Exclusive: ‘Badhaai Do’ Co-Writer Suman Adhikary Opens Up About Writing A Successful Film On Queer Love

Exclusive: ‘Badhaai Do’ Co-Writer Suman Adhikary Opens Up About Writing A Successful Film On Queer Love

Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar’s Badhaai Do released just a few days ago and it has made headlines for all the right reasons. I cannot even begin to explain the emotions I felt while watching the movie. I remember feeling all mushy and gooey looking at queer romance and I must say, the makers did a great job! Directed by Harshvardhan Kulkarni and produced by Junglee Pictures, Badhaai Do has been written by Suman Adhikary; Akshat Ghildial; Harshavardhan Kulkarni. Just a few days ago I sat down for a chat with the queer script consultant of the movie, Manish Gaekwad. So, I took the opportunity to get a better understanding of the writing process by having an exclusive candid chat with the co-writer of Badhaai Do, Suman Adhikary. So, let’s dive into this insightful chat!


Suman Adhikary: We are extremely happy that the LGBTQ community has loved it and many of them are showing the film to their families to make them understand that it’s normal to be a gay or a lesbian. Also, we are getting terrific responses from the masses too. I think we have been successful in our attempt to make people think and start a conversation towards acceptance and inclusiveness for all without being preachy or boring.

Q. How did you do your research for Badhaai Do? And what was the biggest insight that shaped up your script?

Suman Adhikary: When the idea occurred to us in one of the many jamming sessions Akshat and I used to have, we started reading stories about people and watched a lot of videos of gays and lesbians who talked about the mental pain of being in the closet and how they came out their families and the reactions their families had. So that helped a lot in writing, diving deep into their world and getting invaluable insights. The biggest insight that we got from our consultant Manish Gaekwad is that even after you come out to your families, they don’t actually come out of the closet, only the closet becomes bigger to include their families. That’s what happens to most gays and lesbians. We thought that’s a brilliant insight and the film ends with that insight.

Q. Did you have any preconceived notions or stereotypes or myths about homosexuals that were broken while working on this film?

Suman Adhikary: Having worked in advertising for more than a decade, I have had quite a few gay and lesbian colleagues and friends. But most of them were very vocal about their sexuality and were out of the closet and really good at their work. So, I had no preconceived notions or myths as such. But I was still an outsider to their world. While working on the film, I got to know so many insights which I didn’t know before.

Q. Do you identify as hetero? Because I’d like to ask, considering how sharp film criticism is today, were you anxious about being a heterosexual man writing a queer love story?

Suman Adhikary: I firmly believe in humanity and it comes before my sexuality. So in terms of purely sexual preference, I might be a heterosexual man, but Akshat, Harsh and I have enough empathy to feel the pain, frustration and aspirations of other people, which I feel is the most important prerequisite to creating characters. You have to feel what your character is feeling. So once we decided to tell the story, we did enough research to make sure we tell the story with utmost honesty and truth. So the thought of our own sexuality never crossed our minds, we just started thinking more and more about our characters.

Q. You worked closely on the script with consultant Manish Gaekwad. Can you talk us through the process and what changes you noticed in the script compared to the first draft?

Suman Adhikary: While writing, we regularly used to interact with Manish and get his feedback on what we had written and what we are thinking. As I had mentioned the most important insight came from Manish. In one of the discussions when he said that when you come out to your family and friends, they come into your closet and the closet becomes bigger. So yes, Manish’s feedback and insights were invaluable.

Also Read: Exclusive: ‘Badhaai Do’ Script Consultant Manish Gaekwad Opens Up About Authentic Portrayal Of Queer Love On Screen

Q. Are there any myths and stereotypes that you’re busting with your story?

Suman Adhikary: There is a myth that gays and lesbians don’t care about family values and are rebellious. But that is completely wrong, like all of us, they value family and want a family of their own. Like all of us, they respect elders, they respect traditions, they respect society. At no point do our characters rebel against their families. Even in the end, they want their families to be part of their small world.

Q. How did you make sure that the characters created by you were not Bollywoodised and kept authentic?

Suman Adhikary: Through research and constantly choosing what is true instead of what the crowd will accept.

Also Read: Hautetalk: KRK Has “Opinions” On ‘Gehraiyaan’, ‘Badhaai Do’. Why TF Is This Man Still Relevant?!

Q. Were your writing styles inspired by any queer love stories on or off-screen?

Suman Adhikary: I don’t think so, from the very onset we were clear that we want to tell the story with insightful real humour and make people identify with the characters. Make them as normal and as ordinary as possible. People should feel that Shardul and Sumi are characters from their own world. Once people identify with the characters, they will automatically identify with their pain and frustrations and aspirations. That’s an approach I feel was unique and going by reviews, I feel people are liking that approach.

Q. What do you hope the audience takes away from Badhaai Do?

Suman Adhikary: After watching Badhaai Do I feel people will understand that being gay or lesbian is not abnormal. Our characters are just any person, they have a job, they are someone’s son and daughter, they are someone’s siblings, they want to own a house, they want to have their own family, like all of us they are just ordinary, normal people with just one dissimilarity, their sexual preference. So why discriminate against them on that basis. One’s sexual preference is just a small part of one’s individuality, it’s not what he or she is. So it’s wrong to tag people on the basis of their sexual preference.

‘Badhaai Do’ Review: Rajkummar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar Film Shines In Its Second Half, Wins With Its Portrayal Of Queer Love And Its Struggles

From Miss Earth India To ‘Pataal Lok’ Here’s ‘Badhaai Do’ Star Chum Darang’s Journey So Far


Janvi Manchanda

​​She uses her pen to slice through patriarchy. She could be Geet one day, Wednesday Addams next. Writing is the bane of her existence and the object of all her desires!

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