Cast and Crew of Badhai Ho Talk About the Filmby Opinion Express October 18, 2018 0 comments
In a freewheeling chat with this writer, the director and actors of Badhai Ho get candid about their roles and experiences.
When the trailer of Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s Badhai Ho! aired, it created an instant buzz. The audience wondered about the repercussions of having a child late in life. What age is it too late to have a baby? When is a mother too old to have another child? Are your parents too old to still love each other and express it in bed?
The idea wasn’t something new but is a “real phenomenon” that is usually kept under wraps. Amit explains that the storyline originally came from Akshat Ghildial, the writer of the film, who had written it as an ad film in 2012 which was “luckily” never made. “In 2015, he narrated a one-line story of a 50-year-old mother getting pregnant. We realised that this hasn’t been taken up and it’s the only reason that it should be. We wanted to do a film that shows all these aspects but isn’t vulgar. We didn’t want to make anything serious. We worked on the script for two and a half years to give it a comic touch,” he says.
After the trailer launch, Amit reveals that they received a number of calls from people “who told us that the story looked identical to their lives. We just don’t talk about it nowadays.” He gives an example from his family, “My grandmother and her mother were pregnant at the same time.”
As was evident from the trailer, the film talks about the embarrassment an elderly couple, their children and family, neighbours and friends face. It makes one ponder about what happens if your parents get pregnant when you’re already grown up? Amit says he doesn’t aim to teach “ki abhi bhi iss umar mein bache paida karo (have babies in this old age), but we want to make the audience understand that if still there’s love between your parents, what’s the harm in it? We are not preaching. Everyone has a different point of view and the film aims to break the stereotypes.”
Talking about breaking taboos through progressive cinema, Ayushmann Khurrana is one of the first names that comes to mind. Many of his films like Vicky Donor, Shubh Mangal Savdhan, Dum Laga Ke Haisha and now Badhaai Ho venture into the territory.
So why is it that we always find him unlocking such doors? Is there a particular selection process that he goes through while choosing his roles and films? For Ayushmann, a new concept is important and he believes that everyone should be selective. “To be clutter-breaking and to do something different, always attracts me.” It’s a two-way process. “I choose such films because such films also come to me. When I started out, I was on the track of unconventional roles. I just wanted to have best script choices.”
He believes that actors become specific to “their kind of zones” after playing certain roles. For instance, if Varun Dhawan worked in Sui Dhaaga and October, Tiger Shroff is mostly seen in action films. “Hence, an actor starts to trend a journey from their first film. I did Vicky Donor and Shubh Mangal Savdhan, and also Andhadhun, which is quite different from the other two. My zone and preference is to work on slice-of-life and taboo-breaking cinematic films. I am happy to be a part of progressive cinema. Badhaai Ho! is different.”
The film raises questions about old-age pregnancy which might make the audience think twice before heading to the theatres with their families. But the star cast assures that it is a “family movie,” which could be watched with everyone without any awkwardness. Amit says, “The film talks about love between an elderly couple. Moreover, the society today has really evolved in terms of talking about things in open as compared to earlier times.”
For Ayushmann, the awkward aspect in the film is not that huge as compared to his other films like Shubh Mangal Savdhan or Vicky Donor, where “there was a need to explain the kids about a sperm donor or erectile dysfunction. This film is just about pregnancy and everyone knows how it happens. There’s no such dialogue in the film which is cringe-worthy or vulgar, just like the previous movies.”
Ayushmann, last seen in Andhadhun playing the role of a visually challenged man, shares how difficult it was to pretend to be one, “I had to meet blind students and observe them. I had to be trained as a pianist in the film. Combining both was difficult as I had to play a piano without looking at it. So I had to practice for three months for six hours a day.”
The film also stars Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao in lead roles, who play the 50-year-old pregnant parents. For Neena, who was last seen in Mulk, this role was the best experience in her acting career.
“I have always wanted to do this kind of a role in a middle class background but was never offered one because of my image. I was really excited after reading the script.”
If you ask her about the problems that she faced while acting as an old and pregnant woman, she says, “There was a slight physical discomfort in the beginning around my waist due to the velcro that would pierce my skin and sometimes I would sweat, but then it grew into a habit. And the process became easier with time.”
As the #MeToo movement is increasingly gaining prominence in the country, the star cast trio share a word of what they feel about the revolution. Gajraj Rao, “It was overdue. Just like we do pest control in our homes every six months, it should be done in the human society as well. Now the way women and even men, to some extent, are coming out to speak against harassment and it looks like those who harassed are afraid to do anything. They will think at least 50 times before doing something. A young girl is told not to discuss if anyone harasses her. It is considered a taboo. But every child should be taught that it is important to speak up. She will be able to react at the right time when she grows up.”
Ayushmann adds, “It’s not just in Bollywood but everywhere, and it should be everywhere. It’s just that people in public eye have been affected the most since. We have a very strict patriarchal society since time immemorial. So it takes a lot of courage for a woman to come up about something that has happened to her in the past. It’s a very good movement.”
Neena says, “It’s a power game. Women are speaking up after 15-20 years because when it happened they were not in a position to speak up and nobody would have even believed them. The one in power would always try to shut them in public. But now that they are established and powerful enough, they feel empowered to speak. They are finally raising their voices and it is really good. We need to listen to them and believe them.”
Writer: Chahak Mittal
Courtesy: The Pioneer