Bajrangi Bhaijaan:Heartwarming Handshake Of Brotherhood
By Faridoon Shahryar
"Nafrat bahut asaani se bik jaati hai, lekin mohabbat...," trails off Nawazuddin Siddiqui at a crucial moment in Kabir Khan's 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan'. Nawaz plays an ambitious television reporter in a small town in Pakistan who helps Bajrangi (Salman Khan) in ensuring that Munni (Harshali Mehra), a little Pakistani girl reaches her home in the faraway hills. It is true the stories of love and togetherness between the two warring nations are seldom celebrated but hate mongering and jingoism is lapped up by trigger-happy news channels and byte-mercenary politicians on both sides of the border.
'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' is a landmark film for it tries to bridge gaps between people of India and Pakistan without being preachy or moralistic. It is an extremely entertaining film but entertainment need not always be song-n-dance and popcorn-cola-jokes that don't last long.
Salman Khan delivered one of his finest performances in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Khamoshi'. After that film, 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' is the film that taps the acting brilliance of Khan. Credit must go to Kabir Khan to have taken risks by not falling in the trap of what-the-distributors-want in a Salman Khan film. There are two brief action sequences, no item songs and a brief romance. In other words, Kabir completely breaks the formula that makes Salman such a safe blockbuster bet at the box office. Enough scope is given to Nawazuddin to display his magical brilliance and the kid Harshali Malhotra delivers a stunning performance (without delivering any dialogue). Om Puri shines in a cameo too. The presence of a strong support cast enhances Salman's performance greatly.
Somehow one can equate Kabir Khan with Raju Hirani. A wonderful concept, backed by good writing, superb execution and this heady concoction is enmeshed in the cushion of outstanding entertainment. Kabir has chosen breathtaking locations in Kashmir. The introductory sequence has some aerial shots atop the lofty mountains and honestly Kashmir is surely worth being called Paradise. Kabir also displays the power of the media in bringing people together. He highlights NDTV in bringing in a positive change in a certain context in the film. In recent times this Indian channel has faced a strong opposition from certain political quarters within India for its honest reporting and it is notable that Khan chose this channel instead of any more 'agreeable' one.
The story by S Vijendra Prasad is the fulcrum of the film. Screenplay by Kabir Khan, Vijendra Prasad, Asad Husain and Parvez Shaikh is very engaging. It must have been a tough call of locking the final screenplay taking the various sensibilities into account and how not to be insensitive to anyone's beliefs. Dialogues by Kabir Khan and Kausar Munir (additional dialogues) are excellent. They will make you laugh, cry and engage attention all at the same time. Aseem Mishra is another hero of the film. His brilliant camera work is a big highlight. Be it capturing magnetic Kashmir or the grungy Rajasthan lanes, Aseem brings alive Kabir's vision excellently. Pritam's music is a highpoint. My personal favourite is 'Tu Jo Mila' (thought provoking lyrics by Kausar Munir and evocatively sung by KK). 'Zindagi' and 'Bhar Do Jholi' are my other favourites from the album. Julius Paekiam's haunting background score is a character in itself.
'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' is a must watch film that will stay in your mind long after its over. The egotistical politicians on both sides of the border will keep on stoking the fire of hatred. If you want genuine people-to-people contact and a chance to let Love do the talking, then this film will hold hands of peace in front of you. It is up to you if you wish to put your hand forward and feel the warmth of brotherhood. Take a call.