One thing that works for Bajrangi Bhaijaan is that it is not a preachy film, a great feat in itself considering that the film's crew relentlessly talked about the 'paradoxes involved in the religious outset of India' in every pre-release interview. One powerful tool Salman uses with ease in most of his films is his self deprecating humour. Apart from this part of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which is likely to garner a louder applause than the rest of the film, it remains a perfectly paced story. Needless to say, Salman is one many army against all the hindrances and that'll suit his fans. But you may also fall for Nawazuddin's reporter act. Kareena Kapoor Khan glows but that's the most of it. Harshaali is cuteness overload and that may inspire some 'aww' moments. Bajrangi Bhaijaan is totally dependent on Salman Khan's superstardom and he pulls it off provided you overlook his in-your-face 'bhai' act in some scenes. It's an entertaining film for sure, definitely in the not-to-be-missed category.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan works because Kabir Khan and his writers - Parvez Shaikh and V Vijendra Prasad - play to the gallery without being apologetic about it. The film pushes all the right buttons. It makes you smile, laugh and cry (that one it pushes repeatedly like an animated kid). Trouble is that in doing so it is not entirely ingenious, occasionally mawkish and towards the latter stages preachy. The excessive slo-mos and two too many songs drag the proceedings. The romance between Rasika (Kareena Kapoor Khan) and Pawan is contrived and entirely superfluous. Bajrangi Bhaijaan would have been 20 minutes shorter and pluckier if it decided to not have a love interest for Pawan. There are a few eyebrow-raising creative liberties taken such as how Bajrangi and Munni get to Pakistan in a breeze. Bajrangi Bhaijaan is by far the best film in the Swachh Salman Abhyan series. It will give his fans the Bhai they want and the remaining a Salman Khan who isn't always larger-than-life character. That is the film's biggest accomplishment.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan is a supercharged cross-border drama that goes all out – and then some – in delivering its message of subcontinental peace. The India-Pakistan border obviously plays a pivotal role in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Director Kabir Khan pulls out an old chestnut – the theme of humanity trumping a history of bitterness. The screenplay traverses the entire distance from Wagah-Attari to Rajasthan, and from there to Kashmir, where the drama culminates on an implausibly preachy and screechy note. Salman Khan may the principal driving force of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, but the real star of the film is the super-cute child actor Harshaali Malhotra. Her winning smile, her large, playful eyes and a face can melt the toughest heart, even that of a dyed in the wool film critic. Watch Bajrangi Bhaijaan even if you aren’t an inveterate Salman Khan fan. Harshaali will steal your heart.
Kabir Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan cleverly exploits this notion by casting an angel-faced six-year old (Harshaali Malhotra) as the emotional core of its cross-border story. There’s little of the swagger that triggers mass hysteria among his followers, the Salman in Bajrangi Bhaijaan is humble, subdued and earnest. Bajrangi Bhaijaan wears idealism like Salman wears a mace pendant around his neck. It expects to be viewed with the same naïveté and old-fashioned values it so consciously imparts and revels in. Salman and Nawaz share an exciting dynamic. Leading lady Kareena Kapoor Khan is glossy as Bajrangi’s benevolent, secular love interest with not enough screen time. Despite the complexity of the given situation and the dangers it runs into, Bajrangi Bhaijaan’s simplistic politics avoids darkness like a plague. But then wishful thinking never hurt any sentiments. Nor does this film. Even in it’s unmistakably masala tone, it firmly believes the desire for peace is universal and recommends being a hero.
The chief purpose of Salman Khan’s film is for you to surrender disbelief (and distaste, carried over from real-life court-cases and flim-flam judgements), and enjoy the familiar antics of Salman. The fact that the film would be a highly-anticipated Eid releases was known. But no one could have anticipated that the stormy relationship between the two nations would be a Page One newspaper headline on the very day the film is out: the border is burning, and tensions are riding high. That’s in the real world. Just the right time for a film to tell us how it can be, in an alternate universe. Why not dive into the reel world in which the boil can be reduced to a simmer, and a simper-and-smile, piggybacking on the one and only Bhaijaan, who is in search of redemption himself? The real film only starts post-interval, when the action shifts to Pakistan, with our trio on the run, with some fun-and-frolic, a quwaali-in-a-dargah, and a picturesque if rousingly unreal climax. But who cares, right? ‘Dosti’ is always better than ‘dushmani’, right? And since when did borders separate hearts? ‘Aman ki asha’ is not such a bad thing, right? This film presses many red-hot buttons, even if the treatment is strictly in-the-clouds ‘filmi’. And gives us Shirtless Salman as a dove of peace, speaking for all religions and ‘mulqs’. Believe it, or faint.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan is Salman Khan's most daring film where Salman presents a beautiful performance - but allows the story to be the real dabangg. With Bajrangi, you meet a whole new Salman - this is not the shirt-ripping, ab-flaunting, dialogue-maro-ing Khan but a simple, innocent and honest man, who fails, gets tricked and beaten up - but never shaken from his purpose. With gentleness and no gimmicks, Salman puts on a polished, luminous performance - and is matched by little Harshaali, whose vulnerability and warmth are amazing. Add a crackling Nawazuddin, as small-time Pakistani journalist Chand Nawab, hungry for 'Bariking News' and the screen's alight with lovely acting, with a hilarious 'Begum', a child who glows and wanes like the sun, humans who treasure humanity beyond barbed wire and border guards. Alongside memorable performances (Om Puri chuckles through a Maulvi cameo while Sharat Saxena wrestles with prejudice as Bajrangi's potential father-in-law), the story features gentle comedy - Bajrangi's chats with Pakistan's border security are hilarious - and soulful qawallis. It’s beautiful visuals travel unobtrusively from mohallas to mountain peaks, across priceless moments including Bajrangi's panic-struck stammering to pretty fiance Rasika (Kareena), "Munni, woh, woh - woh hai!". The plot could be tighter, sagging slightly until Nawaz's lively entry. Bajrangi Bhaijaan emphasizes how, amidst visas and wars, there are also angels about who don't see doors. They see homes, lives and children - and sometimes, children see angels too. It makes a beautiful, mubarak point - one that's very dabangg too.