Sunday 19 July 2015

Adrienne McKibbins reports on the new Hindi movie BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN

Kabir Khan’s BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN, currently screening at Event Cinemas Burwood NSW complex and elsewhere through GU Cinemas, is about a 6 year old girl who is parted from her mother on a train journey close to the Indian Pakistan border. The girl ends up in India.... She links up with the hapless (but good hearted) hero played by Salman Khan. The girl does not speak, so there is much ado about what to do with her and how to find out where she comes from.

Eventually, our hero discovers she is a Muslim and from Pakistan, and decides he must take the girl back to find her parents. Unable to do so legally, he illegally enters Pakistan eventually linking up with a would-be Pakistani reporter, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a charmingly comic avatar. He has been told our hero is an Indian spy.

Needless to say our hero eventually manages to get the little girl back to her home, and then must find a way to get back to India (he has no passport or visa).

This film released for the Indian festival EID is a real holiday blockbuster, the audience I was with (almost full house) cheered and clapped at various points, especially a speech about India and Pakistan being similar people who should not be hostile to each other.

The finale is very sentimental, taking place at the Indian/Pakistan border.

Kabir Khan has always had concerns in his films about the politics of India/ Pakistan, Hindu/ Muslim, and despite this film being a full on commercial Masala pic with requisite songs and a big dance number, it is also a plea for tolerance. Salman Khan is better than he has been in recent films, but this role is clearly designed for him.. and he does what is expected right down to his usual shirtless scene, when being beaten by Pakistan police.

Definitely designed as a family entertainer. Although it’s predictable, especially in the second half, it still manages to hold a certain amount of tension and Kabir's use of locations is excellent from the desert to the mountains.

It has opened big in India to mostly positive reviews.  Despite the story line being not that original (in generic terms) it is a likeable film, as its heart is in the right place and the "preaching" is genuine and heartfelt.

Currently screening Australia wide in Event cinemas

Here is Anupama Chopra's review ( She is one of the best most sensible reviewers in India). It really sum up the films faults and pluses..and I agree with her virtually 100%.

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