‘Badhaai Ho’ – Mom, Dad, That’s Just Gross!
A tricky theme in the garb of wit and humor, the film Badhaai Ho tackles the apprehensions regarding sex and pregnancy in the most Indian and relatable way ever. There is no false trope of empowerment, no long feminist narrations, or any kind of overzealous attempts at tackling the topic of sex and pregnancy in old age. Its simplicity is what makes it so appealing. While you end the movie with laughter and delight, the aftertaste of its social message still lingers around tacitly and in my opinion, that is a job well done.
What Does This Movie Really Tell Us?
With difficult elements in the plot, this movie just seems to glide over all of them with so much grace and ease. This family drama focuses on a quirky middle-class household that is shocked at a revelation that dawns upon them one day. While the positivism in the storytelling is blaring, it still does not steer too far from reality. An elderly couple is faced with being pregnant! The woman’s age is never specified but one can assume her to be at least 50 owing to the fact that her son is grown enough to soon start a family of his own.
With respect to their social class status, the Kaushik family is really in no position to be open-minded and strut around in society like their pregnancy is nobody’s business. The movie Badhai Ho revolves around how the family deals with this shock in relation to their neighbors and acquaintances but also how it allows them to evolve and gain a finer perspective. With awkward and messy interactions, the Kaushik family navigates a sudden and unexpected pregnancy as they pave the way for a new member of their family. This cheeky comedy does a brilliant job in telling us how unfair we can be when talking about the world of sex.
What Really Is The Problem?
It’s primarily Indian hypocrisy around sex. We know sex ubiquitous, we also know it’s rampant no matter how much we like to turn a blind eye to it. Interestingly, as Indians, we still choose to limit it in all ways and forms. You can’t be too young, out of wedlock, too obvious about having sex, or in this case, too old. This movie tackles ageism when it comes to being acceptable of the idea of sex.
When one of the characters badmouths the Kaushik family on how it is unacceptable that she is considering raising a child at this age, the problem immediately comes to the forefront. That same character even goes on to say, ‘Such things don’t happen in families like ours.’ While the practicality of what she said is extremely relatable, it does make you question more as a spectator. The conversation isn’t about what is and isn’t the right age to raise a child. It is actually about how clumsily the elder couple has made it obvious that their sex life and their hormones are still in their prime and running!
From Questioning To Standing Up
While it is surprising for a woman that age to find herself pregnant, there really is no need for it to be looked down upon. Except, that is what this movie is all about. You’d hope people would hear news like this, raise an eyebrow, chuckle perhaps but then go on to say ‘Good for you!’. However, all they really end up doing is throwing a judgemental look and then internally questioning how and why a couple that age is even having sex at all.
While Badhaai Ho does not make the reality of such an incident seem too brutal, it is enough for you to know that we still have a long way to go when it comes to being understanding and objective about the idea of sex. Even their son takes a long time to come to terms with the fact that yes, his parents can actually have sexual feelings for each other. From saying, ‘Ye bhi koi mummy papa ke karne ki cheez hai’ to later standing up for them, their son’s growth resembles the mindset that we need to change. While your mother being pregnant cannot come easy to you when you’re in your 20s, the least one can do is try not to bash your parents for doing the thing that comes most naturally to them.
Baby showers and celebrations are not just for settled women in their 20s. They’re for anyone who is old and capable enough to raise and want to bring a child into this world. Badhai Ho tells us that our stigma around sex doesn’t just end at cringing at kissing scenes in movies or the idea of virginity before the marriage. Even when you are married, happy and already have children on your own, society can still berate you for having sex. So what even are these rules that we keep making and undoing? While a cheerful movie does a great job at trying to tell you that, the rest of the responsibility now lies on you. Good sex and a healthy pregnancy definitely deserve a Badhaai ho!
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