Salman Khan’s ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ review: The real film only starts post-interval

Salman Khan's 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' presses many red-hot buttons, even if the treatment is strictly in-the-clouds 'filmi'.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi | Updated: July 19, 2015 4:32 pm
salman khan, bajrangi bhaijaan, Harshali Malhotra, salman khan Bajrangi Bhaijaan, kareena kapoor khan, censor board, bajrangi bhaijaan censor board, salman khan movies, salman khan news, kabir khan, entertainment news Bajrangi Bhaijaan review: The chief purpose of Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan is for you to surrender to disbelief and enjoy the familiar antics of Salman.

Up for a Bollywood-style fairytale? One in which two bitter foes come together over a revved-up set-piece involving India and Pakistan, flag-waving patriots, bigots-turned-pacifists, an adorable little girl, and a superstar named Salman Khan? Phir bhaiyya, and behena, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ le le re.

The fact that the film would be a highly-anticipated Eid releases was known. But no one could have anticipated that the stormy relationship between the two nations would be a Page One newspaper headline on the very day the film is out: the border is burning, and tensions are riding high. That’s in the real world. Just the right time for a film to tell us how it can be, in an alternate universe. Why not dive into the reel world in which the boil can be reduced to a simmer, and a simper-and-smile, piggybacking on the one and only Bhaijaan, who is in search of redemption himself? (See Pics: Bajrangi Bhaijaan screening – Ranveer, Sonakshi, Parineeti watch Salman Khan film)

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You can have all these very complex , very meta thoughts running through your head as you watch the Hanuman-worshipping Bajrangi (Salman Khan, his blue-stone bracelet replaced by the red-yellow ‘kaleva dhaga’), the simpleton with a large, loving heart, and the Pakistani Shahida aka Munni (Harshali Malhotra), the little girl who’s lost her voice but not her ability to charm, romp through a film which has been unabashedly constructed as a massy entertainer. It is also smartly aimed at the tear-ducts of those who sit on the fence in the matter of whether a performer’s real-life transgressions should affect the way we perceive his reel-life persona. Got an emotional jugular? Bajrangi Bhaijaan is coming for you, hammer and tongs. (See Pics: Salman Khan thronged by fans at Bajrangi Bhaijaan book release)

Or you can give in to the simplistic school-kid nature of the plot, and sit back and let it take you for a ride into an area whose existence we in India do not even acknowledge—Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. As Om Puri, playing a wise ‘maulana’ in the film, tells the hero: ‘thoda sa Kashmir hamaare paas bhi hai’. But those wryly delicious asides are far and few in between, because the chief purpose of the film is for you to surrender disbelief (and distaste, carried over from real-life court-cases and flim-flam judgements), and enjoy the familiar antics of a clearly-ageing Salman, played off against the freshness of a heart-stealing youngster. (Read: Salman Khan and five reason to watch Bajrangi Bhaijaan)

An old adage says ‘never act with children and animals’. You can also add Nawazuddin Siddiqui to that tiny list. His bumbling Pakistani TV scribe nearly steals the film, whose star is the little lost girl from across the border. When Bajrangi takes upon himself the task of reuniting her with her family which lives ‘sarhad-ke-uss-paar’, bringing up flashes of  ‘Gadar’, we know that it will be done, not just because this is Salman, the star who can do anything, but also because he is an acolyte of the monkey-god Hanuman. No prizes for guessing Salman’s ‘asli naam’ in the film. Did you say Pawan? Go to the top of the class.

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That the stoutly Hindu Pawan is played by a Salman creates some frisson, especially when risible scenes of meat-eating and horrified reactions come up. Do only `Mohammedans’ ( the word used for ‘Muslim’ : even a populist vehicle like this one can’t get away without using labels ) eat non-vegetarian food? Then how is chicken the `national bird’ of the national capital of India? Khan and Khan get away with that foul by bunging in a song about the favourite fowl of Delhi.And making our hero execute a perfect ‘adaab’, instead of his bending-from-the-waist ‘namaste’, after working both sides of the heavily-patrolled fence.

The director’s ability to create drama in large, inimical vistas is much higher than in homelier arenas, so the first half passes by with some amount of slackness, in which the will-speak-the-truth-at-any-cost character of Bajrangi Bhaijaan is created. It also serves as an introductory passage for his love-interest Raskia (Kareena Kapoor, making a strictly-by-the-numbers near-cameo appearance). The real film only starts post-interval, when the action shifts to Pakistan, with our trio on the run, with some fun-and-frolic, a quwaali-in-a-dargah, and a picturesque if rousingly unreal climax.

But who cares, right? ‘Dosti’ is always better than ‘dushmani’, right? And since when did borders separate hearts? ‘Aman ki asha’ is not such a bad thing, right? This film presses many red-hot buttons, even if the treatment is strictly in-the-clouds ‘filmi’. And gives us Shirtless Salman as a peacenik, speaking for all religions and mulqs. Believe it, or faint.

Bajrangi Bhaijaan Star Cast: Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Harshali Malhotra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sharat Saxena, Om Puri

Director : Kabir Khan

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  1. A
    anonymous
    Jan 1, 2017 at 9:00 pm
    It is a great movie with message. Upset to see negative thoughts on this which hurts.lt;br/gt;Great work by entire team of Bajrangi Bhaijan. I salute :)lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;With such negative thoughts, don't feel like writing my name though
    Reply
    1. H
      Habib
      Mar 19, 2016 at 2:13 am
      Muslims should not be labelled as "Mohammedeans" as we don't worship Muhammad (pbuh) he is our prophet the last and final one we believe in one God and Muhammad is his last messenger
      Reply
      1. A
        ankit
        Jul 17, 2015 at 2:36 pm
        fatangg movie 👌👌 loved it
        Reply
        1. A
          Asif khan
          Jul 18, 2015 at 5:56 am
          Fb tdy rheh tthhvt
          Reply
          1. B
            Bed prakash,,,,sonu
            Jul 18, 2015 at 10:36 am
            Bhai ne dil khus Kar diya I thing sabko pasnd aayegi bhaijaan ki ye move.
            Reply
            1. B
              Beena
              Jul 18, 2015 at 9:48 am
              Best Bollywood movie made in decade. Every Indian and stani must watch this movie. It's a MUST watch family movie. I hardly writes any movie reviews, but after watching this movie last night in London, I couldn't stop myself. The movie bought tears in my eyes and so as my w family. It will break the record of 3 s and PK in collection, if you want that in business terms. Just wait and Watch! Guys, GO FOR IT! It's a full value for money.
              Reply
              1. I
                indira joshi
                Jul 18, 2015 at 10:13 pm
                It's speechless .
                Reply
                1. R
                  Ravi shankar
                  Jul 17, 2015 at 12:26 pm
                  Most confusing critic review.after a page long expression we could not get the crux of the article.
                  Reply
                  1. G
                    gull Saba
                    Jul 20, 2015 at 5:47 pm
                    OMG this movie is supper heart touching I want to see more and more time salman is otestaing
                    Reply
                    1. B
                      Bijoy
                      Jul 17, 2015 at 12:41 pm
                      Story a66a hai but Salman ki acting hamesa ki tarah ghatiya hai..
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        Mahesh
                        Jul 17, 2015 at 6:53 pm
                        Good onr
                        Reply
                        1. S
                          Sameer khanna
                          Jul 18, 2015 at 1:13 pm
                          Movie of a lifetime. Salman , nawauddin and harshila at their best. Best movie in recent years. Second half of the movie is too good.
                          Reply
                          1. A
                            Ayush
                            Jul 18, 2015 at 2:36 pm
                            A really awesome movie A movie from whom you can learn love care devotion No words for this movie
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              Sanjay barouli
                              Jul 17, 2015 at 2:05 pm
                              Ek dumm faaddu moviess Solid
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                Sanjay barouli
                                Jul 17, 2015 at 2:06 pm
                                Maaaaa kaaa takaaaa man kaa lulaa superb
                                Reply
                                1. S
                                  Sanjay barouli
                                  Jul 17, 2015 at 2:04 pm
                                  Paisa basool moviess
                                  Reply
                                  1. B
                                    Benjamin dass
                                    Jul 19, 2015 at 4:17 am
                                    The writer of this rivew is ....... Many words come to my mind for him 2.5 stars guess u can't see or listen to the movie when it was shown to u I never liked salman that much but this movie is one of his best work by far or maybe u want to get por with ur stupid rivew
                                    Reply
                                    1. P
                                      Parita rakesh
                                      Sep 1, 2015 at 9:37 am
                                      I love this film a Lott I was so excited first to see the movie and it's really a very good movie it's giving us message to ... .I love u bajrangi bhaijan
                                      Reply
                                      1. R
                                        Raghavendra M
                                        Jul 18, 2015 at 9:04 am
                                        A good movie . Best performance by salman Khan till date. It has an emotional connect with the people.
                                        Reply
                                        1. U
                                          U patel
                                          Jul 19, 2015 at 8:52 am
                                          Awesome movie , I loved it ,🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟,movie deserves more box office rating,
                                          Reply
                                          1. V
                                            Vidhi
                                            Jul 17, 2015 at 10:56 am
                                            Awesome movie 5 stars full on emotional n touching movie..Dnt miss to watch it...salman rockss
                                            Reply
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