Movie Review: Bajrangi Bhaijaan

Bajrangi Bhaijaan: It is all about “Being Human”

Bajrangi_BhaijaanSalman Khan movies have been quintessential masala movies with punch lines, some item no.’s and lots of chaos in the name of story & screenplay where Salman is the sole selling point of the movie. And we often blame Salman for being repetitive.

But with “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” he breaks his usual mould and he does it with élan. BB is far removed from Salman’s last few movies. It has got a story, it is subtle and Salman takes a break from his buffoonery and attempts to act in a much more defined role and plot.

The story by Vijyendra Prasad is of Munni aka Shaheeda (Harshaali Malhotra) a dumb girl from Pakistan who gets separated from her mother in India when she comes to Delhi to visit Hazrat Nizamuddin. Then she meets Pawan Kumar Chaturvedi (Salman Khan) who is lovingly called “Bajrangi” as he is a Hanuman Bhakt and a staunch shakahari Hindu. How Bajrangi finds out Munni’s actual origin and then how he takes Munni back to Pakistan to re-unite her with her parents forms the crux of the story.

The Screenplay by Vijyendra Prasad, Kabir Khan, Parvez Shaikh & Azad Hussain explores the human emotions very well. All the characters are well etched especially Pawan’s character who is unlike any of Salman’s previous characters. The bond of Bajrangi & Munni is portrayed beautifully making it more endearing to watch. It has a message of India Pakistan bonding and how the political boundaries have played havoc in the lives of both Indians and Pakistanis, but the message is put across very subtlety. It is portrayed   through the growing love and bond of Bajrangi & Munni. The main issue of the script is its pace. The first half is fully spent in setting up the story with some inane songs which could have been avoided; it is in the second half that the screenplay moves forward with various adventures of Bajrangi & Munni in Pakistan. The highlights of the screenplay are the various situations that Munni and Bajrangi go through to reach Munni’s house, there are few sequences which seems too convenient to be true but overall the impact is what matters. Though the climax looks a bit farfetched and a few glitches here and there, but overall the screenplay connects and does complete justice to the Story.

Dialogues by Kausar Munir is heart wrenching at times and comic at times, in a nutshell the dialogues compliment the screenplay and does not sound out of place.

Salman Khan breaks his earlier avatar with his character of Pawan, who is subtle, sensitive yet aggressive when required and Salman does complete justice to this character. He shows that he can portray sensitive characters with élan, and the innocence that he brings to the character makes Pawan endearing. Definitely it is Salman’s better performance in recent time and kudos to him for trying to be different. Kareena as Rasika does not have much to do; with limited screen time whatever she did, she did it earnestly. Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the Pakistani reporter Chand Nawab gives a crackling performance and his chemistry with Salman and child artist Harshaali Malhotra is a treat to watch. Nawazuddin undoubtedly is a brilliant actor which he proves with every performance. But the biggest highlight of the movie is the child artist Harshaali Malhotra who plays Munni aka Shaheeda. Since she plays a dumb girl and has no dialogues, she portrays all her emotions through her eyes, and she does it brilliantly and you will fall in love with Munni from the word go. The rest of the cast Om Puri (In a special appearance), Sharat Saxena, Alka Kaushal all do a very good job.

Aseem Mishra’s cinematography is riveting whether it is the busy bylanes of Delhi, or the hills of Jammu & Kashmir (shown as Pakistan in the movie) or the beautiful sand dunes of Rajasthan (again shown as Pakistan). Production design by Rajnish Hedao again blends with the narration, whether re-creating Pakistan in Mandawa in Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir or re-creating the bylanes of Delhi in ND Studio, Karjat.

Pritam returns after a long hiatus and creates an impact with the peppy “Le lele”, the quintessential Salman song, and the pre climax qawalli “Bhar do jholi Meri” sung and enacted by AdnanSami, both being the top two compositions. Other tracks though are melodious but somehow fail to make an impact. The “Chicken Song” is one of the most average compositions of the album and sounds and looks out of place.

Kabir Khan has always picked up political themes be it Kabul Express, New York or even the mainstream Ek Tha Tiger. For BB though he chooses a similar subject but emphasizes more on the human emotions and its bonding. And Kabir’s biggest achievement has been extracting a sensitive performance from Salman Khan and showing him in a new avatar. Another achievement has been extracting a heart wrenching performance from the child artist Harshaali Malhotra. The biggest achievement of Kabir is showing to  the world at large that a Salman Khan movie can also be meaningful with equal dose of entertainment and in mainstream format.

Kudos to Salman who chose such a subject for his first home production and did not take tried and tested formula movie for his production.

Really don’t know whether this movie will do the 100 crore or 300 crores but what is important is that this movie will go in the history of Bollywood as Salman’s brave attempt to do something different. I will go with 3 and a half star…..

Movie Rating: 3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

If you have not seen the trailer yet, click the link below:

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