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Jai Bajrang Bali!
Jul 22, 2015 05:34 PM 3758 Views





Dear MSians

Watched Salman’s latest offering ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ over the weekend.  Found it a refreshing change from his usual mindless, over the top movies with a larger than life screen persona.

In the current scenario where tension is rife between us and our neighbour, to the extent that even the customary sweets weren’t exchanged on the occasion of Eid-Ul-Fitr, and there continues to be tension at the border, this movie has a nice human interest story line – a sweet young, mute from birth, Pakistani girl(Shahida, beautifully essayed by debutant Harshaali Malhotra), visiting a famous Dargah in Delhi in the hope of regaining her voice and getting separated from her mother on the way back home.  She boards the next goods train that stops by and ends up at Kurukshetra, where celebrations are on by devotees of Lord Hanuman.

The protagonist, Pavan Chaturvedi(Salman Khan) is shown as a simpleton, born into a family of wrestlers, who has been a consistent under-achiever, be it academics or the sports arena, but has retained earthy values/ideals and will never cheat/lie his way through to get ahead in life.

Shahida comes across Pavan while wandering around hapless and hungry and he takes pity on her and orders a meal for her and she latches on to him as in him she sees a saviour.  Initially, he tries to shake her off through various means, but ultimately, he decides to take it on himself to get her back home to her parents.  The whole sequence where he details his background to fellow travellers in the bus, where all say aloud the various place names which the girl(named ‘Munni’ by Pavan as she can’t speak), with the proviso that if she hears the correct name, she has to raise her hand and nod her head.  Obviously, none of the names get her consent since they are all Indian locations, whereas she is from across the border!

I liked the directors attention to detail . in flashback scenes, usually, the same actor is shown young by colouring the hair/make up etc, but here, they actually took the effort to get child artistes and a youth with a startling likeness to Salman to play him as a child/youth.  Other directors should do the same; I mean, it looks gross to have an elderly  Anupam Kher / Satish Kaushik et al enacting their younger days in flashback wearing a toupee!

Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Chand Nawaz, a small time free lance journalist for a Pak newspaper, comes into the picture post the interval, but excels.  Om Puri as a local Maulvi, who sympathises with their cause is adequate.

While the movie treads a neutral path without any bias for/against either country, it does manage to capture the scheming/vile nature of the politicians who want to project Pavan as an Indian spy under any circumstances; even to the extent of beating him to an inch of his life.  But in a refreshing change, local residents are shown to be sympathetic to help him achieve his noble purpose and support him every way they can.

In a departure from his previous films, Salman’s character stays true to life and is shown actually getting beaten up/tortured by a handful of soldiers, when he is normally seen demolishing 50+ fully armed goons singlehandedly.

The scene where the jailor listens to his conscience and acts/responds to public emotions and leads him thru to the border passing, the interaction with the soldier manning the gate, the crowds breaking open the gates and making way for Pavan to cross over to safety in India…make for good viewing.

The climactic scene where Shahida is in the crowd cheering him on and finally finding her voice and him turning back and both hugging each other is touching.

I found the songs absolutely hopeless and Kareena wasted in an irrelevant role, but that didn't detract from the film.  It's rather long at 2hrs 40mins, but worth a watch.

Overall, I and my family really enjoyed the movie. Rate it a 3.5

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Bajrangi Bhaijaan