Badhaai Do released on the OTT platform, Netflix yesterday. With so many recent digital releases, should you watch this theatre-first film this weekend?
Being a typical Bollywood film, Badhaai Do is a mix of campaigning and entertainment. But when you mix these two, you neither make your viewers think about the campaign you are running, nor do you make them fall in love with the story you want to tell. Because it is clearly neither a campaign nor a story-based film.
I really want to watch a good love story of a same-sex couple something like Chikatgunde’s episode 4, Kande Pohe or Holding the Man, the film. A story that would really make people see love in a different light. Mere campaigning in the form of a film or characters in a web series isn’t doing any justice to the LGBT community. Another thing that doesn’t go down well with me is gay couples are always shown hungry for sex or simply sexually attracted to another guy/girl, in whatever capacity the filmmakers can manage. I want to see a pure love story, love so pure and intense where sex naturally fits in, it’s not forced. That’s not the case with Badhaai Do but yes, it doesn’t give you the love vibes as well.
I guess the right people to make films about gay couples are only gay couples, not straight people as only these individuals would know how intensely they feel for their partner. How their relationship is much more than sleeping with each other. Badhaai Do tries hard to be that film but as I said it couldn’t clearly be a story or a campaign.
Badhaai Do Story
Badhaai Do, in fact, had everything that I am looking for in a gay/lesbian love story. The issues they face, the compromises they make, the battles they fight with themselves and for themselves on a daily basis, the love between couples, and much more. Unfortunately, the Director couldn’t make the story a protagonist here. Though the beginning was slow and boring, the later part was interesting. So, what’s the Badhaai Do film’s story?
As the trailer tells us, Shardul (played by Rajkummar Rao) and Sumi (played by Bhumi Pednekar) are gay/lesbian. They marry each other so that they can live their lives the way they want to, without being pressured by their parents to get married to a straight girl/guy. After marriage, while Shardul continues to be in a relationship with his boyfriend, Kabir; Sumi, now single, is living a free life. As time passes, Shardul breaks-up with Kabir while Sumi finds love in Rimjhim.
When Sumi starts bringing Rimjhim home, complications start popping their ugly heads as the neighbours start questioning about this new companion of the couple. Right when everything settles down, Sumi and Shardul are pressured by their parents to have kids. While Sumi always wanted her own child, she couldn’t imagine having sex with Shardul, especially when she has a partner. As the pressure from parents increases, Shardul tells Sumi that they can plan a child and get rid of parents’ demand for kids forever.
The biggest twist in the couple’s story comes when Shardul’s mother finds out that the couple is not having kids as Sumi is sleeping with Rimjhim. The news spread in the family like wildfire. Sumi becomes the sole target as Shardul refuses to break the news to the families that he, too, is gay and marrying Sumi was his idea.
But, as his family starts abusing Sumi for her sexual orientation, Shardul couldn’t take it anymore and tells his family that he is gay too. The story takes an interesting turn from there and the end tells you a completely different story where you are left with open-ended questions about what next? How will the couple manage to be with their respective partners while being married or about the child that Shardul and Sumi will raise as theirs?
Badhaai Do’s end is what the entire film should have been all about. The emotional and physical challenges in gay couples/LGBT community’s lives that are mainly a result of society’s unacceptance of their individual choices, or should I say, society being ignorant of their rights.
Going back to the question we started with, should you watch Badhaai Do on Netflix? There is no harm in watching it or skipping it. It’s completely your choice. If you start watching the film and feel bored, you are not in the theatre, you can quickly jump onto something else. So, go ahead, give it a shot. And yes, if there is a gay love story that you enjoyed watching, drop the recommendation in the comments section below. I would love to watch it too..
Streaming On: Netflix