In this aspect, I liked that Badrinath Ki Dulhania stayed true to reality.
There is also a scene where Badri and Vydehi are inebriated and alone in a dark room. In most movies these days, this would be the most apt situation to squeeze in a hot and heavy make-out session. But staying true to the character’s personalities, while Vydehi, being the modern woman she is, does inch closer to Badri, Badri, being the traditional small-town boy he is, tucks her into bed and leaves.
Despite, Badri coming all the way to Singapore and forgiving Vydehi and proving his worth as her match, she doesn’t go flying into his arms. She waits until he stands up to his father. And stand-up he does. He points out the unfairness of his father’s ways to him without being rude. He talks about the discrimination women are made to face and how it is accepted without question.
The ending climax scene even has some powerful dialogues and Badri concludes with “Woh Badri ki Dulhania nahi, hum Vydehi ka Dulha banenge”. If this doesn’t bring tears to a feminist’s eyes I don’t know what does.
Do watch the movie if you haven’t because of the reviews. It is worth your time and will not fail to entertain even after the spoilers. Please share your review in the comments below👇