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New movie ‘Badhaai Ho’ is all about taking things in your stride as a family and using love to tide over things that life throws at us, writes Smita Vyas.
‘Badhaai Ho’ is a warm and funny movie to watch but also addresses some interesting questions along the way.
Jeetender, a Ticket Teller (TT) in the railways and Priyamvada, a couple well past their prime, decide to go ahead and have their ‘accidental’ baby. The news is met by their sons with shock and dismay, Jeetender’s mother passes sarcastic comments about when he had got the time to romance his wife when he has no time for his old mother. The reactions of the neighbours and relatives cover a wide spectrum from judgemental tut-tutting to sticking a ‘Baby on Board’ sticker by the older son’s friends.
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The movie is mostly about how the couple navigates the tricky waters surrounding this development. Their sons won’t talk to them, their relatives at a family wedding complain about how the groom’s side passed snide comments and the mother of the son’s girlfriend wonders how they will manage financially. The only person who seems to find the whole thing normal is Renee, the son’s girlfriend who can’t seem to understand what the fuss is all about. As she rightly puts it, in our society everyone above 50 is classified as old and not expected to have any interest in sex or romance. Even looking good is not something one should want. Priyamvada’s mother-in-law looks down on her wearing lipstick at her age and associates that behaviour with the pregnancy.
In the middle of all this what keeps the couple going is the romance that the accidental baby has brought into their life. Jeetender stares open-mouthed at his wife descending the stairs at the wedding, all dressed up; the couple also exchanges secret glances like newly-weds. Priyamvada is more bogged down by the angst surrounding the pregnancy than Jeetender who preens at his newfound stud status. The excitement and happiness they have is deeply personal and helps them to deal with things at the end of the day.
The sons Nakul and Gullar have their own demons to fight. Nakul gets into a fight with Renee when her mother says his family shows no class. The younger one has to deal with bullying and sarcasm in school. But as the brothers process this new development in their lives, they get closer to each other. That is what the movie is all about. Taking things in your stride as a family and using the currency of love to tide over things that life throws at you.
The other thing it examines is the role a woman plays in deciding whether to keep a baby against the odds or not. Priya is not at a childbearing age, yet decides to go ahead with her pregnancy and her husband supports her decision. Their relationship is one of equals though it seems as if Priya gives him an upper hand.
Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao make the relationship real. Priyamvada and Jeetender much like any other long-married couple have their petty squabbles and are totally in sync with each other’s rhythms. Ayushmann Khurana once again does a great job after Andhadhun and his romance with the very charming Sanya Malhotra makes you smile. Surekha Sikri as Dadi rocks the show and Sheeba Chaddha as Renee’s mother makes an impact in just the two scenes that she has. Ultimately, the movie is about simple people and it works because all these actors make the simplicity look effortless.
This is a great movie to watch to get that warm feeling at a time when we are assaulted on all sides with so much negativity. At two hours, it’s short and crisp and you may just look at your spouse of 20 years with new eyes once again.
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Smita considers herself an octopus with tentacles in different delicious jam jars. An alumnus of
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