Badhaai Ho

wogma rating: Must see - on the big screen (?)

quick review:

The movie doesn’t take its basic premise further and yet goes way beyond it. The relationship nuances touched upon are rarely seen in films. Free of drama, glamour, action, this ‘it is what it is’ family drama, is a thoroughly engaging and insightful entertainer. Just the one ‘apology’ scene makes the film a winner.

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Director: Amit Sharma
Running time: 125 minutes
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Badhaai Ho - Preview

A grown up adult’s seemingly, middle-aged mother is pregnant. That is hilarious and at the same time, you can immediately identify with the protagonist’s (Ayushman Khurana) predicament. In that sense, Badhaai ho promises a delightfully schadenfreude-ish pleasure.

At the same time, you realise that this is embarrassing for this age. Just two generations ago it was not uncommon to see mother and daughter or mother and wife pregnant together. However, in today’s times, the concept is bound to make you look forward to it. The problem though is, that the trailer doesn’t look like it will be able to hold interest through the film despite the promise of the concept.

The film holds immense potential to entertain, engage and even drive some insight. It also has the middle-class, slice-of-life feeling in the midst of a very unlikely real life situation – a lot like Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee films. Can’t wait to find out if it holds up to the promise of the idea.

Badhaai Ho releases on 18 October, 2018.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Badhaai Ho has a one line plot – 50+ year-old parents of a 25+ year old are going to have a baby. The charm of the film lies in that it has no intention of going beyond this brief introduction. Instead, it picks on a few of the possible ripple effects that the couple’s decision to keep the baby can have on the people around them – and how each one deals with the ‘news’. The film explores only this situation and the ingrained wacky naughtiness and yet retains interest and is perceptive.

An enjoyable family film about having sex. They actually made it possible!

The sense of humor in the film is a class apart from what we would call situational or typically crazy funny. It is not completely dependent on its wit or one-line quips for the laughs. Indeed, Badhaai Ho carries the Hrishekesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee kind of appael that is found by common middle class characters who are put in an extraordinary situation.

Which means that the humour is not the film’s stand-alone pillar. If a film based on a single-line description keeps you engaged in the nothing that is going on, the writing has done its job with finesse. The maturity in the writing shows through the characters behaviour given their background and the situation they are presented with.

Characters change their heart in merely one scene, but it takes that just-right dialogue and story writing to have a righteous character show their maturity by setting their ego and prejudices aside. Meek characters on the other hand stay true to character until the right button is pushed and you can imagine such a character exploding when that happens. There is no right or wrong, people just...are.

Not just the individual characters, the writing is remarkably observational of other simple things in life. For instance, anyone who has lived in a family knows that the person who works the hardest in the family is taken advantage of the most. This facet of family life is reflected and brought out in a remarkably written scene.

The relationships are written with great care too. I cannot harp enough about how well thought out an apology plays out. Right from the need for the apology, to who apologizes, to the reluctance to apologize, to the person being convinced to apologize, to the actual apology and its acceptance – the nuance in writing is a rarity.

Similarly, the bond that comes only for family is treated with much tenderness. You might hate the guts of that member in your family, but you will not tolerate an outsider pointing a finger at them – that’s the job description of a family member, isn’t it?

Kaushik Sr. (Gajraj Rao) and Priyambada (Neena Gupta) are the cutest couple in town!

And last but hardly the least, anyone who can make the good ol’ saas-bahu nok-jhok1 with a touch of warmth that feels right, is a genius.

I would like to go out on a limb and say that so subtle yet powerful is the writing, that the performances are either secondary or anyone half-decent would have done a good enough job. Lucky us, we have much-much more than half-decent an ensemble here.

I could write a paragraph each on Ayushman Khurana, Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao, Sanya Malhotra, Surekha Sikri … oh my goodness, Surekha Sukhri (the most gorgeous, crabby granny!) and even Sheeba Chaddha in her small but absolutely memorable role. Or I could just shut up and urge you to go watch for yourself.

When I watched the trailer, I was worried that there would be nothing more to the film than a young man being embarrased about his parents getting pregnant. I am so glad there was nothing more to Badhaai Ho than that.


1 the typical banter between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law.

