Bajrangi Bhaijaan: Film review; Eid releases and Salman Khan go together and on this auspicious occasion, like almost every year, the megastar released Bajrangi Bhaijaan. And, as with every Salman Khan movie, Bajrangi Bhaijaan box office collections expectations are gigantic.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan: Movie review; Eid releases and Salman Khan go together and on this auspicious occasion he released Bajrangi Bhaijaan. And, as with every Salman Khan movie, Bajrangi Bhaijaan box office collections expectations are gigantic. But will Salman Khan be able to do box office magic again this time with Bajrangi Bhaijaan or not, especially in the face of stiff competition from last week’s release Baahubali, is the big question.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan starts off with a Pakistani village household cheering for Pakistan while watching its nail biting crucial cricket match with India on television. Inspired by the ace Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi, a to-be mother from the household names her daughter as Shahida (Harshaali Malhotra). The girl though lively does not speak a word, which worries her parents day after day. On the advice of an elderly person in the family, Shahida’s mother decides to take Shahida to a wish-fulfilling holy dargah in Delhi, India. On their way back to Pakistan, their train halts due to a technical failure. That’s when Shahida sees a helpless lamb stuck in a pit. She gets down from the train and just when she rescues the lamb, the train starts moving, thus leaving her behind in an unknown country all alone. She quickly boards the next immediate train and reaches Delhi. It is here when she meets the extremely God fearing and a devout Hanuman bhakth Pavan Kumar Chaturvedi aka Bajrangi Bhaijaan (Salman Khan). With the intention of helping the little girl who cannot talk, Bajrangi takes her home, only to be ridiculed by his family members. The only person who stands by him is his to-be-wife Rasika (Kareena Kapoor). Pavan and Rasika try their level best to ‘decode’ the identity of the child by dropping names of almost all the Indian states, but in vain. When things finally clear, horror strikes the family household when it is discovered that Munni (aka Shahida) not only eats meat, but is also a Muslim and above all is also a… a Pakistani.
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That’s when Pavan decides to brave all the odds (visa issues, passport problems etc). Bajrangi gets to cross the Indo-Pak border, but gets caught by the Pakistan police, who label him as an Indian spy. That’s when Bajrangi encounters a freelance news reporter Chaand Nawab (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), who shoots the whole Pavan-Munni ‘adventures’ on his handycam, hoping this will be his big ticket to name and fame as a journalist. However, as he discovers Pavan’s good intentions, he too joins the duo in their journey and helps them out. Does Pavan succeed in uniting Munni with her parents, does the ever-truthful Pavan manage to prove his innocence before the Pakistani police and how does the simpleton Bajrangi gets transformed into ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ is what forms the rest of the story.
First things first. Director Kabir Khan captures the attention of the viewers right from first shot of this character driven film. The impeccable camaraderie between him and his lead star Salman Khan was seen in their last blockbuster film Ek Tha Tiger. This time round, the camaraderie has grown by leaps and bounds, which can be seen in this film. For all those who have seen Kabir Khan’s work in thriller and action films like Kabul Express, New York and Ek Tha Tiger will be in for a huge surprise when they see Bajrangi Bhaijaan. He has very sensibly handled the emotional scenes, without going overboard. While the tempo of the film is set in the first ten minutes, it is very rare that any film has ever started on such an emotional high. Amongst the many Indo-Pak films that have been made in the past, Bajrangi Bhaijaan stands out amongst all of them because this film stays away from the usual jingoism and preachiness. Kabir Khan adds magic to Salman Khan’s stardom with this film. Needless to say that, the one person who deserves to be credited is Kabir Khan, who also does a great job with the film’s dialogue, along with Kausar Munir. The film’s storywriter (V. Vijayendra Prasad) deserves applause for having come up with a story that has the right mix of patriotism, love, emotions and brotherhood.
As far as the performances are concerned, absolutely no prizes for guessing that the film belongs to the one and only ‘Bhaijaan’ Salman Khan, who makes no mistakes in delivering an outstanding performance in this film. His innocence is unmistakably charming. And it is this innocence that unfailingly captures melts and ultimately wins over the audiences’ hearts. Do not miss his recitation of Hanuman Chaalisa, his interaction and his conversation with the child actor Harshaali. The scenes that catch your attention are the first ten minutes of the film, the brothel scene, the revelation of Munni’s actual identity and the fitting climax. Looking at this film, one can easily say that they don’t call him a ‘Bhaijaan’ for nothing! Unlike Salman Khan’s previous film’s, this film is totally devoid of histrionics. Kareena Kapoor Khan, on the other hand, stands like a rock, offering her onscreen hero Salman Khan and the film, all the support. Whatever the screen space that she has, she makes the most of it and leaves a lasting impression with her performance in the film.
Now, let’s talk about the ‘find’ of Bajrangi Bhaijaan aka Harshaali Malhotra, who is a sheer delight to watch in every frame that she is in. Even though this is her first film (her modelling assignments notwithstanding), Harshaali comes across as a thorough professional in front of the camera. The moment the camera is on her, she simply lights up the screen with her mile and her superlative performance in the film. With Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Harshaali Malhotra has definitely set the bar high for child actors. Extracting the right emotions and expressions from child actors can be quite a task. That’s why Kabir Khan deserves to be applauded for extracting an exceptional performance from Harshaali Malhotra, with the equal amount of ease with which he got it from his lead actors.
Amongst them all, how can one forget the sheer greatness of the phenomenal actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who wins you over with his outstanding performance as a Pakistani news reporter! The sincerity with which he approaches his role is something that needs to be seen to be believed. Others, like veteran actors Om Puri and Sharat Saxena, do their bit for the film to make it a memorable one. On the other hand, Najeem Khan, Ali Quli Mirza, and Adnan Sami (in a special cameo) are good in supporting roles.
If it’s a Salman Khan movie, then, songs and music become very crucial. Bajrangi Bhaijaan’s music (Pritam Chakraborty) definitely works by all means, majorly because it has all the elements that are required of a typical ‘Salman Khan film’. Music gels extremely well with the film and also the flow of the film. The film already boasts of a chartbuster track in the form of ‘Selfie’. The other tracks like ‘Tu Jo Mila’ and Adnan Sami’s devotional track ‘Bhar Do Jholi’ does leave a lasting effect on listeners.
The film’s screenplay (Kabir Khan, V. Vijayendra Prasad, Parveez Shaikh, Asad Hussain) is tight and engaging. The film’s cinematography (Aseem Mishra) is top rate as it presents a breathtaking view of Kashmir. Rameshwar S. Bhagat has done a splendid job in the film’s razor sharp editing.
On the whole, Bajrangi Bhaijaan is a not-to-be-missed ‘Eid’ treat from Salman Khan and Kabir Khan.