'Badhaai Ho' Gave Me A Chance to Tell Two Stories in One: Amit Sharma
Amit Sharma is nominated in the Best Director category at the Reel Movie Awards 2019 for his work in the family entertainer 'Badhaai Ho'.
Image: Director Amit Sharma
Amit Sharma's Badhaai Ho takes its course from being relatably humourous to considerably emotional, but it is remarkable how it remains light hearted consistently. The story of the instantly familiar Kaushiks, a simple Delhi-based family, living contentedly in a government-allotted apartment, became an instant hit in metropolitan cities and small towns, courtesy the astute handling of middle-age pregnancy, served freshly with sharp and crackling, dialogue-driven humour.
Sharma's brainchild, Badhaai Ho is a wholesome family entertainer that has a distinct flavour and characters (a mild-mannered couple, a taunting matriarch and two embarrassed sons) to drive forward its unusual scenario. About the realistic portrayal of status quo in the film, Sharma says, "Our intention was to show the reality and we knew it would pass as humor because, people akin to the status would relate to it and reminisce similar incidents that occurred in their families while people who couldn’t relate to it would also find the humor in it, because it isn’t forced. And it doesn’t seem off because it is true."
"I have noticed that when a female friend walks in a middle class family, the head of the house (father) generally tends to talk in English trying to impress her and show that they too can match up to what apparently is presumed to be an upper class. We basically used our insight. I have experienced this. We went to do a recce in Lodhi colony Delhi in one of the DDA flats, where after the recce the owner of the house came and said 'Thank u for paying visit', and that translated into the film."
Badhaai Ho centers in on a familiar situation (pregnancy) and how difficult it is to accept it, doesn't matter how positive it may seem. Ask him how did he use it to inspire comedy (both communicative and non-verbal) and Sharma says, "When a 50 year old couple gets pregnant they will be shunned by the family and outsiders, that is the nature of things in our country. I have merely captured it. The situation is so odd that the only way to deal with it is humour."
"I feel telling this story seriously would not have translated well and could have been taken wrongly. So we decided to take this route and stuck to it. The most important part was to be able to maintain the thread of the relationship and the tone that we set in the beginning so that the audience doesn’t feel lost midway. And we could do that by constantly going back and forth and having discussions on how a particular character would react in a given situation."
About the distinct shades of romance and the marked generational difference in intimacy shown in the film through Renee (Sanya Malhotra) and Nakul (Ayushmann Khuranna) and Mr. And Mrs. Kaushik (Gajraj Rao and Neena Gupta), Sharma says, "I have always wanted to tell a love story and Badhaai Ho gave me a chance to tell two."
"The romance of the older couple will be different from today’s generation. In today’s generation nobody wants to hold hands or sit and talk, they seem more oriented towards doing things together and telling the world about it. They would rather watch Netflix, go to parties, travel the world, attend concerts all while updating their status on Instagram and Facebook, they are more about showing the world how exciting their lives are."
"While older people seem a little more sorted, they cherish moments of togetherness like strolling in the park, reading poetry, holding hands (not that they didn’t travel or party, but it was to enrich their lives rather than show it to the world)."
"Keeping all this in mind we defined the relationships, I always observed my parents and saw how they were so consumed by each other, they would always make an attempt to make the other happy and that was genuine, this brought out some beautiful memories that I still cherish to this day, and to some extent that reflects in the film. I am not implying that the current generation is not happy, they are, but they also want to prove to the world they are."
Sharma is nominated in the Best Director category at the Reel Movie Awards 2019 for his work in Badhaai Ho. About being nominated alongside Meghna Gulzar (Raazi), Sriram Raghavan (AndhaDhun), Amar Kaushik (Stree) and Rahi Anil Barve (Tumbbad), Sharma says, "I feel any attempt made to help recognize the hard work put in by a group of individuals is always appreciated, and this will give confidence to producers to pick up newer and challenging subjects, in turn churning out entertaining cinema off the mainstream ideas conceptualized by the masses."
As someone who has a penchant for storytelling, Sharma stresses on the nature of filmmaking in general when he says, "If the desire to be a filmmaker is as bad as the air you breathe, nothing can stop you”.
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