Rating                           ★★★

Directed by                 Kabir Khan

Produced by               Salman Khan , Rockline Venkatesh

Written by                  Kabir Khan, Kausar Munir

Screenplay by            Kabir Khan, V. Vijayendra Prasad, Parveez Shaikh, Asad Hussain

Starring                      Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor , Nawajuddin Siddique, Harshaali Malhotra

Music by                     Pritam Chakraborty , Komail Shayan

Cinematography       Aseem Mishra

Edited by                   Rameshwar S. Bhagat

Production Company   Salman Khan Films, Kabir Khan Films

Distributed by               Eros International

Release date                   17 July 2015

Running time                154 minutes

A star, in every possible sense, is born; in a superstar’s film. She plays a cute but mute young girl accidently separated from her family. Her presence on screen alone gives a lot of hope to the film. She hardly makes a sound in this quite ‘loud’ film but still, you will never skip any of the emotions she throws at you through her rewarding smile, wide-eyed heartrending look and an inspiring performance. 7-year old Harshaali Malhotra is a lot more than just a name in the credit rolls. In fact, she is a blessing to Kabir Khan’s BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN- a film that’s targeted to encash one superstar’s glory, fame and fan-base, and surprisingly has a story too. Go ahead, pinch yourself to believe it.

A young mute girl from Pakistan [Harshaali] is left alone across the border in Indian Territory. Good that she meets a Hanuman-loyal Bajrangi [Salman Khan] who, after several failed legal attempts, decides to take her back to Pakistan at his own. Rest is how the good-hearted people from the neighborhood confirm the existence of humanity and compassion within them. Well, Kabir Khan succeeds in offering us a story that has its heart at the right place. But the fact that a Salman Khan film has a story or vice versa a moving story has Salman Khan in it; is enough to make you ready to expect the unexpected. The first part carries the boring & hurriedly-done love-track of Bajrangi with an ever-ready to ‘hit the dance floor’ Rasika [Kareena Kapoor Khan]. The subplot could hint you to the glimpses of the superstar’s previous hits like BODYGUARD & KICK (He’s given 6 months of ultimatum to build a house of his own to marry her).

The second half marks the entry of Nawazuddin Siddiqui- another talent that never disappoints especially when one is desperately looking for something with gravity. Nawaaz plays a small-time Pakistani reporter on the likes of YouTube sensation Chand Nawab. He is even made to recreate that hilarious ‘reporting live at the railway foot-over bridge’ scene too. Search for it on YouTube, if you haven’t yet. Leave a couple of scenes aside, and Nawaaz manages to steal the show from a superstar who’s believed to rule the frame at any given second. His sincerity is so intact that in one scene, his sign-off line to camera goes like, “Cameraman Chaand Nawaab ke saath, Chaand Nawaab” (He’s shooting the video himself)!

In one of the most poignant scenes, Om Puri playing a Pakistani Maulana smells Bajrangi’s inhibitions to do a ‘salaam’ gesture and immediately does ‘Jai Shree Ram’ to make him at ease. BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN gifts us several such scenes where we are told to get over with the zero tolerance attitude towards different religions, without being any preachy. Similarly, the Kashmir issue gets a delightful mention as, “thoda humara bhi toh hai” when describing the Pak owned part of the same name. On the principle cast, Kareena repeats herself and in all the bad senses.

Finally, BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN is not your typical ‘bhai’ film. It is impossible to take out Salman from the Salman Khan; and in a way, we all have learnt to live with it but given the ‘story’ approach, absolutely engaging talents like Harshaali and Nawaaz, I think it is not a bad film at all. Did I actually write it?? Can’t believe myself! Watch out yourself and decide. Till then, I will look out for a valid justification for my verdict. [3/5]

Written By Gaurav Rai



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