Badrinath Ki Dulhania
Director: Shashank Khaitan
Cast: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt
In 2015, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania made it to the year-end success roaster. Now Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions decides to come up with a sequel. So we get another ‘Dulhania’ themed film with the same director (Shashank Khaitan), same hero (Varun Dhawan) and same heroine (Alia Bhatt) but with a different storyline, settings and characters. How does the experiment work?
What’s the plot?
A chance meeting with a Kota-based girl (Alia Bhatt)) at a marriage function sparks off love at first sight for a Jhansi-based guy (Varun Dhawan). He is a rich money-lender’s happy-go-lucky son, a typical chauvinist brought up in a strict patriarchic household. She is a spunky feminist trying to break free from her middle class roots. The clash of values and visions is bound to make this romance a topsy-turvy affair with plenty of twists and turns!
· Shashank Khaitan makes the film a light-hearted, fleet-footed affair.
· The movie keeps you thoroughly entertained with a lot of rib-tickling scenes and dialogues. The surprises are planned and executed well.
· The message about shunning archaic patriarchic values and enabling woman empowerment comes across in no uncertain terms.
· The lead pair’s easygoing chemistry is endearing.
· Dhawan begins in a rather cloying Govinda-Salman-clone mode but manages to quickly come into his own, to deliver a likeable performance.
· Alia is good but not really at her best.
· The supporting cast is excellent and almost every major side-character is well-etched.
· Good production values and catchy music.
· The film takes a while to warm up.
· The flow of events feels erratic at times.
· The ‘romantic’ stalking and assault scenes carry on the disturbing cinematic trend.
· The length of 2 ½ hours could have been shortened.
The second helping in the ‘Dulhaniya’ series is definitely a step up from the first in terms of presentation, characterization and fun quotient. The serious social activists may not be too pleased with some of the regressive, repressive content but the director still needs to be applauded for the way he has wrapped up important social messages in a hardcore commercial potboiler. Such sugar-coated messages are perhaps more likely to succeed in changing the age-old conservative mindset, rather than stiff-upper-lipped sermons!