Badhaai Do cast includes Rajkummar Rao as Shardul Thakur, a policeman, Bhumi Pednekar as Suman "Sumi" Singh, a physical education teacher, Sheeba Chaddha as Mrs.Thakur, Shardul's mother, Loveleen Mishra as Mrs. Singh, Suman's mother, Nitesh Pandey as Mr.Singh, Suman's father Shashi Bhushan, Chum Darang as Rimjhim, Suman's girlfriend and Gulshan Devaiah as Guru Narayan a lawyer.
The story revolves around how Suman and Shardul live double lives as LGBTQIA+ community members who are socially marginalised. They believe that settling for a compromised marriage to appease their overbearing families will provide them with cover while they pursue partners of their choosing. The story of this family drama is built around what they eventually achieve and how they do it.
जोड़ियां ऊपर से बनकर आती हैं, or as they say so, a large proportion of these 'heavenly marriages' appear to be all shining and bright as a result of different sacrifices made by couples. This marital compromise is a lavender marriage in Badhaai Do, one that isn't openly spoken about but has always existed.
A lavender marriage is a hetero marriage between two homosexual individuals who agree to this display of marriage for their convenience for a variety of reasons, including trying to fit into society, avoiding social stigma and family pressure associated with their status of being unmarried, and using it as a cover to live their lives with little freedom.
What do we think about it?
Sumi and Shardul (Bhumi Pednekar and Rajkummar Rao) are newlyweds who live together like roommates in the film. Following Sumi and Shardul's wedding, they are always on their toes in order to keep their secret hidden from their families, friends, and neighbours while remaining loyal to themselves.
In this process, they end up racing from one crazy situation to the next. Shardul and Sumi's relationship with their real partners play out with the same ease, comfort, and turmoil as any other couple in our films, indicating that the film's motive is not to stereotype the LGBTQIA+ community, but to change minds and eliminate pre-conceived thoughts about them.
The film quite delicately sheds light on the mental health of someone belonging to the community, and how the person feels- from loneliness, sense of isolation and also majorly, the lack of space to talk openly with their family. As a result, they are forced to deal with issues on their own. How the protagonists try to come out of their shells and have a conversation with their family is shown in the second half and will move you to tears.
Right from quoting homosexuality as a disease to calling them a pervert, the film successfully shows a mirror of how families react to their children opening up about their sexuality. Without revealing much about the film; a dialogue which hit me hard was when their truth is revealed, a reaction from Sumi's father makes him say, "Humare ghar hi kyun?"
Rajkummar Rao's portrayal as Shardul is commendable. How well he switches from being a straight guy in front of the society to a different character of being himself says a lot about the level of actor he is. Whistles are a must when he says, 'I am a homo cop'.
Bhumi Pednekar as Sumi is sensitive, nuanced, and on point. She has a brilliant grip on her character which she plays gracefully and with complete honesty. Expressing the ups and downs she battles within without words is noteworthy.
Chum Darang portraying Rimjhim, should be applauded for choosing such a daring character for her debut in Bollywood. The makers should be praised for casting a northeastern character as the parallel lead, which is rarely seen in our cinema. More such movies are sure welcome!
Gulshan Devaiah as Guru Narayan deserves special applause as his appearance is just the perfect cherry on the cake.
The supporting cast, which includes renowned actors like Sheeba Chaddha, Seema Pahwa, Loveleen Mishra and Nitesh Pandey gives the drama credibility. In fact, their conversations make for some of the most amusing moments.
What works wisely:
Badhaai Do is a brilliant take on normalising the depiction of the community and their romantic relationships in the society. Complications in marriage, stereotypical thoughts of the masses about the community have also been depicted with empathy and reality. Meanwhile, the protagonists are not treated differently because they are homosexual. Right from the start, the film is as straightforward as possible about the lead couple's sexual orientation.
Delightful direction and Mazedaar Music:
Harshvardhan Kulkarni shines as a director. Yes, there are some things which are left half-baked in the story such as how they tell their respective families about their decision of marriage; but the director makes it up by the emotional revelations in the second half. There’s a scene which will leave you teary-eyed and is very well directed but can't reveal the same as it constitutes for a spoiler. Meanwhile, he also gives a message about 'Legalizing child adoptions for gays and lesbians too'.
The film is beautifully shot, portraying the natural beauty and simplicity of Uttarakhand. Badhaai Do's title tune by Tanishk Bagchi and Bandi Tot by Ankit Tiwari stand out in terms of music. Amit Trivedi's song Hum Thay Seedhe Saadhe is likewise a lovely love song that stays with you long after the movie has ended.
Regardless of whether you belong to the community or not, the LGBTQIA+ parade shown in the film puffs everyone's chest with pride and gleamy emotions. In a country where people believe that ghosts are real but homosexuality isn't, where decriminalizing consensual gay sex took decades and where same-sex marriages are still not recognised by the law or accepted by society, films like Badhaai Do are needed.
'Love has no gender'