Producer: Salman Khan Films, Rockline Venkatesh
Director: Kabir Khan
Cast: Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor-Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui,Harshaali Malhotra, Om Puri and Adnan Sami (Guest appearance)
Rating: Four Stars
It’s Salman Khan! The man with the midas touch, who can rarely go wrong at the box office and knows the pulse of the nation by heart, is back with a bang with Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Director Kabir Khan who is known to make films that are technically very strong explores the relationship between an upright man, devotee of Lord Hanuman and a six-year old Pakistani girl, who loses her way in India. He develops a bond with the child and after all means fail, he doggedly decides to take her back home. Kabir Khan deserves applause for sending a strong message of peace, love and humanity between India and Pakistan who often find themselves at the bickering end. People from both countries share the same food and culture as well as their love for movies, music is no secret. It’s a statement of unity.
Salman Khan as Pavan Kumar Chaturvedi aka Bajrangi carries Bhajrangi Bhaijaan on his shoulder the moment the camera starts rolling and shares an amazing bond with the child actor, Shahida (Harshaali Malhotra) that remains one of the movie’s forte. Kabir Khan has presented Salman Khan in a very intelligent manner and one can say that the actor re-invented himself in his new ‘mellowed’ character that reminds us of Sooraj Bharjatya’s Prem. A far cry from the flamboyant characters he played in Dabbang, Ek Tha Tiger and Wanted. It’s a sheer delight to watch a restrained Salman who delivers an outstanding performance and wins hearts despite downplaying himself. There is more to Salman Khan as an actor.
The chemistry Salman Khan shares with Munni aka Shahida is fantastic and a delightful act, pictured frame by frame that makes the scenes one of the high moments. Ace director Kabir Khan has injected the right emotional dose in capturing the moments between Salman and Harshaali, who is so natural and at ease in front of the camera. The child artist is endearing, natural and effortless. Kareena Kapoor Khan provides able support to Salman-Harshaali, shows that she is a star to reckon on. Nawaazuddin Siddiqui (Chand Nawaab) as the Pakistani reporter provokes peals of laughter and is at his natural best in this cinematic journey. He adds zing to the movie. Om Puri in a cameo is fantastic and his moments stay with us, reminding us that a charismatic actor doesn’t need much screen presence to make an impact.
The first 10 minutes during the cricket match set in Pakistan sets the tone and Kabir Khan taps the emotion of cricket and love with aplomb. The scene where Salman Khan rescues Munni from the brothel and bashes the villains, remains has a powerful impact or the scene where he picks bangles at the market to give to the child only to realize that she is already gone is brilliantly captured. Or! When the child goes back to her mother towards the end as Nawazzudin runs and films the emotional moment is sheer delight. Bajrani Bhaijaan ends in an high emotional moment, uniting two countries, in much the same fashion that it started.
However, the film’s pace slows down a bit after the interval when Bajrangi and Munni reaches Pakistan, to search for the former’s house but gathers steam with the remarkable entry of Nawazuddin and the scenes at the police station-cum-chase lifts the film. The Qawali at the Darga featuring Adnan Sami is not only endearing but powerful rendering.
On the whole, Bajrangi Bhaijaan couldn’t be come at a better time, an Eid release for Salman Khan’s fans. Arguably, the movie is one of the most entertaining flicks this year. Director Kabir Khan offers a visual treat in terms of screenplay and technical aspect of the film while at the same time treating the subject in a sensitive manner. He sends a strong message of peace for both nations where the camera zooms on the child’s innocence as an unifying factor. The music of the movie, Ek Selfie lele re and Bhar Do Jholi adds to the cinematic experience. It’s the right combination of mass appeal, sensitivity and technically strong movie. It’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan, a film with mass appeal and has all the box office ingredients as showcased by its huge success. It will be counted among Salman Khan’s best.