Director: Kabir Khan
Producers: Eros International, Salman Khan Films and Kabir Khan Films
Writers: Kabir Khan, V Vijayendra Prasad, Parveez Shaikh and Asad Hussain
Cast: Salman Khan, Harshali Malhotra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kareena Kapoor
Rating: * * * *
Review By: Keyur Seta
Hindi cinema regularly churns out hardcore commercial entertainers that carry a message. But most of the times, the message is put across in a superficial or preachy manner in such genre of films. So far, only Rajkumar Hirani has emerged victorious in this genre. With Bajrangi Bhaijaan, we can add Kabir Khan’s name in the very rare list.
The film has a list of achievements. It fills you with emotions through its manner of spreading humanity but at the same time makes you laugh continuously. This is enough to label Bajrangi Bhaijaan as few of Salman Khan’s best films ever and one of the best commercial entertainers of modern day Bollywood.
The story revolves around the six-year-old Shahida (Harshali Malhotra), a mute girl staying in Pakistan. Her mother brings her on a visit to Delhi to visit the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah as she believes it will relieve her of her disability. But some circumstances ensure that she is not able to accompany her mother back home and is left stranded in Delhi.
Shahida comes in contact with the honest, innocent and large-hearted Pawan Chaturvedi aka Bajrangi (Salman Khan). Pawan vows to get her reunited with her parents. Over the course of time, he gets to know that Shahida is from Pakistan. As he is moved by the girl’s plight, he decides to take the risk of accompanying her to Pakistan. Chand Nawab (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), Pakistani news reporter, becomes an important part of Pawan’s mission.
The content here takes you by surprise. It is a commercial Salman film devoid of the usual Salman-isms. In fact, there is just one fight sequence. Kabir has kept the commercialism alive through drama, emotions and lots of comedy while keeping mindlessness at bay, barring few usual errors in such films. There is not a single moment that doesn’t hold your interest. The length of 2 hours 40 just flies.
But the biggest triumph of Bajrangi Bhaijaan is that it crosses some major borders. The audience also consist Salman haters and those who can’t stand anything related to Pakistan. But the story of a super cute innocent Pakistani girl and the character of Pawan are enough to even melt their hearts. More so, it is impossible not to be moved by the supremely overwhelming climax, even if you happen to be either Salman or Pakistan hater, or both.
From Pritam’s music, ‘Selfie Le Le Re’, which has already become popular, is enjoyable. The Qawwali number ‘Bhar Do Meri Jholi’ and ‘Zindagi’ add to the impact. DoP Aseem Mishra has also played his part well, especially while shooting the beautiful locales of Kashmir.
Salman Khan’s performance is also a surprise. After a long hiatus, he has succeeded in displaying his acting skills while getting into the skin of his character. It is easily one of his best acts. But what to say about the little girl Harshali Malhotra? She creates a new benchmark for cuteness and also succeeds in acting through expressions. You just can’t stop feeling for her.
There is Nawzuddin Siddiqui who just keeps impressing film-after-film. He is lovably outstanding here too. Kareena Kapoor doesn’t get much scope. Rajesh Sharma, the actor playing Chand Nawab’s aide, the actress playing Shahida’s mother and others provide good support.
Overall: Bajrangi Bhaijaan is a film that will be remembered for a long time. It is an emotional rollercoaster ride that fills you with joy. It is all set to create new records at the box office. It has earned box office collection of Rs 27 crore on the first day and Rs 36 crore on the second day.