A film on surrogate motherhood for Mother’s Day. Sounds just like what the doctor ordered. And “Badnaam Gali”, now streaming on ZEE5, does mean well. It displays an exacerbated empathy for the unwed mother, played with endearing artlessness by Patralekhaa, who is a target of vicious gossiping in her Delhi locality.
She is of course not what she seems. Never! And it takes a rough rural Punjabi bloke to set her reputation right and earn himself the honour of being the first social reformist of the live streaming platform, a la Guru Dutt (“Pyaasa”) and Sunil Dutt (“Sujata” and “Sadhana”).
Redeeming the ‘Fallen Woman’ has always been a looming concern in the patriarchal setup of Indian cinema. Making films about women who have restored their dignity through the good offices of a ‘progressive’ male, makes the patriarchal entertainment industry feel good about itself.