Opened: July 17th, 2015
Star Cast: Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Harshaali Malhotra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Ali Quli Mirza, Deepthi Naval, Om Puri, Sharat Saxena & Adnan Sami
Director: Kabir Khan
Cinematography: Aseem Mishra
Censor Certificate: U/A
Runtime: 159 Minutes
For most of us, the festive season is just an excuse to entertain ourselves with a bhaari Bollywood film. Taking this as an opportunity, Salman Khan unleashes yet another entertainer this festive season – Bajrangi Bhaijaan. It feels like months since Bajrangi Bhaijaan has been perilling to take over entire Indian box-office and well, it’s finally happened.
Since partition in 1947, Indian – Pakistan have fought 3 wars, barring the Kargil battle. Post 68 years of partition, the people still continues to pay heavy price for tensities between the two desh. There are many cases of ache people from both countries, getting caught and sent to prison on simple intuition. Kabir Khan focuses on the human agonies on both sides of the border and succeeded in giving an unbiased treatment to V Vijendra Prasad’s (Father of S S Rajamouli) storyline.
From the first show Kabir Khan’s magnum-opus has been receiving unanimous positive talk from the cinegoers and critics. The film revolves around Pavan Kumar Chaturvedi (Salman Khan), a do-gooder, Pollyannaish and a param bhakth of Hanuman Ji from a small town Kuruskhetra. On the other side, little angel Shahida (Harshaali) gets lost in India, when she comes to visit Nizamuddin Dargah with her mom from Pakistan. That’s when Shahida meets Pavan in a mela and starts staying with him. In some time, he realizes Munni (aka. Shahida) is from Sulthanpur Jilla, Pakistan and goes out of his way to rescue the girl and get her back home across the border to Pakistan.
Casting director Mukesh Chhabra has put together a talented cast, which includes several known actors from Salman Khan’s earlier films. Bajrangi Bhaijaan is Salman Khan’s best performance since “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam”. He does look great and it’s his innocence that you’ll fall in love instantly. This is something special from mass messiah. Harshaali Malhotra was born for acting and her eyes speak a million words. She is simply amazing as Shahida. Bebo looks like she walked straight off the sets of Singham Returns. Seriously Kareena, we expect you to be more than just an eye candy at this stage in your career. Nawazuddin Siddiqui as a Pakistani journalist (based on a true character) makes a lasting impression. The presence of great supporting cast including Om Puri, Sharat Saxena, Adnan Sami, Deepti Naval and Ali Quli Mirza raises the bar of lead characters performance.
The story by V Vijendra Prasad is a sort of inspired from Pasivadi Pranam (1987), Ramchand Pakistani (2008) & Liar’s Dice (2014). But this simple cant- go-wrong line strikes the right chord with the common audience due to the emotional screenplay by (Kabir Khan, Vijendra Prasad, Parveex Shaikh). Script succeeds in expressing the basic idea but it has been narrated in a démodé manner, using most of the banalities synonymous with the commercial films. The first half is quite slow compared to the latter half. The emotional climax works in favor of this film. Also, the film misses the logics by large margin. (Spoiler alert…) If a Pakistani national girl was missing in India, a simple Twitter/Facebook update would have inculpate governments. In every India vs Pakistan match it’s always Afridi, who hits Ashwin for a six at the same point (over the years). If humanitarians like Pavan Chaturvedi exists in this real world, and never told a lie in his life. This is an awkward attribute to smuggle the girl across the border. Post filling an underground passage with sand, the border police leaves away Pavan and stop worrying about illegal passages like it’s an everyday routine. They even let them pass through border without visa. Similarly, Pakistan and Indian borders open up for Salman Khan for his good intentions without any proper government approval, even after huge media coverage for the gathering. With every film director Kabir Khan (Kabul Express & Newyork) has disjointed himself from the reality. With Bajrani Bhaijaan, he seems to suggest that he has lastly bid the real world arrivederci and entered the commercial Bollywood world, where a common man can travel his way around Pakistan without any currency, passport or visa. In every way movie doesn’t meet the logic but leaves an emotional impact. Script writers taken things easy not rushing to make the a small issue an national affair, while also focusing on other characters, thus presenting religion, boundaries and regionalism with good heart.
At almost 159.15 minutes, the film is a tad too long with some unneeded detailing and a couple of tracks. The script could have been crispier. Thanks to the cinematographer Aseem Mishra, the locals of Kashmir will instantly melt your hearts and the visuals are lyrical. Music by Pritham doesn’t leave any lasting impression. The songs in the film (except for the montages) form as the speed breaker to the narration. The music composer even copied a track from Sabri Brother’s without giving away the credit to the original. The background Score by Julius is the stand out feature of the second half. Visual Effects by Prime Focus is fine. The film also marks the debut of Salman Khan Films (owned by Salman himself), co-producing with Kabir Khan Films. It’s likely that they will reap a good end result.
On the whole, Bajrangi Bhaijaan succeeded in striking an emotional chord with the audience in a big way but one gets the feeling that it could have been better. Still, it’s a sweet little story with a big heart in the right place. Go for it.