Cross border tension between India and Pakistan has always been on the high since 1947. This tension and agitation has been highlighted many times across the years in the forms of movies, books, articles, speeches, etc. Bajrangi Bhaijaan is another such attempt.
The message and the story of the movie is quite simple and has nothing new, but when you have a star like Salman Khan presenting it to you, it does tend to move mountains. Bajrangi Bhaijaan highlights the fact that innocence, humanity and love can together overpower the Hindu-Muslim and India-Pakistan differences that have been prevailing since times immemorial. Set in Kashmir, Wagah-Attari and parts of Rajasthan, the movie goes on to show, that in a time where such a high degree of political tension is prevailing between these two countries, there comes an Indian who goes out of his way to help a little girl reach her home despite innumerable obstacles coming his way.
The flick does not boast of some great music but songs like Selfie le le and Aj ki party meri taraf se will make Salman fans go crazy in theateres. However most of the other songs make no big impact and as in most Bollywood movies are just a support to the running story.
The story revolves around a young Pakistani girl, Shahida(Harshaali Malhotra), left stranded in India, unable to speak and the story of a God fearing man, Pawan(Salman Khan) her journey back home. The movie portrays Salman Khan as an unsuccessful, simple, clean hearted and Bajrang Bali idol, who continues to say throughout the movie, hum Bajrang Bali ke bhakt hai, koi kaam chori chupe nai karte.
Director Kabir Khan takes his own time to introduce the characters and set the stage for an impeccable and heart touching seond half . One can easily be seen gasping for breath during the first half of the movie. However, the pinch of humour added by Salman’s flop life story and his urge to find a job in Delhi and marry Rasika (Kareena Kapoor) alongside the cute expressions of the child artist Harshaali Malhotra are the only saving grace of the first half as director Kabir Khan tries really hard to drag through the first half to reach a certain point, where Pawan ends up taking the responsibility of leaving Shahida to her home in Pakistan into his own hands, after rescuing the six year old Shahida from being sold into the prostitution racket. .
In the intermission, one does miss the actual Salman Khan which we seen in movies like Kick and Dabangg, as his massive punch lines go missing, negligible action as the supercharged Bollywood star is highlighted as a simple down to earth boy.
The second half begins with our Bhaijaan trying to smuggle his way into the country with the little girl as none of them have a passport and visa and is mistaken as an Indian spy. The beginning of the second half, continues to make fun of Pawan’s simple character for a good 15 to 20 minutes, leaving the viewers flabbergasted by the story. The second half introduces a series of characters who go on to help Pawan in his quest to reach Shahida home, first of them being Chand(Nawazuddin Siddiqui) , who plays a struggling and unsuccessful news reporter. Once again Nawazuddin Siddiqui proves his brilliance by playing a very simple role so brilliantly. Its this very point where the movie takes a really significant turn, moving from it’s a really raw and blunt story to a really emotional, lamenting and beautiful one.
It’s here we see a series of people, a Maulana( Om Puri ), a bus conductor and off course Nawazuddin Siddiqui who come to Pawan’s rescue and help him in his quest to reach Shahida home. All of a sudden this so uninteresting flick takes such an awesome and meaningful turn which none of the viewers will ever expect. Its from this very point the director impresses upon the emotional bond developed between Salman Khan and the young child.
However it all does seem a little impossible, but the main message the director has tried to send across is that if an Indian can go till such an extent to help an unknown child from across the border, why cannot people and politicians from these two nations forget about their rivalry and join their hands to set an atmosphere of peace.
The damage done by the first half of the movie is completely repaired and I would go on to say even overdone by presenting such a beautiful second half followed by a heart melting ending. If seen from an Indian and Pakistani’s point of view, this movie is a great success and after a long time Salman Khan has actually taken up a script which does spread the message of peace and love across the people of both the countries and has managed to portray it in a proper way.
However, the ending scene of the movie steals the show. It shows that despite the hatred people from both the nations have for each other, they can be moved to stand up for love and gratitude. Though it goes on to display a great deal of drama but the director and Salman Khan make sure that the real essence and the message of the movie, which is nothing but LOVE AND BROTHERHOOD BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN is properly conveyed to the people.
Concluding my review , I would encourage my fellow Indians and my neighbours from across the border to go and watch Bajrangi Bhaijaan , not just for entertainment or whiling away your time, or because you may be a Salman fan, but because the message this movie passes on does really mean a lot.
In the end weighing up all the good and bad points of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, I would rate the movie a 3.0/5 and would wish that powerful stars like Salman Khan should make such movies so that they teach the people something. After watching a movie like Bajrangi Bhaijaan, one can sit back and say that Bollywood movies and movie makers still have the art of producing great and thoughtful cinema.