Badrinath Ki Dulhania is a rucksack full of radioactive social issues handled cautiously with bedazzled Dharma gloves. But ‘handled’ is the operative word here.
Set in small towns like Jhansi and Kota where patriarchy is as evident as daylight, the movie focuses on Badrinath (Varun Dhawan), a sahukar’s son in pursuit of a bride. He spots Vaidehi (Alia Bhatt) at a wedding and starts wooing her. But Vaidehi refuses to bow down to social pressure and succumb to a marriage nurtured by an IV drip of dowry. Turns out she’s that mutant small-town girl with actual opinions and ambitions and most importantly, a spine.
And her character is the backbone of this story, too. She’s fierce and real; she’s pushed down but gets back up; she protects her dreams and for once, doesn’t get emotionally manipulated. Her father’s heart condition be damned!
Through Vaidehi, the movie checks all the important boxes: gender issues, feminism, consent, etc. But the story is treated so stylistically (with elaborate song sequences and flashbacks and cinematic moments) that it loses heat. At times, characters speak like public service announcements, and seem a little contrived.
( 3.5 / 5 )