Tuesday, September 29, 2015
The contrasts and the ironies are stark! The lead character in the film is played by Salman Khan who is a Muslim. But in the film he is a hardcore Hanumaan bhakt (devotee). The farcical irony is that he has to bow whenever he sees a monkey. However, when raised a question if Lord Hanuman would be efficacious even in Pakistan, he is confused and fumbles for an answer.
Director: Kabir Khan
Salman Khan has done a credit to himself and his immense talent by taking a break from his regular irrational masala potboilers and giving a veritable performance in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. The film is more than just another theme in Indo-Pak conflicts of identities. In and through a sincere and devout Hindu devotee of Lord Hanuman on a voyage to reach a mute Muslim girl to her parents in Pakistan, the director sends a strong message that humanism has no religion and nation.
In Bhajrangi Bhaijaan, in the final analysis everything falls in right place adding to the success of the film. The little Harshaali Malhotra as Munni (Shahida) is not just innocent looking, her expressions evoke tenderness and sympathy. The all-pervading humour and irony in most situations of struggles of people compromising hardcore religiosity with borrowed nationalism perhaps would help the audience to relate to their own struggles to find reconcile man-made structures with natural instincts to reach out to humanity. In the end, though, BB is a film about losing one’s structured identities and reaching out to people in dire need, letting love overpower hatred and egotism.
Well, certain elements in the film, especially dramatic developments typical of a Bollywood commercial, may look out of place in a well-crafted humanistic rendering. But, the film as a whole does work in conveying powerful messages. And patronising animosity is definitely not one of them! Nawazuddin Siddiqui, as always, adds weight to the film through his inimical performance. Full marks to Kabir Khan, the director. Not to forget, the music and situational songs elevate the theme.
- Melwyn Pinto SJ
Also read: Article from EPW