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“We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.”

― Robert Fulghum, True Love

Weird would be the precise word to elucidate the protagonists of Badrinath Ki Dulhania, but in a delightful way.

The leading lady is Vaidehi Trivedi (Alia Bhatt), an ambitious and zealous woman from Kota, Rajasthan, who doesn’t take even a second to hilariously decline a marriage proposal. Kavya from Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania was ardent about donning the most expensive and extravagant Lehenga for her wedding, Vaidehi, per contra, has antithetical views on the institution of marriage.

The male protagonist is Badrinath Bansal aka Badri (Varun Dhawan). He hails from Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, is head over heels in love with Vaidehi and even gleefully memorizes the formula of Simple Interest to woo her. She, on the other hand, demurs but is gradually drawn towards his charm and childlike innocence.

So what eventuates when two diametrically opposite individuals, with divergent perspectives on love and life, fall in love?

What’s beguiling about the film is its portrayal of two conflicting cultures. In one of the film’s most laudable scenes, we are au courant with the fact that Jhansi is remembered for a woman and not a man. Full brownie points for making a point on women empowerment there! Director Shashank Khaitan also captures the essence and the dialect of the cities with both aplomb and amusement. There’s a lot of humor in the way Badri converses and expresses his stuffed feelings and emotions. Always struggling to behave with savoir faire, he’s completely unapologetic about his demeanor and Dhawan plays him with a lot of finesse.
With a blend of emotiveness and exuberance, the actor makes Badri so simpatico, it’s hard not to cheer for him.

Bhatt, meanwhile, seems to be really relishing the roles she’s been playing currently. After three consecutive dramatic roles in 2016, it’s exhilarating to see her in the world of glamor, grandeur and gaiety once again. Always brimming with poise and panache, the actor is in the finest form of her career and delivers a confident and convincing performance.

Sahil Vaid, however, is reduced to being a sidekick once again. A promising actor with great prospective, he deserves a role with a lot more meat and mirth.

Making the audiences traverse through the lanes of Jhansi, Kota and Singapore, cinematographer Neha Parti surely understands the richness and the canvas of a Dharma Film. It’s well-shot and captured and every frame, particularly the songs, seems a visual delight.

The music, alas, seems to be off the mark. The much publicized chartbuster from the yesteryear’s Thanedaar is the only striking track from the album. The rest are hummable but forgettable.

Badrinath Ki Dulhania ultimately is a film that may not be savored by all, but it still remains a deeply satisfying watch for the lead pair’s earnestness.

What’s the harm in trying once? You may want to see it all over again.

3 Stars