Badhaai Do

Badhaai Do

This is a beautiful film about a lavender marriage. It’s a step above all that we’ve seen from this (sort of a) sub-genre of Bollywood: Progressive identity politics in Tier 2 cities. I say a step above, because the film’s humour doesn’t come at the expense of its queer protagonists. It doesn’t trivialize the issue it has taken up (homophobia) under the garb of innocence. 

The emotions are never heightened for dramatic or comic effect. This keeps the drama very believable, and even helps land some implausible comedy situations. The film conveys so much with the absence of certain characters in its climax, and doesn’t bother to spoon-feed us with scenes of them making their dramatic decisions. I’m so glad it doesn’t try to protect them citing small-town naivety either. This isn’t a fairytale, not everyone is capable of compassion, and whether you believe it or not, that is our reality. The ending is showcasing both, the hopeful (because of those present in the scene) and the hopeless (those absent), in the same frame. This makes for a wholesome outlook in my books.

I refuse to agree that these films are targeted at people from the places they’re set in. The makers are still aspiring to tell effective stories for those watching in the multiplexes of big cities. The small-towns in these films seem like more of an element to charm their actual urban target audience, than a reflection of those towns itself. I guess Bollywood has been trying to plant ideas of compassion to an educated audience through transformative stories of uneducated characters. It’s a smart writing ploy that can induce self-reflection in its target audience. It’s usage has become rampant over the years, almost leading to commodification of societal “issues”, but this mature film has set a new standard to reach for in this genre.


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