It’s early Friday morning, and for what is supposed to be a working day, the suburban theatre at which I’m taking in the first day, first show of the Alia Bhatt-Varun Dhwan starrer Badrinath Ki Dulhania is oddly full.
I breezed in, expecting to be greeted by an empty auditorium where I’d have my pick of seats. Instead, I’m wedged in between a gang of kids who seem to be in their late teens. They look at me askance, and I suddenly realise I’m the oldest person in the room by far.
The kids in the theatre — I imagine their college classrooms are strikingly deserted this morning if they’ve showed up en masse for this film (as deserted as I expected the auditorium to be) — cheer on the trailers: Naam Shabana and Phillauri meet with their cheers, which makes me think these films can look forward to as much of an audience as Badrinath has clearly managed to.
Then the Dharma Productions logo comes on and we’re off.
We start with a montage of Jhansi, where our hero Badrinath (Dhawan) lives with his parents — a rather feudal father (who uses chest pains and threats of a heart attack to control the family when his orders don’t work), a quiet mother, a brother (who had to give up the girl he loved to marry the bride chosen for him by his father due to said heart attack) and sister-in-law.
Badri (his onscreen entry, as he poses for a photo to be shared for matrimonial matchmaking purposes, is greeted by loud cheers by the audience) is now of marriageable age; at a wedding, he meets Vaidehi (Alia Bhatt), a feisty lass who isn’t smitten with the hero at first sight — as he clearly is.
And so begin Badri’s attempts to woo Vaidehi.
Watch the trailer here: