The great thing about Indian cinema in recent times is that they are choosing to use the best mass media we have at our disposal to deliver important messages. Films like Deepa Mehta’s Water, for example, brought to light the situation of widows in the country. The Lunch Box brilliantly captured the tiffin culture of Bombay and the daily humdrum of middle-class existence. But it’s been a while since we had a movie that covered all the bases. A sensitive and controversial topic, with brilliant direction, singularly fine acting, and spectacular cinematography.
Badhai Do delivers on all those fronts and then some more. What happens when a gay policeman and a lesbian school teacher decide to get married to escape the family pressure to settle down. This film examines the taboos that exist around homosexuality, the absurd familial and social controls over the intimate lives of people, and the cloying hypocrisy that surrounds keeping up appearances for appearance’s sake. But it does so with such humour and sensitivity that it leaves one with a sense of questioning rather than a sense of shame.
Rajkummar Rao delivers a riveting performance as Shardul, the police officer, and Bhumi Pedneker delivers a powerful act as a feminist sports teacher, Sumi. If there is one Indian film you must watch, let Harshavardhan Kulkarni’s landmark film, Badhai Do, be the one. Keep a box of tissues handy… you’ll either be crying with laughter or weeping from the heartache.
Watch it on Netflix.
Reviewed by Sangeetha Shinde Tee.