- meeta, a part of the audience

35 reviewers(?) - 31 yays 3 so-so 1 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...So including the film in BTC's Movies To See Before You Die list for many worthy reasons, would like to recommend it as an essential watch, to be seen together with the family having a great time.... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Badhaai Ho is treasurehouse of commendable performances. When Gajraj Rao bursts into ‘Babu’ English with his son’s girlfriend I chuckled at the linguistic pretension of all the patriarchs of the word who equate the English language with upward mobility. Early on I decided this film qualified as a masterpiece for its solid robust grip over the workingclass’ anxieties. Towards the end when Neena Gupta’s character skips the baby shower and goes straight to labour, I felt I was a part of the Kaushik family. When the family younger son Gullar (Shardul Rana) bursts into on seeing his newly-born baby sister I wanted to comfort him.... full review

Thumbs up, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, BADHAAI HO is not a laugh riot but emerges as a complete family entertainer with emotions as its USP. The film leaves you with a smile and at the box office, it is at an advantage. It releases during an extended weekend and families are bound to come in large numbers. It’s surely a 'Badhaai Ho' time for the makers and investors!... full review

Thumbs up, by Dishya Sharma, Bollywood Life : ...Get your tickets and book it for your entire clan because Badhaai Ho is a heartwarming movie which deserves to be watched with your family. Don’t forget to carry tissues cause you’re going to have tears – while laughing and crying.... full review

Thumbs up, by Farheen Hussain, Deccan Herald : ...handles the theme of elderly-romance gracefully.... full review

Thumbs up, by Meena Iyer, DNA : ...Just go for it!... full review

Thumbs up, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...The second is the song Sajan Bade Senti, during which two spectrums of affection are juxtaposed against each other. In one, a frisky Nakul chases his girlfriend around an empty bungalow in anticipation of their big night. In the other, Jitender steals bashful glances at a radiant Priyamvada at a chaotic wedding function; he grins, she blushes. It’s almost as if the first language of love has matured into the second. The funny part is that Badhaai Ho makes it impossible to tell one from the other. Does the impatience come first, or the pregnant pause?... full review

Thumbs up, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...There’s something profoundly honest about Neena Gupta’s silences while the world explodes around her.... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...All-in-all, watch Badhaai Ho for its unique take on the family film sub-genre, as also for some paisa vasool acting by the entire cast. Congratulations indeed to director Amit Ravindernath Sharma for making a hugely entertaining film.... full review

Thumbs up, by Anna MM Vertticad, FirstPost : ...Neena Gupta plays Priyamvada with the natural ease that has characterised all her performances on film and TV. In addition it is worth noting how she has been styled and how she chooses to carry herself in Badhaai Ho. When she was young I never particularly thought of her looks, but in this film I was struck by her luminous prettiness in a face filled out beautifully with life experiences. Gajraj Rao is so credible as her reticent yet romantically inclined partner, and they are so good together, that they bring to mind these lines from 'I Believe In You' sung by the legendary American country musician Don Williams: "But I believe in love / I believe in babies / I believe in Mom and Dad / I believe in you."... full review

Thumbs up, Free Press Journal : ...Overall, in keeping with the context and the culture of the hypocritical society we live in, “Badhaai Ho” is a welcome change.... full review

Thumbs up, by T J Reddy, fullhyd.com : ...Writing, though, is clever only when the actors tasked with embodying fully-fledged characters are firing on all cylinders as well.... full review

Thumbs up, by Vishal Verma, Glamsham.com : ...a rib tickling family comedy that shoots down the traditional mundane mindset of love, age, romance, relationships and more..... full review

Thumbs up, by Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Gulf News : ...Don’t miss it!
Film: Badhaai Ho... full review

Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, Hindustan Times : ...Most of all, this film belongs to Gajraj Rao, who plays Jitender, a ticket examiner on the Northern Railways. He refuses to tip people for doing what they’re supposed to, though he does parsimoniously part with a small mango instead. He writes poetry under a restless pen name, but is stunned by his newfound position, among menfolk of family and locality, as an icon of virility. Briefly, too briefly, he considers growing a moustache, but Priyamvada disapproves and — as demonstrated to us by the way he flicks a bit of mango from her chin, reads poetry to her on a rainy night, or simply the fondness with which he looks at her — he loves her with all his heart. Now that’s a hero.... full review

Thumbs up, by R M Vijaykar, India West : ...Very few films manage to take up a serious issue and tackle it with the perfect mix of humor and emotions.... full review

Thumbs up, by Anvita Singh, indian express : ...three people stole everyone’s thunder – Gajraj Rao, Neena Gupta and Surekha Sikri.... full review

Thumbs up, by Anita Iyer, khaleejtimes : ...Gajraj portrays Jeetu with a vulnerability and innocence that creates an instant rapport with viewers.... full review

