Friday, 17 July 2015

Bajrangi Bhaijaan :: Movie Review

                                           Image result for 4 stars out of 5
Bajrangi Bhaijaan helmed by Kabir Khan takes you on a journey to Pakistan, without Visa albeit with plethora of emotions, exhilarating drama, high octane action, transcendent performances, mesmeric visuals, adroit craftsmanship making it a top notch motion picture. The last flick in which Salman Khan was directed by Kabir Khan namely "Ek Tha Tiger" turned out to be a blockbuster. So, when both these names decided to team up together for Bajrangi Bhaijaan, expectations were bound to be high. Generally, when you go to watch a movie with high expectations in mind there are chances of you getting disappointed but on the contrary Bajrangi Bhaijaan supersedes those apprehensions and engulfs you unto the movie right from its first frame. Is Bajrangi Bhaijaan at par/better than previous Salman starrers? The answer is affirmative for the sole reason that this movie has its heart and soul at the right place. So numbed we are by the the onslaught of mindless southern remakes heavy with punchlines and raucous slapstick that an action film where the leading man (Salman Khan) doesn't loose his shirt automatically feels special. In this new film, Salman Khan is seen in a new emotional avatar who on his own travels to Pakistan to reunite a mute girl with her parents. Clearly this is a departure.  As a standalone film, Bajrangi Bhaijaan is enthralling and most significantly an entertaining motion picture. On the exterior, it is a compelling sentimental story/thriller. But beneath the entertainment it offers, it carries a message as well. Loud and Clear. If the audience can see through the coating, great. Even if they don't, they will yet go back in high spirits. There are two conflicting factors in Bajrangi Bhaijaan ; Salman Khan's overriding principle of portraying silly antics on-screen and Kabir Khan's intrinsic liking for seriousness. But so overwhelming is Bhai's past aura that serious keeps threatening to slide into silly, and the moment you give in to that in-between space, the film becomes something that you enjoy to the core.Most of the time. Though, its a formulaic film yet it is not a typical Salman Khan kind of cinema. It ably brings the message of humanity, peace and human bonding to the forefront. How a person rigid about his religion can happily, peacefully co-exist with the unique ways of other religions. In fact, Salman's character is closest to #Being human (his charitable foundation) in this movie when compared to all other characters that he has portrayed in past. I could see a lot of moist eyes at the end of this movie which is proof enough that the movie tugs on the heartstrings of the audience.          

STORY & SCREENPLAY (SPOILERS AHEAD)                 ::           The story of the movie has been penned down by Vijayendra Prasad where as the credit for writing the screenplay goes to Kabir Khan, Parveez Sheikh along with Asad Hussain. Together, they have concocted a cross border tale infused with sentiments, drama, wit and human bonding even in extreme conditions. While most of the films made on Indo-Pak either relied on Pak bashing or jingoism & preachiness, this film takes a different route altogether. The film captures the tension of India-Pakistan without any negativity albeit in a skillful and charming manner. The script ably brushes upon various social issues that include patriotism, religious barriers, corruption, human trafficking in a balanced way. Dialogues written by Kabir Khan & Kausar Manir are quite effective and add up to the entertainment quotient of the movie. Like in Pakistan when Salman says to Nawazuddin, "Bajrangbali hamari madad Kareinge", he jokingly responds, "Yahaan Pakistan mein Bhi". The movie begins in snowy hills of Pakistan where a speech impaired girl by the name of Shahida (Harshaali) is born in a family. Her parents want to take her to a Dargah in Delhi to seek the blessings for her speech problem. While returning back from Delhi, when the train halts because of some repair work going on, Shahida alights from the train. The train suddenly leaves leaving her stranded on Indian soil. Shahida climbs up another train which takes her to Kurukshetra where she finds a Devout Hanuman bhakt Pawan alias Bajrangi (Salman Khan) dancing with other worshipers. She begins to follow him and on understanding the plight of little girl who cannot talk, Pawan takes her along to his home in Delhi. His family members are not very happy with Pawan for bringing the girl along but his fiancee Rasika (Kareena Kapoor) stands by his decision. One fine day, they come to know that the little girl is a Muslim and belongs to Pakistan. Now, a determined Pawan takes a pledge to reunite Shahida with her parents. Braving all odds, Pawan manages to cross Indo-Pak border along with the girl but he is caught by Pakistani cops who label him as an Indian spy. Meanwhile, a freelance news reporter Chaand Nawab (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) gets a whiff that an Indian spy has been arrested and he comes to cover the story. Pawan is able to dodge the cops and escapes from their custody but is followed by Chaand who wants to cover his story. When Pawan tells Chaand that his real purpose behind coming to Pakistan is to reunite the little girl with her parents, Chaand decides to help him. Meanwhile, Pakistanis have issued a look out notice for Pawan branding him as a spy. Will Chaand be able to help out Pawan & Shahida, Will Pawan be able to reunite Shahida with her parents, Will Pawan be able to prove his innocence of not being a spy, Will Pawan be able to return back to India alive is what forms the rest of the story.

STARCAST                                                                         ::          A pat on the back to Mukesh Chhabra (Casting director) for choosing the apt actors as per their characterizations in the movie. When you have Salman Khan in a movie titled Bajrangi Bhaijaan, the director doesn't need to convince the audience that he is Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Salman looks the part! His intro in the movie is colossal that is accompanied by a deafening applause.  Clutching the movie with his dynamic presence & performance, Salman is, without doubt, the lifeline of this film. He pulls off the part with flamboyance. Also, he brings in so much visceral rousing energy to the film, every time he appears on the screen. Salman and Kareena pair up after a hiatus in Bajrangi Bhaijaan and their chemistry is electrifying. Though an out-and-out Salman starrer, Kareena is not relegated to back seat. Neither, is she Salman's arm candy here. She has a well etched character and to her credit, she handles it with aplomb. Nawazuddin Siddiqui.....What an actor. The sheer effortlessness with which he skips into the shoes of a Pakistani reporter is remarkable. His body language, mannerisms and  especially dialogue delivery is a delight to watch. The way he says "Bariking news" is bound to bring smile to your faces. His camaraderie with Salman has come out really well in this movie especially when he convinces Salman to wear a Burqa and pose as his wife. His lively entry scene at the railway station where he is getting irritated by flow of commuters speaks volumes about his acting finesse. Nawazuddin has shown that he has amazing knack for comic timing and he is a treat to watch in this film. As a child actor, Harshaali Malhotra wins you over with her charming effervescence. The confidence with which she has conducted herself before the camera, makes it difficult to believe that this is her debut film. It's not an easy task to play the part of a mute girl in your debut film and that too as a child actor, but Harshaali has done it with aplomb. Amongst ensemble starcast noticeable performances have been delivered by Sharat Saxena (Rasika's father), Om Puri (Maulana Saheb), Harsh Singh (Channel Head), Krunal Pandit (Passport Agent) & Rajesh Sharma (Pakistan Intelligence Officer).

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                       ::                 The musical soundtrack of the movie that has been composed by Pritam Chakraborty is diverse with one of the numbers "Selfie Le Le Re" already making it to the top of charts. The background score by Julius Packiam is terrific and works really well for the movie. Bajrangi Bhaijaan travels across the Kashmir to capture some of the exotic locales in the valley and Aseem Mishra (Cinematographer) captures them with flourish. The cinematography by Aseem Mishra is seamless and brilliant, not once invading the space of characters at work in the foreground. Aseem's cinematography is excellent, bringing out the vision of Kabir Khan eloquently.  A special mention of Rajnish Hedao (Production designer) and Sham Kaushal (Action director) for their effective contributions in their respective fields. The movie has been edited by Rameshwar S Bhagat who has kept the runtime of the movie to 159 minutes. He has done a wonderful job at the editing table by keeping the flow of narrative brisk enough, never giving you a dull moment or a chance to go out for a loo break. In Salman's movies its his show all the way but with his adroit direction, Kabir Khan makes you acknowledge his directorial skills. He banks on Khan's stardom, no doubt, but ensures he makes a spectacle of it. "I'll show you how to do it in style" - his film seems to be telling other directors aiming for box office gold. Kabir Khan, who has earlier directed Kabul Express (2006), New York (2009) & Ek Tha Tiger (2012) has a firm grip on the story and the screenplay, without compromising on the entertainment quotient of the film.

CONCLUSION                                                                           ::    Bajrangi Bhaijaan gives a passe to the usual commercial formulaic elements that Salman Khan movies bank upon. It has a able structured plot, wit, mesmeric visuals, heart tugging emotions and most importantly its heart and soul at the right place making it a wholesome family entertainer.

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