“Shaanti dhundhe aaye hoon maine Delhi mein!” Randeep Singh aka Rano (Divyenndu Sharma), in Badnaam Gali, is talking about finding peace of mind, on his way to his paternal aunt’s home. The writers have sensibly intuited the quintessential ‘pind’ slangs for an eternally raging young man who specialises in inviting trouble. Rano enters Badnaam Lane and finds himself party to an all-society intervention on Noyonika Ganguly (Patralekhaa). The Nanu ki Jaanu actress slips into the role of a single, pregnant woman as comfortably as her old polka dot t-shirt and denim dungaree look. The mystery around her expensive lifestyle and the father of her unborn child intrigue us further – Mamma Mia!
This is not your regular run-of-the-mill film. Patralekhaa‘s Noyonika aka Nayan’s slapstick defence and Rano’s escalation to a Hi-Man that the former once calls him, elevate this ZEE5 original movie into a solid story with interesting gags. The female protagonist is not your damsel-in-distress damned by the lemons of life. She is a sweet and sarcastic woman who is ready to beat a man black and blue and save the same aunty who weaves conspiracy theories about her.
Divyenndu’s Randeep Singh channels more Punjabi-ness than Liquid of Pyaar ka Punchnama. His love story with Nayan is a coalition government born out of extremely supporting terms further aggregating into mutual feelings. Of course, not without a tinge of comedy and nonsense! There is a nice scene when Nayan teases Rano in a garage where he works. “Ye paap ki kamai ki nahi hai, iske Baap ki kamai ki hai.” Never once she mentions that she is a surrogate mother but continues to take all the taunts and rumours in her stride with humour.
Then there is Dolly Ahluwalia as Rano’s Bhua Ji. An appealingly warm Punjabi figure, she is a mixed bag of emotions. Albeit we missed the zesty one-liners she’d have used, she clamps onto a modern millennial phenomenon – using hashtag handsome for her nephew and exchanges pictures and boomerangs with her friends. The scenario very vividly but subtly refers to the new-fangled craze of sharing every event and not on photo and video sharing app.
A distinct breakout performance is Paritosh Sand as Randeep’s father. A macho man with a huge ego – he adds hilarity with his talks of property and faking a heart attack.
What sealed the deal was the very opening shot – Randeep asks his aunty to shut her baby up who is howling and crying. He is being held up by his family for beating a guy up for somebody else, and walks out telling his father, “Jutte ke colour se match karke gaddiyaan badalni hai maine.” The entire traditional rush to make the guy and the girl fall in love has been empowered and re-discovered for this maternal drama. The writers have brilliantly put together this story set in 2015 – questioning a girl’s character over the number of guys who visit her house is made to look so 90s. Female representation and the male backing goes to say the zenith of progress filmmaking has made, much of which coming from the web space.
Is Badnaam Gali funny? Extremely. Is it memorable? Very much. The film is a likable, well-made one-off TV holiday special to be watched with your family!
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