'A film like Badhaai Ho was long overdue'
...says actor Ayushmann Khurrana, whose Badhaai Ho co-starring Sanya Malhotra, Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao releases on Thursday
Late unplanned pregnancies can cause comical awkwardness in Indian families — not to mention the curiosity and raillery it sparks in the surrounding society. Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s upcoming film, Badhaai Ho, is a quirky comedy about a middle-aged couple’s sudden return to the pudding club, causing much embarrassment to their grown-up son (played by Ayushmann Khurrana).
After Vicky Donor and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, this is the third time we'll see Ayushmann awkwarding it out as an average Indian guy caught up in a hush-hush territory. The actor says, “Badhaai Ho is a family comedy dealing with real-life incidents. It's understandable for any young person to be shocked by the news of his parents expecting a little one at a much older age. But that doesn't change the fact that the love remains the same. Bollywood has made love stories and romantic comedies, but a film like Badhaai Ho was long overdue. It addresses something relevant in the most entertaining manner, and will ignite both thought and laughter.”
Sanya Malhotra plays Ayushmann’s love interest, a young urban girl who helps him make sense of his situation. The talented actor — last seen in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Pataakha and Nitish Tiwari’s Dangal — felt positive about the topic being explored in the film. “I feel I am very much like my character in Badhaai Ho. She is very non-judgemental of the fact that Nakul’s (Ayushmann) parents are planning to have a kid and I think it is their decision. If something like this happens to me in my family, I will react in the same way. Obviously, there are health risks involved if you are getting pregnant at the age of 45 or 50, but if you are fine to have a kid then, why not? It is totally up to the parents,” Sanya reasons.
Gajraj Rao, who plays Ayushmann’s father in the film — a middle-income railway ticket collector living in Delhi — feels accessibility to information has made the younger generation much more open-minded. “When I was young, some 30 years ago, people were very difficult. Today, because of the vast exposure to knowledge and the universe, youngsters are very much different. They are not as complicated or dumb as we probably were 30 years ago. Youngsters today are planning their lives independently without worrying about societal compulsions. I know many young couples who are in live-in relationships and have decided not to get married or have kids, opting instead for pets. Their parents, families, and neighbours are also mostly okay with it. So yes, things are very different now,” he says.
Defining love as an ageless emotion, Neena Gupta, who plays Ayushmann’s mom in the film, notes, “Love can exist and be expressed at any age and that's the message you take away from Badhaai Ho. Love is timeless and ageless. Youngsters need to understand that before being parents, two individuals are partners first. The concept has never been explored before though we've read about it in the papers. And that's what makes it so interesting, the fact that we aren't trivialising things while looking at how a family grapples with it in an entertaining format.”