Just like other filmmakers, Harshavardhan Kulkarni also takes a chance to make film Badhaai Do on the subject of LGBTQIA. Starring Rajkummar Rao as Shardul Thakur, a gay cop, and Bhumi Pednekar as Sumi - the lesbian physical education teacher, Badhaai Do follows these two individuals and their lavender marriage.
About lavender marriage, it is a hetero marriage between two homosexual persons, who agree to this arrangement of convenience for various reasons like trying to fit into society, avoiding social stigma emanating from their single status, and using it as a cover so that they can live their lives with some semblance of freedom.
About the story, Badhaai Do revolves around the story of Shardul (Rajkummar Rao) and Sumi (Bhumi Pednekar), who are closeted members of the LGBTQ+ community, living together as roommates after they agree to get into a 'marriage of convenience'. The film shows how an individual's sexual orientation defines and decides their fate in the society. While Shardul, a police officer, and Sumi, a PE teacher, agree to this arrangement - referred to as a lavender marriage - to shut their families up and get rid of the constant pressure to get married, the journeys they take on with their respective partners eventually lead to several realisations about their realities.
Director Harshvardhan Kulkarni shows several small conflicts in his screenplay, but it never becomes a major point of debate. Fights, arguments and family issues are resolved with much ease, making you wonder where the story is headed.
About the performances, Rajkummar Rao’s emotionally charged portrayal of Shardul is remarkable. He has a firm grip on his character, which he essays with absolute grace and honesty. Bhumi Pednekar’s character of Sumi is sensitive, nuanced, and delightful. Expressing the turbulence, she battles within without words is remarkable. Essaying Shardul's mother, Sheeba offers comic relief and brings her own charm with her weird but affable character. The film's casting is on point as Chum Darang, Seema Pahwa, a surprise appearance by Gulshan Devaiah and the supporting cast keep you interested as well as nail comic timing.
Director Harshvardhan Kulkarni deals with the subject in a really mature and sensitive manner. Writers Suman Adhikary, Akshat Ghildial and Harshavardhan Kulkarni waste no time in establishing the characters and their background. From their first meeting to their convenient yet not-so-convenient wedding, everything falls into place rather easily and quickly. Rest of the movie's first half then explores their honeymoon adventures and individual love stories that seem little tedious.
Cinematographers Manoj Shaw and Swapnil Sonawane immerse you into the scenic sights as and when they get a chance.
Harshavardhan Kulkarni’s film depicts this byzantine arrangement with humour and wit. He handles the protagonists' quandary with a great deal of sensitivity. The movie is an attempt to send out the message that sexual orientation should not and does not define who an individual is.
Overall, Badhaai Do is a complete family entertainer with addressing sensitive issue of LGBTQ+ community. A sequel to the multiple National Award-winning movie Badhaai Ho is worthy to watch once.