Badhaai Do: A Lavender Wedding Story

Badhaai Do is a movie that stars Rajkumar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar and follows a gay man and a lesbian woman who are planning to marry each other for the sake of their families. This is also known as a lavender marriage. Lavender marriages exist in this society and Badhaai Do tries to bring out this to the forefront.

Even so, it is quite evident from a lot of the dialogues that the film has not really utilised any LGBTQ+ writers or taken their suggestions before putting this out. In one scene, the dialogue goes, “Assume my gender”, which is the opposite of what trans and non-binary people are working towards. This flaw in writing can also be seen in how Bhumi’s character who is a lesbian is portrayed as macho and liking sports, stereotyping her as a butch lesbian. While Rajkumar’s character is seen to be flamboyant and stereotyped as well.

But that is not the worst of it. There is a Bollywood trope that is developing in the wake of them trying to be “woke” and “with-the-times” where they keep attributing sexuality as a foreign concept, which came from a foreign country- subconsciously othering the LGBTQ+ people in India. In Badhaai Ho, they pair it up with the other subconscious trope, our disregard for the northeast states and terming them as outsiders. This was seen in “Ek Larki ko Dekha To Aisa Laga”, where the partner was from London. Even in Kapoor & Sons, there is an insinuation that the gay character has found this lifestyle because of his move to a foreign country. There is always an outside influence tag and additionally, this outside influence is often the one that triggered this. So, there is a sense of attaching the outside source as an “influence” and not that being LGBTQ is an actual identity.

The movie also does a blunder in putting a “straight pride flag” in a Pride March. “Straight Pride” is a rightist perspective that tries to shun LGBTQ identities and stereotype them. The movie trailer puts the flag in the centre of the March. It is clear that no research or representation was working on this movie.

But the trailer also focuses on the inability to come out especially as Rajkumar Rao struggles to come out even to Bhumi. Overall, the movie presents itself to be a Bollywood take on LGBTQ+ people, which would mostly mean that a lot of it would be sanitised for Indian viewing. The scenes that do seem problematic though beg to question if the movie would turn into a joke or a heterosexual love story.      

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