[Author Note: This post was originally published on 21 March 2017]
Disclaimers first. I’m not a usual Hindi movie fan. In fact, my Bollywood knowledge is entirely credited to my roommate in law school. And, because I continue to love her more than ever, I voluntarily agreed to watch Badrinath ki Dulhania on Sunday afternoon.
In short? The movie is horrendous.
The movie centres around Badrinath Bansal (Varun Dhawan), Badri for short, and his quest for a bride. Besides looking for a bride, he does not do anything substantial, other than being a “support” to his family for “collection of loans”. Because, hey guys its 2017 and moneylenders are still the only means of credit in rural and semi-urban India. [Author Note: I’m a banking lawyer, and let me assure you that the central bank, the RBI does enough to ensure that the law and regulation seeks to provide credit to those who need it, formally]. Badri is assisted by his loyal sidekick, Somdev, who runs the ever spurious website chutkimeinshaadi.com.
His brother, on the other hand, is a pretty decent, calm guy. The character of the wife, Urmila Bansal, is not half bad, even though she succumbs to all the nonsense that this family puts her through. Brother runs a automobile showroom, and exploits his wife banking and accounting skills (she is a topper who also got a job offer in Singapore but her backward father said no to that and got her married to this dude) to better run the business.
The Bansal patriarch is the most disturbing character in the entire movie, not only because he is annoying af, but because just hearing bad dialogues was enough to give me a headache. [Author Note: True story, I took a crocin after getting home]
Badri meets Vaidehi Trivedi (Alia Bhatt) and her sister at a wedding and is smitten by her. Somdev then meets the parents of the Trivedi sisters and arranges to get both their daughters married. The sister’s wedding is set with some Radhe Maa fan who demands dowry that the Trivedi parents cannot afford, so Badri goes to negotiate. So despite the disclaimer at the beginning of the movie of dowry being fucking illegal, the movie seems to encourage thoda lena dena . Badri basically sets everything up till wedding day, and is ecstatic that he’s going to marry Vaidehi. But on D-Day, she just disappears and is shown travelling to Mumbai for a job interview with Frankfinn airhostess training. Her father is upset but her sister gets married to radhe maa fan.
The Bansal patriarch orders depressed Badri to hunt down Vaidehi and bring her back and show her business. So Badri goes to Mumbai and finds that she is in Singapore. And so, logically, he goes to Singapore. Once there, he physically assaults her by attacking her from behind, dumping her into the fucking car trunk, takes her to a isolated area and catches her by the throat and all she says when the police find them and take them in for questioning is that it was a mere misunderstanding.
Thereafter, he legit stalks her, beats up one of her male friends and is being the height of all things that feminism stands against. Even after all this (his passport gets confiscated), she allows him to live in her flat (damn fancy, even by Singapore standards) and cooks for him. Then there’s an emotional ew scene when he leaves for India.
Back home, Badri is still unemployed and his family is looking for a wife. Urmila is pregnant so anti-feminist Bansal patriarch has a puja so that she can have a boy. At the puja, Badri is drunk and has a tiff with Bansal patriarch and suddenly Vaidehi appears from nowhere saying that she legit loves him and wants to marry him, but at the same time wants her job et al.
So let me get this straight. This educated woman who got a decent enough job in Singapore (INR 1.5 lakhs as per the movie) ran back to India to marry an uneducated (passing 10th grade is not enough when you clearly do not know what IIT stands for. I mean, you live in India), unemployed, who does nothing for a living (even in the two years he spent “waiting” for her as she worked in Singapore) and continues to do nothing as she starts her own air hostess training school in Jhansi.