Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Salman Khan’s most awaited film of the year. With endless promotions and rapid song releases, this film has been making frequent appearances on everyone’s social media news feeds and emails.
The basic premise of this plot revolves around a young Pakistani girl named Shahida (Harshaali Malhotra) who becomes separated from her mother while visiting India. She then bumps into Pawan aka Bajrangi (Salman Khan), a Hanuman devotee and aficionado who, over the course of the film, helps Shahida find her parents.
There were many cute moments and scenes in this film. Pawan’s innocent nature, his pranams to every monkey he sees on the street, and his unwavering desire to live and stand by the truth provided many opportunities for comedy, a genre in which Salman Khan has repeatedly proven himself. Particularly hilarious was also the introduction of Pakistani reporter Chand Nawab (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) in the second half of the film.
As expected, this movie had all the typical Bollywood twists, turns, and resolutions; however, the film also had a message and Kabir Khan did a good job conveying it to the viewers. The Hindu-Muslim and India-Pakistan dichotomy and conflicts were clearly shown as underlying problems that still continue to affect the relationship between the two nations today. With Pawan on one hand as a staunch Hindu and Shahida on the other hand as a Muslim girl from Pakistan, Pawan is essentially forced to transform many of his conservative beliefs and overcome his fears regarding the customs and practices of individuals from other faiths and backgrounds. While raising awareness of such inter-religious and intercultural conflicts is important and relevant to the current cultural context, I personally felt it was displayed dramatically at some points that it came off as a bit over the top and forcing a message rather than letting the point reach across naturally and organically.
The acting in this film was quite good. Special mention must be given to debutant Harshaali Malhotra, who essayed the role of Shahida beautifully! As one can imagine, It is not easy to act without speaking, and Harshaali made the most of her facial expressions and body language to develop the character of Shahida.
Kareena Kapoor Khan’s role as Rasika (Pawan’s girlfriend/lover) was minimal but well done. At the same time, her makeup could have better been suited to her character as the daughter of a staunch Hindu family. Om Puri’s special appearance in the second half was fantastic, as was the picturesque nature and scenery of Kashmir and Pakistan, to which due credit must be given to cinematographer Ravi K Chandran!
Final Verdict: Bajrangi Bhaijaan is a sentimental, heartwarming film that is definitely a tearjerker. It has all the feels interspersed with comedy, drama, and some romance. Despite some overly dramatic scenes, this one is a family film appropriate for all ages and is worth a watch!