A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This is the first mainstream Indian movie to talk about the concept of marriages of convenience between non-heterosexual individuals, and the barriers homosexual people face in India's heteronormative society. It portrays a realistic, yet aspirational journey of two conservative families overcoming societal norms and their own homophobia.
Positive Role Models
Sumi doesn't let herself become bitter in the face of not just homophobia, but also threats to her safety. She has aspirations to adopt a child but acknowledges that the dream may be out of reach as homosexual people are not allowed to adopt under Indian laws. When she eventually is able to adopt thanks to her marriage of convenience with Shardul, we see her tenderness toward the baby. Shardul shows great dignity when coming out to his family. He corrects them when they say hateful things about Sumi and lesbians in general. He appeals to the humanity and kindness of his homophobic relatives, eventually winning most of them over. Shardul's mother comforts him afterwards, lets him cry, and shows him that she loves him regardless of his sexuality and what others in the family might think of it. Though Sumi's father is initially hurtful toward her when he learns that she is a lesbian, he not only comes around later, he also accepts and loves Sumi's partner, Rimjhim.
This film breaks away from the traditional Bollywood mould and focuses on a gay man and a lesbian woman. As a consequence of the subject matter many of the characters are queer (although trans persons are not seen or alluded to at all). The movie employs a mix of comedy and emotional narratives to show that families can learn to love, respect, and accept their children regardless of their sexuality. The characters have diverse body types and complexions. The issue of colorism is also addressed. A main character's partner is a woman from Arunachal Pradesh. Such positive representation of women from India's North Eastern states is extremely rare in Hindi movies. The story however centers the experience of an upper caste family so Dalit representation is absent. A Muslim character is only included in a minor role to showcase Islamophobia and the opposition of upper caste Hindus to inter-faith marriages with Muslims. A lesbian character refuses to conform to gender roles and teaches others to discard sexist notions of masculinity.
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Violence & Scariness
One mention of suicidal thoughts. Mild shoving by cops toward couples sitting in a park. A cop asks a detainee to sit on the ground in their underclothes and hold their ears as punishment. Character slaps their partner during an argument.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Many references to the word "sex" but there are no intimate scenes or nudity. During an argument, a couple discusses being "versatile" but the reference is thrown in as an inside joke for the queer community and not explained for the audience at large. References to pregnancy, fertility, and sperm count.
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The word "homo" is used. Some tame references to sex.
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Products & Purchases
Brand placements for WOW cosmetics, Crax Fritts snacks, and wedding-wear brands Mohey and Manyavar.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Passing reference to someone being a "junkie." Some characters drink alcohol in a few dinner scenes. A lead character gets drunk in their hotel room when their date stands them up.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Badhaai Do is a charming Bollywood comedy-drama that focuses on a marriage of convenience between a gay man and a lesbian woman. There are many references to sexuality and homophobia, though the movie takes care to keep most scenes and dialogues family-friendly. There are many tame inside jokes that only people from the LGBTQ+ community may understand. The movie depicts a lot of hope and positive modeling of relationships for queer people. However, the two central characters, Sumi (Bhumi Pednekar) and Shardul (Rajkummar Rao) are not perfect. While they fight the numerous challenges they face as gay people, they also function within and compromise with other oppressive systems like Islamophobia, casteism, and dowry, and the movie fails to address these issues head on. There are some very mild references to sex, along with fertility and sperm count. The homophobic slur "homo" is used. Fleeting reference to someone having suicidal thoughts. Sumi and Shardul come out to their families in two heartbreaking scenes that might trigger or distress a young audience. The film is in Hindi with English subtitles available. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This Bollywood comedy-drama is entertaining, funny, and comforting. Badhaai Do has some inconsistent pacing, but engaging sub-plots and excellent songs make up for those shortcomings. Every single actor, no matter how minor their role, aces their part. Gulshan Devaiah as Shardul's boyfriend, Guru Narayan, is especially charming and steals the show. Chum Darang brings wonderful comedic timing to her character as Sumi's girlfriend, Rimjhim Jonkey. Bhumi Pednekar and Rajkummar Rao are perfect leads, and the friendship between their characters is heartwarming to say the least. The movie is packed with details and nuances that enhance every rewatch. The makers go out of their way to give the audience the happy ending they deserve. In a country where the battles of the queer community seem endless, Badhaai Do is a rare joy.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.