Imagine this. You’re having a conversation with a person for the first time. You are sitting in a café having a good laugh over a plate of delicious kebabs. The ambience is superb. The other person must probably be thinking of going out with you again and pop the question already. You, on the other hand, come out of the café with a knot in your stomach because you can’t just stop thinking about the hair sprouting from the person’s nostril. All those hearty laughs, good ambience, yummy food are absent-mindedly left behind in that corner table of the café and you come out only with those turf of hair sticking in your mind like mucus sticking on the hair. That’s what watching Badrinath ki Dulhaniya felt like. Surprise!!
Don’t read further because there are going to be spoilers ahead and I want you to watch the movie as it was made with a good heart. And I want you to come back to this after you have watched the movie.
As promised in the trailer, Badri is a filmy masala dish peppered with song and dance, good acting , action, colours, brewing love etc. And the dessert is the message that this love story tries to tell. An important message that our society needs to hear and get it drilled in its head. Unfortunately, society is just an intangible entity that we fall back on when things go awry. We blame the society left right and centre completely forgetting that it is people like you, me and the entire team of Badri that makes the society tangible and what it is. And things get messed up even with a good heart because we pay for years of building a skewed up and highly ignorant society that juggles too many balls (Read feminism, gender equality, empowerment, etc) without having a deeper understanding of any of it. I am not a connoisseur of any of it either. This is why we hear innocent rape jokes slipping into every day conversations here and there, even today.
Coming back to Badri, the boy meets a pretty girl at a wedding and falls in love with her. Cute, but nothing new.
The boy decides then and there that he is going to marry the girl. Nothing new there either.
The boy and his bestie follow her in college, in bus and basically wherever she goes. That’s wooing for you in UP style.
The girl says no. A first no which may mean yes.
The girl says no. A second no. Clap clap.
The girl says no. A third one. Boy is too daft to understand that.
The girl agrees to meet the boy and says no. A fourth no. Frankly, if I were the boy I would have fled away. But this boy is very pyara. He does things for her and her family that the girl finally says yes. Lo and behold. That UP style of wooing works like a charm, I tell you. Now who said stalking here? Keep quiet and clap.
Oh, but we also clapped for Pink that screamed out loud once and for all that No means No.
Anyway, things don’t work out between the two but our pyara badri can’t handle the situation. He turns into a violent version of Devdas gulping down alcohol and beating people up and finally also gagging the girl he loves. But all that is justified because pyara badri is in love. It is just that the girl almost murdered this ‘pyaraness’ that has now slipped into coma and refuses to come to consciousness. Helpless badri. What to do?
Eventually, boy and girl who were already in love learn to respect each other. Clap clap.
Badri finally becomes a man in the true sense from an awara boy who thought his six pack abs are enough to tell everyone that he is a man. Major clap.
By now, you will be clapping on too many ironies in the movie.
You would clap when they meet for the first time.
You would clap when you would realize that stalker badri is actually pyara badri.
You would clap when awara turned gentleman badri renders a soul cleansing, heart-tugging, eye-watering speech battered with a socially relevant message about what it actually means to be a man.
You would heave a sigh of relief because now you know that all those wooing/stalking, violence, threatening was to show the transition in badri’s character, of course conveniently forgetting that he manages to melt the girl’s heart before he becomes a gentleman.
You would take a breather when the ‘pyaraness’ comes out of the coma much to everyone’s delight and pyara badri is ready to take on the world with his new found perspective and his girl. Clap clap clap.
But but but, you still come out of the theatre with a knot in your stomach because you can’t stop thinking about the hair in the nostril.
There is this scene. It is an empty street. Dark sky. Boy and girl are walking when a group of masked goons surrounds the girl, gropes her, molests her and tears off her clothes. After the goons leave, the boy lends his jacket to the girl to cover her izzat. And they all laugh over it. The audience claps the hardest in this one, ‘rofl’ing. It was supposed to be a comic scene so laugh we must.
Are you kidding me, you ask. You can’t be serious, you gape in horror. Please tell me you are joking, you plead. And I say of course I am joking. Dare anyone make a mockery of sexual harassment and molestation of a girl and trivialize what a woman goes through. Of course I am joking. That is not what happens in the scene. It is the boy who gets groped and molested and gets his shirt torn off and it is the girl who lends her dupatta to cover his chest and they all laugh at him while he makes a face. Haah! Calm down now. For a second, I did scare you, didn’t I? Now, go ahead and laugh because it is a boy who gets groped and there is something so funny about it that the audience laughs.
Meanwhile, let me just go back to my Tinkle to get over the hair in the nostril. Yuck!