'Badhaai Ho' review: A wholesome family entertainer
The movies shines with a winning script and stellar cast.
What happens when a couple in their 50s, in a moment of passion, end up having an unplanned pregnancy? That is the quirky, unusual story of 'Badhaai Ho'.
Nakul Kaushik (Ayushmann Khurrana) cannot come to terms with the fact that his parents, father Jeetender aka Jeetu (Gajraj Rao) and mother Priyamvada (Neena Gupta) are going to have a third child. Nakul has an adolescent younger brother Gullar (Shardul Rana).
The film centres around the middle-class Kaushik family who live in Lodhi Colony, Delhi. The setup is perfect with 'Mata Ka Jagrata' songs, housewives playing housie/bingo, uncles dancing to 90s Bollywood tunes at weddings, prying neighbours and more.
The movie gets you engrossed in minutes as the couple discover that Priyamvada is 19 weeks into her pregnancy. The most hilarious parts in the movie are the ones where the couple has to share the 'good' news with their family and friends. In particular, the scene where Gajraj tries to awkwardly talk to his young sons, and later his mother (Surekha Sikri), will crack you up. He is so self-conscious that he can't look them in the eye, till they finally accept the news.
Gajraj portrays Jeetu with a vulnerability and innocence that creates an instant rapport with viewers. You want to empathise with the couple when they become victims of judgment from their immediate family members when they announce the pregnancy.
Priyamvada is at the centre of what follows, as a pregnant mother in her 50s. Along with the physical strains of pregnancy, comes an emotional strain and Neena Gupta delivers a well-balanced, measured performance. She is desirable, her husband reads out poetry to her behind closed doors and "applies red lipstick, although her sons have grown young", as her mother-in-law disapprovingly points out.
Surekha Sikri is appalled when she hears the news. She throws the usual mother-in-law jabs at Priyamvada, but stands up for her when the extended family express their embarrassment at the late pregnancy. One scene in the second half will warm your heart -- the conservative Sikri defending the couple saying it is not wrong to be in love or be intimate at any age.
Director Amit Sharma thoughtfully captures the love between the middle-aged couple as they steal glances at a wedding. In another track, we have Nakul in a relationship with Reene (Sanya Malhotra) and the awkward spat he ends up having with her mother (Sheeba Chadha). Sheeba appears in the film only for a few scenes and yet leaves a mark. She is a woman of few words and leaves a Maya Sarabhai impression. The strength of the film lies in the script and 'Badhaai Ho', written by Akshat, Shantanu, explores an uncomfortable subject delicately. There is attention to small details like the steel water filter in their kitchen, the family visiting a local doctor at a small dispensary, aunts applying lipsticks to each other at a wedding, the Kaushiks driving a 13-year-old car, probably bought on the savings from the father's government job. The world they create in a Delhi colony is believable and the characters relatable.
Kudos to Ayushmann Khurrana for choosing unconventional scripts and hitting the bull's eye each time. Be it 'Vicky Donor', 'Shubh Mangal Saavdhan', 'Andhadhun' and now 'Badhaai Ho'. We can't wait for his next pick.
Overall, 'Badhaai Ho' is a wholesome movie - Amit Sharma takes us on a laugh riot and packs in the right amount of emotional moments that leave a lump in your throat. Don't miss out on this unlikely family entertainer.
Film: Badhaai Ho
Director: Amit Sharma
Cast: Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao, Ayushmann Khurrana, Sanya Malhotra, Surekha Sikri, Sheeba Chadha