Review: ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ is Substantial But Lacks Magic

Being a product of one of the most affluent production houses in India ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ can afford to indulge on extravagances. So you get to see the best of small town India; where ‘Badri’ comes to meet his probable ‘Dulhania’ in a water bike. The leading lady wears trendy designer ethnic outfits which will be copied by girls across India and the leading man talks in a fancy ‘desi’ lingo (mother promise) which will catch on like wild-fire among the youths. However, the world they belong to is hardly in sync with modern sentiments. They come from families where a girl is considered a liability and a guy is an asset to demand dowry. The film tells the story of a girl vying to be free from regressive surroundings and a guy coming to terms with the harsh reality of being a borderline misogynist. However the film never preaches rhetorically or takes itself seriously at any point but is rather presented as a love story where a guy relentlessly chases the girl he has fallen for and in the process learns a thing or two about respecting women and standing up for what is right.

There are some genuine funny and heartfelt moments and all the credit goes to the competent actors in supporting roles who played their parts beautifully. A big shout-out to Shweta Basu Prasad, the suppressed sister-in-law, who gives silent support to our hero ‘Badrinath’. The first half is a smooth ride but the going gets tough post interval. It is where the lead pair comes in to save the day. Varun Dhawan for once outshines Alia Bhatt as the story is told from his perspective. He got the accent, the body language and the arrogance of a small town guy bang on and he effortlessly switches from comedy to emotional scenes. It also helps that he dances like a dream. He is Salman Khan and Govinda combined together who comes in the price of just one. Alia Bhatt also matches up to Varun in more ways than one but the sad truth is that this is a very easy role for an actress of her caliber. She puts up a charming act but is clearly uninspired. The film doesn’t do anything to satiate the artist within her but it will keep her on the top of the popularity charts and number game. The music of the film is shockingly underwhelming; only the remake of the 90s song ‘Tamma Tamma’ stands out.

‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ is the second collaboration of director Shashank Khaitan with Varun and Alia. While their latest collaboration is more substantial, their first venture ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’ (2014) was undoubtedly more entertaining. This one lacks magic despite the presence of every formula that goes into the making of a regular crowd-pleaser. Watch it only if you are a diehard fan of Varun and Alia.

Rating: 2.5/5