Badhai Ho

Badhai Ho…to Ayushman Khurana for not just one but two entertaining, incredibly well-made, masterpieces of Indian cinema in a row!

For just over two hours I was in middle of the lives of three generations of a middle class Delhi family and fell in love with each and every character. The credibility that the scriptwriter, director and actors have lent to each family member from grandmother to grandchildren is palpably real: a loud, nagging grandmother who is figuratively and literally the center of the household, a somewhat kanjus but very loving father, the proverbial middle class Indian mother who lives for her family and nothing else, an elder son who is not only stepping up to elevate the family conditions but also takes responsibility for every member of the family and a younger brother who is a bit pampered yet secretly in awe of his elder brother.

And then there’s this THING that happens. 17 years after the younger son is born the mother gets pregnant again and all hell breaks lose within the immediate family, extended family and of course – the neighborhood! Each family member, including the pregnant mother and her husband go through feelings of shame imposed on themselves by themselves and their surroundings. Now this is a topic that could have easily been handled very vulgarly and disrespectfully. However, the director did an incredible job of using the topic to further form his characters and strengthen their bonds from many different angles. Be it mother – son, mother-in-law – daughter-in-law, father – son, husband – wife, brother – brother, every single relationship got perfect air time with the right amount of emotion.

Nakul’s girlfriend was only needed as a contrast and to add some external tension but even that was handled wisely despite leaving a few questions unanswered.

Gajraj Rao, Neena Gupta, Surekha Sikri, Ayushman Khurana are all what we like to call “manje hue” actors. Every millimeter of facial movement conveys a message and they know how to measure those movements with finesse! (9/10)




Yeh Meri Family – Summer of ’98

Binge watch alert!

If you are a 80s kid like me and have a fetish for engaging storytelling this is it. This is IT!

A TV series released just about a month and a half ago with only seven episodes out so far this one won my heart. Every minute of the 30-ish minute episode is a treat and one that I would watch over and over again.

This is the story of a middle class family in Jaipur (my other hometown!) with a father, mother, two sons and a daughter. The story is narrated through the middle child ¬†Harshu’s voice and the beauty of the art is that he breaks through the fourth wall by directly talking to the viewer as he narrates the happenings in his family life. Harshu is the rebel in the family, sandwiched between a studious and obedient elder brother and a little, playful baby sister. His father is a loving family man who is an investment broker with a bank and his mother is the ever-doting torn into a million directions housewife always looking out for her family. Harshu also has a wiser-than-his-age friend, Shanky, who is Harshu’s advisor for every life situation.

Each episode is a marvel of little emotional chunks of entertainment. Through the eyes of a 12-year-old you’ll see what he thinks about each of this family members, the love-hate relationship he has with them and what his hopes and desires are. At the end of each episode he comes to the realization that his family is what makes him tick.

This family is just so endearing that I feel like jumping through the TV and giving them a big group hug.

Hats of to Saurabh Khanna and Sameer Saxena for catching minute details of the 1998 setting, beautifully penning it down and then flawlessly bringing it to life on screen. From picking boy names in a cricket roster representative of late 90s fashion names to making the overweight father sit in two plastic lawn chairs, to the prints of the mother’s saris, to every single detail in the late 90’s Indian household – this is a masterpiece frozen in time!

For those of you with a penchant for personal finance you will love hearing the father’s analogies for mutual fund investing smartly woven into his everyday conversations. Love this educational angle by the writer.

In a day and age where TV serials are full of saas bahu politics, vengeance, snake ladies and black magic this is the best thing that happened to Indian television since Dekh Bhai Dekh and Hum Paanch. (10/10)