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Times of India
Gattu loves Binny, but a misunderstanding leads everyone to believe that he only has brotherly feelings for her.
The title Behen Hogi Teri itself reeks of the immaturity of a 12-year-old boy with a new batch of hormones and the first burst of testosterone.
The movie takes place in a world where grown men still operate by the rules of teenaged boys: they play gully cricket, hide from girls on Raksha Bandhan, put silly curses on each other and ask their parents for money.
Gattu (Rao) is no different. He has loved Binny (Haasan) all his life, and wins her over after a series of Roadies-like tasks. But Gattu’s father (Jariwala) spots Binny with his friend Bhura (Tangiri) and one confusion leads to another. Binny suddenly has two prospective grooms and everyone assumes that Gattu is nothing but her rakhi-brother.
The plot is juvenile to say the least. It is a little disheartening to see a movie that incorporates casual sexism and regressive norms without any plan to combat them. So when a character suggests that he’d rather bury his sister alive than marry her off for love, you want someone to speak up against him; when another character shames Binny for hanging out with boys, you want to hear a smart retort. But then you realize that this movie has no intention of laughing at this mindset. It is, in fact, only catering to those who will find these things funny.
The male characters are imbecilic; Binny admits that she “used to be a firecracker but has now fizzled out” for no apparent reason. The background score tries to tell you what emotion to feel. The second half collapses when subplots start to overlap.
The writing shows potential, to be honest. Moments like a romantic track playing over a funeral and a drunken rant about the Rahuls and Rajs of Bollywood give you hope. Had the writers taken a dig at patriarchy and given the female characters some spunk, this would have been hilarious.
But the only reason to smile at the movie is Rajkummar Rao. The movie is packed with performers of various calibers, but Rao - the only reason to even attempt this - is better than everyone and their brother.
Braving the bro-zone
A sequence in this film orchestrates a romantic number that encapsulates a blossoming one-sided love story over the course of a funeral. And while the relationship between death and desire has been detailed time and again (Wedding Crashers), this one feels unique. In a memorable scene, the film's lead is asked to implement mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on his lady love's granny (Kamlesh Gill). Just as he is about to deliver the life-saving act, the doctor arrives and the senior is declared dead. The lady in question settles down next to the deceased and breaks down. The lead, who doesn't share the same distraught, suddenly conjures remarkable remorse and his poker face assumes a sullen expression. His tears ride over his fears and in consoling the bereaved, he not only gets access to her family, he becomes a part of it. Only problem — his overenthusiastic performance of being familial earns him the despicable moniker 'bhai'. Braving this forced brotherhood and hopeful of altering his equation with his 'nickkar ke zamaane ki mohabbat' makes for the rest of the film.
Behen Hogi Teri takes us into a Lucknow where young males in the moholla are petrified of being sworn into brotherhood by the very women they pursue on the fateful day of Raksha Bandhan. One of them is Gattu (Rajkummar Rao), whose heart beats for his childhood crush and neighbour Binny Arora (Shruti Haasan). While Binny longs for a 'himmatwala', Gattu stutters while spelling his dil. A series of unforeseen events pickle Gattu's plan and he's 'bhai-zoned' by Binny's kin. Soon enough, matters take a Priyadarshan-esque turn and this comedy of errors becomes much to bear. Multiple suitors, convicted dons and a hapless lover lock horns as the proceedings fold up with a loud and laboured confession of love.
If there's one reason to catch this film, it has to be for Rajkummar Rao. The actor, who has largely restricted himself to character-driven indie films, single-handedly carries this comedy with equal sincerity. In every frame, he delivers on his character's fears, frustrations and relentless pursuit for love. Shruti Haasan's contribution to cinema could be compared to Lata Mangeshkar's to football and the actor does little to elevate this film when it goes south in the second half. Cameos by Bollywood baddies such as Gulshan Grover and Ranjeet don't contribute or take away from the mood this film hopes to evoke.
It's easy to forsake this film as regressive and the society portrayed here as dated and disconnected from reality. But then, when have screwball comedies in Hindi cinema subscribed to being politically accurate or sensitive? If they were, No Entry would be shunned for objectifying women and Thank You would be banned for making light of domestic abuse. So, leave your brains and other organs at home and take your SO for this date film before you're pronounced man and behen.