It’s been 4 years since we saw Ayushmann struggling with his mother being pregnant and yet we can’t get over how well Badhaai Ho kept its message without compromising on its entertainment value.
It was October 2018 when the Bollywood industry saw a massive shift. A movie made on a budget of 28 crores starring none of the big stars earned a whopping 221 crores. And it achieved this feat against a movie that was released simultaneously with the biggest names in Bollywood like Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, and Katrina Kaif. Thugs of Hindostan was made on quite a large budget. It was never seen before that a movie with so many stars didn’t work at the box office while a movie like Badhaai Ho which was as simple as anything worked so well that it couldn’t get out of theatres. That was the charm of the film that not just brought a taboo topic to be talked about but also max entertainment with it!
Badhaai Ho talked about normalizing wanting sex in your 50s but in the most unique way. It didn’t become preachy in any sense. Instead by inculcating the mother of a 20-something-year-old Ayushmann Khurrana being pregnant, they talked about sex. This technique of not mentioning it once and yet driving the point home was ingenious. The ‘show don’t tell’ technique often made for filmmaking is practiced brilliantly by this masterpiece where we get to see everything and realize for ourselves.
The way of representing the concept picked up in the film itself makes up for a comedy premise and the film knows it and utilizes it well for its benefit which makes for entertainment. And while it’s giving out a message over a taboo subject, it doesn’t show any heroes, just simple people, and their reactions and journey through it. Ayushmann Khurrana as the son is disgusted and angry at first and it takes him a while and an entire journey to realize and be okay with his parents being pregnant. While Neena Gupta as the mother probably has it worse given that she’s pregnant in her 50s and has to deal with society as a whole.
Irrespective of the obvious message, there are underlying messages that made the film such a game-changer. Surekha Sikri as the mother-in-law is a typical character but her taking a stand for her daughter-in-law and appreciating her for how she has taken care of her throughout makes up for such a warm relationship between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law which is usually so bitter. And when Sanya Malhotra speaks up for Neena and asks Ayushmann to look at her not from a lens of a mother who is on a pedestal but as a woman with desires, it sits with you! Sheeba Chaddha, as a concerned daughter’s mother, shouts out practicality in the world. Even Gajraj Rao as the romantic supportive husband is just so wholesome to watch.
And combining all of this with the script as the hero made Badhaai Ho such a game changer that it brought a whole line of Public Service films into existence, where a taboo subject is approached with utmost sincerity and told with entertainment. Director Amit Sharma has to be lauded for bringing such a down-to-earth film that’s connected to its roots so much. Look at the house they live in Delhi or the language or the mentality, nothing seems out of place.
With the script as the hero, cast as mere human beings, and a story so rooted, this is probably why Badhaai Ho warms our hearts even after 4 years!
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