- BOTTOM LINE
- Tolerable Film Surrounding a Social Stigma
|Platform ZEE5||Genre Comedy|
What is the Story about?
A frustrated youngster Randeep, realising his career would go no further if he stayed anymore at his hometown in Punjab, decides to move to his aunt’s house in Delhi. While he manages to find a job at a garage in a suburb of the national capital, he’s pretty intrigued about the ways of his Bengali neighbour Nayanika a.k.a Nayan. Nayan, a fashion designer by profession and also a surrogate mother, holds a rather notorious reputation in her community for her ‘uncouth’ ways. Randeep’s humanitarian streaks help him strike a rapport with Nayan, during which the former understands her and the essence of surrogacy. His growing intimacy with Nayan is met with opposition at his aunt’s household. Meanwhile, Nayan’s doctor informs her that her delivery might have complications. The simple yet poignant plot then shows how Randeep stands like a rock in Nayan’s life and helps the community change their perception about Nayan.
Divyendu Sharma, the Pyaar Ka Punchnama actor who’d only bagged supporting parts in most of his film outings, finally gets a full-fledged role to prove his worth and he doesn’t disappoint at all. His Punjabi dialect uttered with a Delhi slang provides the right flavour to his dialogues. Diveyndu’s on-screen ease helps you root for him and his mental transformation over the course of the film.
More than his chemistry with his on-screen girlfriend Patralekha Paul, his conversations with the spontaneous Dolly Ahluwalia provide rip-roaring laughter. Meanwhile, Patralekha as Nayan has a charming persona but fails to lend the needed emotional depth to the role of a surrogate mother. Her focus seems to be more on her pitch-perfect makeup while her passionless dialogue delivery doesn’t help her case.
Ashwin Shetty’s directorial debut deals with the stigmas surrounding surrogacy in a lighter vein. The film is basically about the double-standards of conventional society and its refusal to comprehend something that goes above its head. Narrated through a love story, Badnaam Gali, save for one lengthy monologue by its lead protagonist, doesn’t try to be preachy about surrogacy and the other social issues it discusses. Taking a cue from Vicky Donor, the atmosphere in the film remains more or less breezy.
The storyteller also utilises the opportunity for witty commentary on issues like slut shaming and domestic violence. Never do these multiple sub-plots feel forced and within a 95-minute narrative, the filmmaker packs enough substance to plant a thought about surrogacy and the imminent need for its acceptance in your mind. Badnaam Gali’s USP is its comic quotient and the middle-class setting. The gullies, the conversations that the house-wives hold in the Delhi suburb and the interactions between Randeep and his aunt, make for some amusing sequences.
What the filmmaker may have worked better is the love story surrounding Randeep and Nayan. The two appear more like friends than lovers and the romantic angle to their relationship feels slightly unnecessary. The film would have been more powerful had the director depicted Nayan and Randeep as buddies who stand up for each other in the time of need. Also, the sequences leading towards the transformation of the community and their acceptance to surrogacy had the potential to be more powerful. Though predictable, the film doesn’t have many dull moments and keeps you engaged as long as it lasts.
Paritosh Sand as Randeep’s father lits up the screen whenever the writing is strong. His role doesn’t offer great scope but his comic timing is a treat to watch, especially in the last sequence with Divyendu Sharma at the hospital. Several other supporting actors like Poonam Mathur, Vimi Mehta fit the middle-class milieu of the film well. Better effort to explore their characters and their family issues could have made for a more poignant outing.
Music and other departments?
Nakash Aziz and Sargam Jassu, with the music, could have done away with the ‘balle balle’ stereotypes that come with every film set amid a Punjabi backdrop. The background score is just about passable. The film, though, ends on a melodious note with the track ‘Jaagi Jaagi si’. Ravi Walia’s cinematography isn’t any work of surreal visual imagination but is reasonably okay in the context of the story. Mohinder Pratap Singh’s dialogues are witty for the most part. However, Patralekha’s dialogue in the climax about pregnancy feeling like a war she’s just won seemed slightly insensitive.
Divyendu Sharma and Dolly Ahluwalia’s performances
The slice of life comedy
Extremely predictable screenplay
A half-hearted background score
Patralekha’s superficial acting
Will you recommend it?
Badnaam Gali Review by Srivathsan N