There are somethings that are just meant to be together. Over a period of time, they not just become synonymous with each other but also complement each other to the fullest. Amongst the many examples for this, one such combination is the release of a Salman Khan film during the auspicious occasion of Eid. Like almost every year, this year too, Salman Khan has gifted his fans their ‘Eidi’ in the form of BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN. Will this film be worth the wait and live up to its gigantic expectations, let’s analyze.
The film 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 despite being beautiful and expressive 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 the innocent and animal loving Shahida sees a helpless lamb fallen 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 (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. Havoc strikes their family household when they discover that Munni (aka Shahida) not only eats meat, but is also a Muslim and above allâ€¦ a Pakistani! That’s when Pavan decides to brave all the odds (visa issues, passport problems etc). Despite all the odds, when Bajrangi manages to cross the Indo-Pak border, but gets caught by the Pakistan police, who label him off 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 their Pavan’s good intentions, he too joins the duo in their journey and helps them out. Does Chaand Nawab manage to ‘encash’ on the Pavan-Munni story in order to be taken seriously as a journalist, does Pavan succeed in uniting Munni with her parents, does the ever-truthful Pavan manage to prove his innocence of him not being a spy 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 for that the overall outcome of the film 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 applauses galore for having come up with such a fresh 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 revelation and the fitting climax. Looking at this film, one can easily say that they don’t call him a ‘Bhaijaan’ for nothing! Unlike his previous film’s, this film is totally devoid of his onscreen histrionics, yet, manages to embed its stamp in your hearts. Salman never gets out of his character and this is his performance-oriented film after a long time. 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 out of it and leaves a lasting impression with her endearing 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 innocence, her smile 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 all 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 in order to be believed. The other veteran actors like 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 boats 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 the required effect on the listeners. On the other hand, the film’s background music (Julius Packiam) keeps the tempo of the film going extremely well. 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 the serene breath taking view of Kashmir like never before. 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. The film is a surefire hit and has got
‘B-L-O-C-K-B-U-S-T-E-R’ written all over it. This film easily qualifies to be Salman Khan’s BEST movie till date, featuring his career’s best performance. The film wins you over completely. Do not skip.