Saturday, July 18, 2015

Movie Review of Bajrangi Bhaijaan

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Bajrangi Bhaijaan is a story of a mute girl who is accompanied by her mother to the wish fulfillment Hazrat Nizamuddin dargah in Delhi hoping for a miracle to happen that would make her able to speak. The story takes a turn when the mute girl is stranded in India alone and how she comes in contact with a villager who is an ardent devout of Bajrangbali. The film holds you in suspense whether the girl will ever be united with her parents who leaves in a not-so-friendly country called Pakistan.

Cast: Salman Khan (Pawan Kumar Chaturvedi), Kareena Kapoor Khan (Rasika), Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Chand Nawab), Harshaali Malhotra (Shahida), Sharat Saxena (Dayanand), Om Puri (Maulana), Rajesh Sharma (Police Officer)

Genre: Drama

Direction: Kabir Khan

Produced by: Salman Khan, Rockline Venkatesh

Production Company: Salman Khan Films, Kabir Khan Films

Story by: V Vijayendra Prasad

Cinematographer: Aseem Mishra

Music: Pritam Chakraborty, Komail Shayan, Julius Packiam

Film Editing by: Rameshwar S. Bhagat

Distributors : Eros International

Theatre Release: 17th July, 2015

Language: Hindi

Duration: 159 minutes

Reviewer's Thumb Mark

Bajrangi Baijaan stands apart from the rest of the recent past releases of Salman Khan. One may not find Salman Khan's six abs being flaunted and the shirt-ripping biceps, and Sallu appearing on a customized expensive sport bike from the blues in this movie. The credit goes to Kabir Khan for his craft and astuteness in keeping away the usual Salman Khan histrionics and often repeated super-hero acts from this movie. It seems it has worked in favour of the movie in drawing in people outside the hard-core Sallu fan club into the theatres. Kabir Khan once again strikes the right chord with cinema lovers after Kabul Express, New York and Ek Tha Tiger.

Bajrangi Bhaijaan is the story of a speech-impaired girl Munni (Harshaali Malhotra) from a nondescript village in Pakistan, who finds herself lost on other side of her country's border. Pawan Kumar Chaturvedi aka Bajrangi Bhaijaan turns guardian angel for this six-year old girl who clings on to him for he is the only one, whom she can trust. Pawan, a devout Hanuman bakht, relies completely on 'Bajrangbali' for whatever he thinks, speaks and acts. Bajrangi Bhaijaan's act of bowing before every monkey with folded hands everytime he come across one and addressing it as Bajrangbali is real fun. The bus ride of Pawan from his village Pratapgarh in Haryana narrating his reason to visit Delhi is quite hillarious; especially his life with his father. According to Pawan, his father a school master always wanted him to be an all-rounder. And Pawan repeatedly disappointed him in all those fields he was made to enrol by his father - Wrestling, attending Shakha (Hindu Outfit), Education etc., and when he finally qualifies in his school exam his father fails him by being contained in  a garlanded photo frame hung on the wall.

When the newspaper headlines speaks of cross-border tensions and visa rows in our day-to-day life, here in this movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan dares to cross the border to reunite a hapless mute girl with her family, brazing all odds - religious, familial and societal constraints. This film is worth mentioning because it is distinct in its portrayal by staying away from the usual jingoism and  being rhetorical against the neighboring country. And Salman Khan blends very well in his act as Bajrangi Bhaijaan, who struggles with his religious and ritualistic beliefs to stay committed to his vow to make Munni reach her country by 'Being Human'.

Kareena Kapoor as Pawan Chaturvedi's father's friend's daughter has nothing much to offer in this film but she is the source of strength to Bajrangi to go ahead with his determination to safe-guard Munni. She has a near cameo appearance in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. The film generates quite many laughable moments when the duo (Rasika & Pawan) tries to decode the identity of Munni.  For instance, there are some scenes where Pawan says that Munni could be a Brahmin because she is too fair and in another scene where he finds Munni having fried chicken at his neighbour's home, a shell-shocked Pawan tells Rasika that she might be a Kshatriya because they eat meat and also have fair skin. The film depicts the religious prejudices we hold in our daily life beautifully by walking on a tight rope of not hurting religious sentiments. It's interesting to watch Rasika's (Kareena Kapoor) and Pawan's love blossoming under the watchful eyes of Dayanandji (Sharat Saxena) Rasika's father. There is no 'fevicol' item songs and it is definitely a well thought decision to keep such distractions away at least in this movie.

When the movie is about to drag the entry of Chand Nawab (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) as a small time TV reporter brings in fresh energy by his amazing performances in the second half. Chand Nawab is funny at the same time a trusted companion who is impressed by the selfless act of Pawan whom he christens as 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan'. The duo's dialogues are thought provoking, like in one of the scene Chand Nawab asks Pawan that who will help him in a foreign land like Pakistan? As expected from an ardent devout like Pawan, he tells Chand Nawab  that his Bajrangbali will help him (Bajrangi hummari madad karenga). Chand Nawab unable to resist from laughing asks Pawan - "Yahan Pakistan mai bhi" (Even in Pakistan?). Chand Nawab who was never taken seriously by his employers catches both the countries' attention by his video clip that goes viral. Chand Nawab and Bajrangi Bhaijaan in the safe hands of an ace director like Kabir Khan manages to make the viewers overlook huge loop holes in the plot. In the second half, logic takes a back seat but I think the viewers may not mind it because they know it's Bhai's film.

The real star of the movie is Harshaali Malhotra who plays the role of Munni aka Shahida from Pakistan. Harshalli's innocence and her angelic expressions catch the viewers attention. She is the soul of the movie and the real showstopper.
There are some characters who are worth mentioning and they are - Meher Vij who plays the role of the mother of Munni. She moves you by her act. Her grief of losing her daughter and she being so inconsolable makes you struggle to hide your tears that appears at the corner of your eyes; Om Puri as the Maulana, exudes positivity by being open to appreciate the culture and pleasantries of his neighboring country.

'Bhar Do Jholi Meri" qawalli by Adnan Sami is good.

The most significant twist is the climax of the movie and I would suggest you to savor it in a nearby theatre because I have no intentions to spill the beans. A word of caution - "Please keep your thinking hats home to enjoy the message conveyed through Bajrangi Bhaijaan".

In short, Bajrangi Bhaijaan is definitely an entertainer with a strong socially relevant message for the brethren - Indians and the Pakistanis. Watch this movie because this year Sallu's Eidi is too tempting. It dares to bridge the gap between religions, food preferences, castes and nationalities. How I wish and pray that let it be so in reel and real life too.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 3.5/5