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MOVIE REVIEW: BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN 

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Movie Details:

Star cast - 


Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Harshaali Malhotra, Om Puri

(Picture posters and video credit: Eros Now.

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Directed by
Kabir Khan

Produced by
Salman Khan & Rockline Venkatesh

Distributed by:
Eros International

Music by - Pritam

MOVIE REVIEW ...Best India-Pakistan Movie, Without Being Preachy ...

WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT THE MOVIE

#1. The Cast

First things first. Salman Khan has of course come through for his ardent followers, but standing ovation to the production team (of which Salman Khan is part of) for picking who they picked for every single role- big or small. Kareena Kapoor in the lead glows and shines (no it is not a cameo!), Harshaali has no speaking lines (barring couple of screaming lines), but her gestures and cuteness speak to the audience. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is a natural. He always is. The same goes for Om Puri. However, you really end up noticing every single character in the movie, the officer at the Pakistani Embassy, the Hanuman bhakts (devotees), pahalwans (wrestlers) in the akhara (rink) (okay those were probably real and we have seen them in other movies too), and even more so the Pakistanis across the border- the girl's family, the police men, the soldiers at the border (especially the one who talks at the very end), the journalists- the sophisticated and the crass. Adnan Sami's special appearance impresses as well.

#2. The Plot

This is quite simply put- the best India-Pakistan movie made to date- away from the terrorism plot, though its consequences shown in way of distrust and strain that marks the nature of the relationship between the two countries. 

#3. The Locations

The movie has been shot at various places- New Delhi, Mandawa (in Rajasthan), Salman Khan's Panvel farm house and Kashmir Valley. All sets and locations are stare-worthy, be it the by lanes of old Delhi or the mountains of Kashmir.  Apparently, the climax was shot at a 10,000 ft above the sea-level at Thajiwas Glacier in Sonmarg, Kashmir. "The 300-strong technical crew had to trek for an hour through snow every morning to reach the location. Added to this, were the 7,000 extras that we had on set every day. Transporting them in buses, and then embarking on the hour-long trek was a huge logistical challenge for the production. To add to their woes were the sub-zero temperatures, and hail storms that would interrupt the shoot," said director Kabir Khan recounting the challenges of shooting the film as per the Hindustan Times.

#4. The Clothes

The clothes are certainly noteworthy throughout the movie- be the bright yellow-orange colored garbs of the Hanuman followers or the long flowing kaftans seen in Pakistan and Kashmir. Kareena Kapoor's simple suits simply standout too.


SO THEN, WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD ... 

#1. The movie, at times, seems more documentary-like rather than entertaining, especially during the first half. It's not the pace- that is okay enough. It isn't the plot either- that is gripping enough. In a similar genre, PK was more entertaining. However, there are quite a few good jokes and hilarious scenes- especially during the second half. 


HOW DID THE MOVIE FARE?

According to Business Of Cinema, the movie earned Rs. 26 crore net approx. on its first day at the Box Office and has earned Rs. 36.50 crore net approx. on its second day. Bajrangi Bhaijaan film showed the highest ever single day collection for a Salman Khan starer. As for the overall weekend collection, the movie has broken all records with earning of Rs.100 crore net approx. at the box office on the weekend.


WE SAY ...

This is by far the best movie made on the India- Pakistan theme for two reasons-

1. The issue of India- Pak animosity is dealt with and discussed on the other side of the border too for a change. In all previous movies made on the theme, the goal appears to be to generate sympathy or reduce distrust for the people of Pakistan in the hearts of Indians. In this movie, the issue is taken across the border, addressing the people of Pakistan. In the process, we get to see a more humane side of Pakistan as well along with what we already know exits- hostility for India and Indians.

2. For the first time ever, Muslims are seen being taught to say Jai Shree Ram to the Hindus, Muslims are seen to join their hands together, along with Hindus saying Aadab (form of greeting for the Muslims) to the Muslims.

3. The movie conveys powerful messages of humanity over country and religion, of mutual respect and tolerance for each other's religion, without being preachy.

TO WATCH OR NOT TO WATCH ... 

If you want to participate in all the discussions that the movie is invoking, watch it in theater.

If you are a Salman Khan fan, don't delay your experience of watching him as an honest, speak-only-the-truth-and-nothing-but simpleton, as Bajrangi Bhaijan.

Otherwise, you may wait for the original dvd or netflix- but watch it you must.

MY PERSONAL TAKE AWAY ... 

I am a Hanuman (Hindu Monkey God) bhakt (devotee). When my kids were babies, I put them to sleep by singing Hanuman Chalisa and Sankat Mochan (Hanuman songs). Watching the movie gave them a good sense of what it means to be a Hanuman devotee. They enjoyed the Hanuman songs playing in the backdrop and the wonderful colors all round.

My personal take away was also explaining the acrimony between India and Pakistan to my kids who, living in America, do not get the first hand experience. It was an educational experience for them to watch how the enmity plays out in different scenarios- in context of religion and war, the far- reaching consequences of the bitterness and mistrust- how getting a visa for other countries is easier than to each other's country's, how merely saying you're an Indian on Pakistani soil can get you thrown into the jail for life as a "spy", how helping a Pakistani is unthinkable on des ki mitti (Indian soil). Our discussion went on and my kids had this question- if Japan can move past America's bombing that destroyed its two cities and caused damage that manifested for two generations, if the world has forgiven Britain for colonizing and exploiting them, why does Pakistan hold a grudge against India for getting Kashmir, even after almost 70 years? That too when the king of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, himself chose to become part of India. Like always I had to say this- it is in Pakistan's advantage to bury the past and thrive for economic development and social upliftment. Pakistan's gain lies in being to India what Mexico, or even, Canada is to America. Or rise such that India in comparison is its Canada or pales to looking like its Mexico (no offense to Mexico).


By Sonal Kulshrestha

(Sonal is a programmer by profession and a writer by passion. She is an avid movie goer. She lives in Texas, USA) 

What Others Are Saying About The Movie:

Movie critics in the leading dailies of India, have this to say about the movie-

  1. Indian Express- Subhra Gupta of Indian Express gave it a 2.5 star saying that the movie has been unabashedly constructed as a massy entertainer with the chief purpose of surrendering and enjoying Salman's familiar antics where Kareena's role is a near-cameo appearance.
  2. Hindustan Times- Rohit Vats in HT also gives it a 2.5 star saying that the movie is totally dependent on Salman's super- stardom, but puts it in the not-to-be-missed category.
  3. Times Of India- Srijana Mitra Das gives it a 4 star in TOI calling it Salman's most daring film where you see a 'new' Salman presenting a beautiful performance but allows the story to be the real dabangg. 

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