Thumbs up, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, Badhaai Ho is a clean family entertainer which also is a tight slap at the mentality of certain people which unfortunately still exists. This breaks a taboo by making sure you laugh throughout. Watch this watching how much you laugh while watching the film.... full review

Thumbs up, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, Live Mint : ...Dialogue writer Ghildial coats a taboo topic in a veneer of humour. The screenplay builds in just the right amount of emotional nudges and Sharma’s direction binds together all the elements to deliver a satisfying watch.... full review

Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...The sum of these asides is clearly greater than the whole. Totally regret having turned up late. Will certainly watch the movie's first few minutes, at some point. You should catch all of it, in the meanwhile, for sure.... full review

Thumbs up, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...This one also features a doctor who ignores the confidentiality clause by sharing details of a patient’s struggle with piles with another. And this unassuming scene says more than it actually does about the repressed society the film is set it. It is one where one doesn’t blink before broadcasting highly personal details but perseveres to address one’s most basic urges.... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Badhaai Ho is certainly worth a visit to the multiplex.... full review

Thumbs up, by Shrishti Nagi, News18.com : ...Badhaai Ho is a smart and well thought-out movie which slightly suffers from unrequired melodrama in the second half, but overall it’s as entertaining as you wanted it to be. Not a film to miss.... full review

Thumbs up, by Anish Mohanty, Planet Bollywood : ...Something like this has never been explored before... full review

Thumbs up, by Sudarshana Dwivedi, Rediff : ...Overall, Badhai Ho is a well-written, wholesome, entertaining film, simple and unpretentious, that tackles a serious subject comically, without losing out on entertainment or your attention.... full review

Thumbs up, by SHILPA JAMKHANDIKAR, Reuters : ...Of the cast, Gajraj Rao and Surekha Sikri as the matriarch shine through. Khurrana plays his role with ease and Neena Gupta makes do with what seems like a truncated role. It’s ironic that a film that shows a 50-year-old woman getting pregnant makes it about everyone else but her. We see her pregnancy from the perspective of her husband, her kids, her mother-in-law and even the neighbour – everyone except her own. It is the film’s one great failing. If you can forgive that, then “Badhaai Ho” is a satisfying ride.... full review

Thumbs up, by Troy Ribeiro, Sify Movies : ...Overall, in keeping with the context and the culture of the hypocritical society we live in, Badhaai Ho is a welcome change.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rachit Gupta, Times of India : ...The film engages thoroughly, while still making a social statement. Even though the story has a limited scope, the detailed writing, the finesse of Sharma’s direction and some unforgettable performances, make this film an absolute winner.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sharad Raj, Upper Stall : ...a fine, well-written film with credible situations and nicely fleshed out characters, a rarity in modern times in Hindi cinema.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rummana, yahoo! India : ...‘Badhaai Ho’ is seasoned with a certain ‘Delhiness’ and is weaved together with lots of fun, laughter and a fine insight into traditional relationships in modern India. This one is a must watch.... full review

So-So, by Suhani Singh, india today : ...Badhaai Ho, starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Neena Gupta, is delightful in the first half but soon loses its fizz, says our review.... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...At least these moments allow the brilliant Sheeba Chaddha to shine as she wonders (and correctly) whether her wealthy daughter will fit into Nakul’s family and talks about the things that actually matter (financial strain, the health risk to Priyamvada).... full review

So-So, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...The film captures the little, seemingly insurmountable conflicts of a middle class family very well and also its self-righteousness when it comes to matters of sex and its hypocrisies in putting the mother on the pedestal. It’s in conclusions and closures that things get out of hand. The convenient and sentimental “it’s all about loving your family” route doesn’t quite work with the otherwise cheeky tenor at the start of the film. If only it could have remained consistently so.... full review

Thumbs down, by Manisha Lakhe, Now Running.com : ...The film is about middle class Delhi at its weirdest best: nosey neighbours, judgemental relatives, small claustrophobic homes, quirky characters... And funny one liners about life that make you smile. Yes, there's grown up parents who are freshly pregnant and the son is embarrassed. But if you've seen the trailer, nothing more happens in the film. It drags on and on until you lose the smiles. Surekha Sikri, Gajraj Rao, Neena Gupta are such phenomenal actors they carry the film, but everything... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Not really. A scene with a punch and another with a couple of slaps
  • Language: clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Ayushman Khurrana without a shirt. A couple of making out scenes. Sex is mentioned directly and is alluded to indirectly given the premise of the film.
  • Concept: Parents of a 25+ year old are having a baby.
  • General Look and Feel: Film carries familial warmth

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

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Badhaai Ho - Cast, crew, links

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