Representation of LGBT characters in India hasn't been that great in the past and this has led to a lot of people having wrong perceptions about people belonging to the LGBTQIA+ Community. The first movie I remember showing a gay character was ‘DOSTANA’, and believe me that movie gave me chills. I’m still trying to decode what that movie actually wanted to speak about as even at the end, you will be confused as to what happens with all the characters. As rightly said by many scholars, our movies have the power to see the world from the conveniences of the screen, but the filmmakers had not taken this seriously then.
If you watch movies in the Indian cinema, you can hardly see any LGBTQIA+ representations, and even if so, they have always emphasized on their flaws rather than showing them as ‘normal people’ as what heterosexuals consider themselves. If you try connecting the dots, every time they have shown a gay man in Indian cinema, be it Boman Irani in ‘Dostana’, Rishi Kapoor in ‘Student of the Year’ and Bobby Darling in her entire Filmographic journey and many such characters have always been shown as single individuals longing for love and falling in love with straight guys and always being heart broken at the end. Of Course there are some exceptions to this like ‘Kapoor & Sons’, but even movies like ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Savadhan’ being LGBTQIA+ centric have not been able to represent the community well.
When I first heard about a new movie releasing soon called ‘Badhaai Do’, I thought it would be a sequel to the existing movie ‘Badhaai Ho’ and though the movie worked quite well in the box office, I was not sure why would the maker decide to do a story on a similar topic and who would actually be interested in watching the extension of the story. This bubble popped when I saw the poster of the movie and believe me, that alone motivated me to watch the movie's first show on the very first day!
When they released the poster of the movie, initially i didn't realize that Rajkumar Rao & Bhumi Pendekar were ‘coming out of the closet’ as it appears in the poster but when I realized that, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there finally was a movie which would feature a couple where both of them are from the community or something in the similar fashion. I decided to keep this thought of mine to myself until it got confirmed when I finally saw the trailer of the movie.
If I'm being bluntly honest, while the trailer confirmed that this movie is going to focus on ‘Lavender Marriage’ I was a bit scared as to what if even this movie turns out to be a disappointment just like the one which came some years ago, showing the love story of two guys (Hope you know which movie I am talking about ;D) I remember speaking to few of my friends just a few days ago in regards to the same problem that, is is really important to have LGBT characters in cinema, as even if the filmmakers choose to have this character for representation basis, it does more harm than good to the community.
Keeping all the speculations in my mind I still went to watch the movie and here goes the review:
Badhaai Do is a comedy drama based in Dehradun and it portrays what lavender marriage means. The story revolves around Sumi and Shardul (Bhumi Pednekar and Rajkummar Rao) the two main leads of this movie, as they decide to marry each other because of the pressure put down by their families. When it comes to representation of both the characters, the writing, direction and acting feels wonderfully natural and believe me, when you watch this movie, every time they react to any challenges which comes their way, you would feel that you would have reacted the same way.
While I thought that the title song in the movie was a little far-fetched, what kept me hooked was how each character in the movie added to the story to give the viewer a holistic view of what really happens in the life of gays and lesbians. Before this movie, people had only one type of gay man or lesbian women based on which they used to make a perception that “this is how these people are” , but thanks to this movie finally our Indian families will come to know that there is more than just being weak and feminine.
Initially when the movie started, though the makers wanted to establish the story of the movie, it felt a little boring to me but that boredom came entirely from me waking up early (just to watch the movie) and seeing a woman yawn (Male Leads Mother) for like 20-30 seconds on the big screen. But the boredom didn't last long as soon came Rajkumar Rao flaunting his bare body and guys, that truly was a scene to watch. Slowly and steadily the story started picking up and cinematically, the movie was able to make me feel that I was a part of the story.
When I still recall watching this movie from early this morning, all I can remember is how well each dialogue and screenplay was written and how our community is portrayed, keeping all small things in mind. I am so glad that finally there is a movie which shows a diverse representation of lesbians and gays rather than stereotyping them.
P.S. If you belong to the LGBTQIA+ community and watch this movie, there will be a few scenes in the movie which can trigger few emotions and remind you about some memories you have buried deep down in your mind, but at the core you will get some clarity on that past experience as well.
P.S.S. I wont say that this movie is the perfect representation of Lesbians and Gays as I myself am not a subject matter expert, but I can proudly say that the representation of lesbians and gays in this movie is a 10 times better than all the movies we have seen in the past.
P.S.S. This is not a paid review, this review is completely genuine and based on one viewing alone!