Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015): Kabir Khan's heart-warming film that cuts across the religious and political divides that separate India and Pakistan

A Salman Khan film that’s much more than being just another mindless entertainer

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews


Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015) - By Kabir Khan
Our Rating: 6.5
IMDb Ratings: 7.2
Genre: Drama
Cast: Salman Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kareena Kapoor Khan
Country: India
Language: Hindi
Runtime: 163 min
Color: Color

Summary: A young mute girl from Pakistan loses herself in India with no way to head back. A devoted man with a magnanimous spirit undertakes the task to get her back to her motherland and unite her with her family.

Bajrangi Bhaijaan is the latest offering from filmmaker Kabir Khan whose previous projects include films like Kabul Express (2006) and NewYork (2009). Bajrangi Bhaijaan is Kabir’s second collaboration with actor Salman Khan following the 2012 blockbuster film Ek Tha Tiger. Bajrangi Bhaijaan also stars Kareena Kapoor and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in pivotal roles. The movie revolves around a six-year-old mute Pakistani girl 'Munni' who accidentally gets lost in India and a God-fearing simpleton named Pavan, aka Bajrangi, who takes it upon himself to unite the girl with her parents back in Pakistan.

Salman Khan as Bajrangi and Harshaali Malhotra as Munni, in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Directed by Kabir Khan
Salman Khan as Bajrangi and Harshaali Malhotra as Munni
For the uninitiated, British India was partitioned into two separate states, India and Pakistan, back in 1947 as per the Mountbatten Plan. Till date the relationship between the two countries, despite numerous diplomatic attempts, continues to remain hostile. Bajrangi Bhaijaan, with its themes of love and brotherhood, can be seen as an attempt on the part of the Indian film fraternity to bring the two estranged countries together. Perhaps, the greatest divide between the two nations is religion. Bajrangi Bhaijaan’s depiction of a devout Hindu, a disciple of Lord Hanuman, who jeopardizes his own life to rescue a Muslim girl hailing from Pakistan, is certainly targeted towards bridging this great religious divide between India and Pakistan.

Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan, riding on a bicycle, in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Directed by Kabir Khan
Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor in Bajrangi Bhaijaan
With the Pakistani Censor Board having already cleared the film for the release, we can expect Bajrangi Bhaijaan to spread its message of peace and love across the border as well. Whether the movie actually succeeds in bringing the two countries closer remains to be seen. But, for now, we all ought to admire the film as a great reminder that no barrier is strong enough to hold the people's will for too long; sooner or later, it must go down like the Berlin Wall. In Bajrangi Bhaijaan, we get to see a very different Salman Khan—a marked departure from films like Dabangg (2010) and Kick (2014) in that there is more realism and less histrionics. One of the major side-effects of stardom is that it can make a person lazy and predicable. Of course, it makes little sense to try out new things when one can still make the mark with minimal efforts. The problem is that laziness and predictability can cost dearly in a longer run. It appears that Salman Khan finally took cognizance of the growing need to get rid of the predictable elements in his act. And, it seems to have paid off really well.    

Salman Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, on a bus top, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Directed by Kabir Khan
Salman Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Bajrangi Bhaijaan
If Salman Khan’s character ‘Bajrangi’ is the story’s hero then the journalist character ‘Chand Nawab,’ brilliantly essayed by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, has to be our deus ex machina—an event or character introduced into a story to resolve seemingly unsolvable problems. Siddiqui’s character enters the story in the second half and repeatedly bails Bajrangi and his little travel companion out of impossible situations. It can be seen as an interesting parallel to the Hindu mythological tale of Lord Rama wherein Rama succeeds in rescuing his abducted wife Sita from the clutches of the demon king Ravana with the timely assistance of his ardent devotee Hanuman—the ultimate deus ex machina. In the movie, Bajrangi is the devotee of Hanuman and the timely help comes from Chand Nawab.

Bajrangi gets chased by Pakistani policemen, in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Directed by Kabir Khan
A Still from Kabir Khan's Bajrangi Bhaijaan
Overall, Bajrangi Bhaijaan comes across as a perfect summer blockbuster and has all the ingredients to entertain the audiences of all age groups. The movie carefully avoids touching upon the core issues which still remain a bone of contention between India and Pakistan. Bajrangi Bhaijaan, like most commercial offerings from Bollywood, relies heavily on time-tested gimmicks which makes it somewhat predictable. Salman Khan over the last half a decade has given us films that have rarely been devoid of style and hard hitting entertainment. But most of those films lacked in terms of storytelling. Bajrangi Bhaijaan is certainly an exception; it is a rare Salman Khan film that relies heavily on its plot. Yes, it will still require you to suspend your disbelief. No, it is not a kind of film that will make a film connoisseur feel proud of Hindi cinema. But, loaded with emotions and stashed with a few delightful moments of Bollywood-esque magic realism, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, despite its flaws and weaknesses, does come across as a film that millions of Salman fans truly deserve and desire. Here is a Salman Khan film that’s much more than being just another mindless entertainer. A must watch for Salman admirers and movie-buffs in general!

Readers, please feel free to share your views/opinions in the comment box below. As always your feedback is highly appreciated!  

References:

1). IMDb

2). Wikipedia

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18 comments:

  1. Very nicely written and expressed... I luved ur review.

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  2. Thanks Bindu... glad you liked it! :-)

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  3. Have never been a Salman Khan fan but after reading your review might just go and see it. Thank you!

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  4. Eid Mubarak to you and yours!!

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  5. Thanks for the review. I was just seeing on the news that how the movie is being appreciated by viewers. I am definitely watching it.
    Kishor Kr
    www.zigverve.com

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  6. I look forward to your thoughts on the film! :-)

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  7. Do share your thoughts on the movie! :-)

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  8. Thanks for writing about it so promptly. I hope I have the time to watch it.

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  9. He has proved his critics wrong.. Reminds me of his acting in tere naam.. Well done bhai.. Tremendous acting... U kept It very simple n sober n with Bajrang Bali's grace it will break all records Inshallah..
    Nawaaz as usual flawless once again...

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  10. I hope you do find out the time for this! :-)

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  11. Well said... he did prove his critics wrong, just like he did in Tere Naam!

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  12. Reminds me of Sanjay Dutts departure from violence to romance in Saajan! Good review.

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  13. You have made quite an apt comparison... I am glad you liked the review! :-)

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  14. Well, first of all let me thank you for sharing yours candid thoughts in such great detail! To answer your first question, I took about a three-hour break before actually starting with the review. I too was deeply touched by the movie and so the bias was obviously there but having said that I could see the movie's weaknesses and strengths with great clarity.


    I am with absolute agreement with the other things that your have mentioned about Bajrangi Bhajaan. Like yourself, I too am neither a fan of Salman nor Kabir. But, that doesn't mean that I will not appreciate it if they deliver something good. So, you see, at the end of the day what matters is the end product and not those who produce it.


    P.S. No, it's not the longest comment by far! :-)

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  15. I watched Bajrangi Bhaijaan, I am very like the quit girl Harshaali in this movie she have no any dialogues but her innocent acting is feel to my heart.. very nice movie..

    #justmoviez @Just Moviez

    Thanks
    www.justmoviez.com

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  16. Nawazuddin was at his best in such a short role

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