Junglee Pictures and Chrome Pictures’ Badhaai Ho (UA) is a family drama.
Jeetender Kaushik (Gajraj Rao) is a middle-class TC working in Northern Railways. He lives in Delhi with his wife, Priyamvada (Neena Gupta), two children, Nakul (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Gullar (Shardul Rana), and mother (Surekha Sikri). Nakul is in love with his office colleague, Reene (Sanya Malhotra). Reene lives with her widowed mother (Sheeba Chadda).
To the dismay of the Kaushik family, a visit to the doctor reveals that middle-aged Priyamvada is pregnant with her third child. Not just Jeetender and Priyamvada themselves but Nakul, Gullar and Jeetender’s mother are so embarrassed that it actually becomes awkward. Nakul stops meeting friends because he doesn’t know how to react. He even stops taking Reene’s calls and bunks office too. Why, Nakul and Gullar don’t even talk properly to their own parents now! As if that’s not bad enough, there’s a marriage in the family. Shanu (Vibhuti Tomar), the daughter of Jeetender’s sister (Alka Badola Kaushal), is due to get married in Meerut. Nakul and Gullar refuse to go for the wedding under some pretext or the other but actually because of the embarrassing position they find themselves in due to their mother’s pregnancy. Jeetender, Priyamvada and the former’s old mother, however, do attend the marriage. Priyamvada has to bear the taunts and barbs of her relatives at the wedding but she maintains her dignity by not getting into ugly tiffs.
An incident changes things dramatically for Nakul. Likewise, an incident at the wedding function in Meerut changes things for Priyamvada too. What happens thereafter?
Shantanu Srivastava and Akshat Ghildial have penned an extraordinary story which may not be contemporary but which is easy for even the youngsters to identify with. Frankly, one must salute the conviction of the two writers (besides the director and producers) for choosing a story of an era gone by and making a film based on it, for today’s audiences. Coming back to the story, it is replete with humour, comedy and fun in the first half. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the pre-interval portion is full of scenes which make the audience laugh and even guffaw. There’s not a single dull moment, not a single shot out of synch. The story takes a dramatic turn in the second half and abounds in emotions which touch the core of the heart. All in all, it’s a story which will appeal to all age groups and all strata of society.
The screenplay, written by Akshat Ghildial, is amazingly brilliant. If the comedy and humour keep the viewers in splits, the emotions tug at the heart strings so forcefully that they would make the audience cry, weep and sob, at times, inconsolably. In fact, the screenplay is so outstanding that it wouldn’t be wrong to call it a text book for writers. There’s not a single scene or shot that’s unnecessary – and likewise, there’s not a single scene or shot which is lacking in any way. In particular, there are several scenes which are worthy of loud claps. For instance, the scene in which the forever-complaining mother-in-law praises daughter-in-law Priyamvada not just draws tears from the viewers’ eyes but also prompts them to clap their hands. The scene in which Nakul gives Reene’s mother a piece of his mind is another example of brilliant scripting. It will evoke a loud round of applause. The scene immediately following that, in which Reene confronts Nakul, would draw two terrific rounds of applause – when Nakul says “Ghanta” and when he says with finality and without thinking for even a split second, “Dekh liya, ab bol”. Again, the scene when Nakul meets Reene’s mother to extend her an invitation for his mother’s baby shower is such an honest scene that one can’t help but heap praises on it. Climax is tear-jerking and extremely fulfilling.
Akshat Ghildial’s dialogues are gems. That a simple dialogue of his, like “Khaana kha liya, beta?”, can make the audience cry, says it all. No flowery language or stylish dialogues for him. His simple ones touch the heart. The humorous ones, of course, tickle the funny bone and how!
Ayushmann Khurrana is extraordinary as Nakul Kaushik. He uses his body language and facial expressions so effectively that his performance in this film could probably be rated as his best so far. The integrity he brings to his character is absolutely remarkable. His monologue with Reene’s mother, when he meets her to invite her, would not have had the impact it has if it were not for Ayushmann’s integrity as an actor. Sanya Malhotra does a lovely job as Reene. She gets into the skin of the character and comes up with a superb performance. Surekha Skiri deserves the highest praise for a job extraordinarily done. Perhaps, every single award for the best supporting actress this year would go to her for what will be counted as one of her landmark performances. Gajraj Rao is just too wonderful. A phenomenal actor, he gives his cent per cent to Jeetender Kaushik’s character. His dialogue delivery is, of course, superb but one can’t overlook his body language. His style of standing and walking, with shoulders drooping, stomach pulled in, face down – to express embarrassment is worthy of praises galore. Neena Gupta is first-rate as Priyamvada. Her honest and sincere performance lends so much dignity to her character and her role that it’s amazing. Shardul Rana lends remarkable support as Gullar Kaushik. He is truly cute. Sheeba Chadda is phenomenal as Reene’s mother. Jeet Singh (as Banda), Kush Malhotra (as Sunny), Rahul Tiwari (as Juneja), Vibhuti Tomar (as Nakul’s cousin, Shanu), Aabhushan (as Dr. Bagga), Davinder Madan (as Baggi), Manoj Bakshi (as Jeetender’s elder brother), Alka Amin (as Jeetender’s sister-in-law), Vivek Dagar (as Sumit Malik), Tarun Bali (as Chawla), Arun Karla (as Sunil), Alka Badola Kaushal (as Jeetender’s sister), Manoj Kumar Patel (as Chawla’s son), Sharika Raina Ahluwalia (as Bhabhi) and the others provide outstanding support.
Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s direction is excellent. His narration keeps the audience across age groups and classes engaged thoroughly and completely. Kudos to him for creating the perfect atmosphere and ambience for the story. Music (Tanishk Bagchi, Rochak Kohli, Kaushik-Akash-Guddu, and Sunny Bawra-Inder Bawra) is fair. The absence of chartbusting music is sorely felt. Lyrics (Vayu, Kumaar and MellowD) are okay. Vijay Ganguly’s song picturisations are quite nice. Abhishek Arora’s background music is remarkable, yet non-intrusive, as it adds to the impact of the drama without being overbearing. Sanu John Varughese’s camerawork is truly lovely. Ratheesh’s production designing is very good. Editor Dev Rao Jadhav deserves distinction marks for his super-sharp editing.
On the whole, Badhaai Ho is a super-hit! It is a big box-office fare in the small film space. In a way, it is, therefore, landmark cinema. Writers Akshat Ghildial and Shantanu Srivastava, director Amit Ravindernath Sharma, producers Junglee Pictures and Chrome Pictures (for their conviction), Ayushmann Khurranna, Surekha Sikri, Gajraj Rao, Neena Gupta and Sanya Malhotra are all heroes of this ‘multi-starrer’ blockbuster. This small film can easily cross the 100-crore mark because it will be loved by the young and the old, the masses and the classes, the men and the women, the girls and the guys, the rich and the poor.