They hailed it as a box office success and almost at once everyone forgot that the star of the movie had stood trial for manslaughter and had been acquitted with a slap on the wrist after a decade of heel dragging by the Indian judiciary system. Yes I am referring to Bajrangi Bhaijan. My initial reaction had been to avoid watching it at all costs as a protest. However I finally had to watch it just to see why were people losing their minds and opening up their tear ducts to this stellar performance by an actor who can barely act.
So there I was sitting in front of the screen with a not so open mind. I was instantly amazed at the sad attempt to manipulate the audience with the deaf and dumb cute girl who strangely hasn’t been taught to read and write. Even strange is the introduction of Sallu Bhai as a Selfie taking ( why on earth do we need a silly song sequence) RSS cadet. Was it to make him seem like the strong Hindutva driven man and hence his complete 360 degree turn into a soft and mushy humanitarian just because the girl got duped and taken to a brothel? Oh the Sallu bhai in his perfect tear jerk avatar as the saviour , the brother, the man.
I could not make head or tale of the reason why there was a back story and a love interest for Sallu bhai. Does Sallu bhai need a heroine? What was the need to cast a Kareena in that role? This could have yet another big break from some starry eyes Aishwarya look a like. But we got Kareena instead to increase the star value of the movie. And her choice of movies of late have left me questioning her ability to really compete with the likes of Deepika who can definitely choose better. So they add a heroine who has about 5 scenes in total because bollywood masala movie needs a hero and heroine it cannot do with only a good guy and cute little girl story. The character of the heroine despite being a teacher seems completely bedazzled why thr wonderful mediocrity and stupidity of the man. He who must make some money and rent a house that is the pre condition set by the girl’s father to be allowed to marry. What utter nonsense is that. Is this even practical?
Of course bhai meets the cute little girl and all senses go out the window instead of taking her to a police station he gives her shelter next comes the revelation that she is Pakistani and the sudden change in fortunes. The movie bow moves to bhai’s attempt to get into Pakistan without a Visa. Absolutely mindlessness follows after this. Add a Nawazuddin in a funny role, a few police men chasing them around. By this time you know as viewer that the denouement is merely delayed and the last drop of tear need to be extracted from you. Hence there is the much awaited reunion followed by an intense anti climax where you almost believe that the movie will redeem itself by showcasing the conclusion of this foolhardy yet heroic mission with a sacrifice. But no Sallu Bhai has never had the courage to breathe his last. I am not a movie buff correct me if I am wrong. Many stars have taken the plunge some early in their career some later to die a sudden death or one which is heroic. But no how can it be a Sallu bhai movie if the director doesn’t pull out all stops. So the Indian and thr Pakistanis gather at an unknown border and watch the release and crossover of Bhai and Lo behold his fiance and family are in attendance almost immediately ( no planning required) and so does the girl and her parents . Makes me wonder that if the girl’s home was this near to the border of India why on earth di everyone travel. Days and weeks to reach the remote mountains! Anyway logic was never the strong point of the movie. What bewilders me is at this opportune moment then dumb girl finds her voice just like that, right that moment, without any medical intervention.
It is a terrible truth that we make bad movies but the fact that everyone is taken in by such movies makes it worse. The fact that everywhere I go I hear people who I consider to be above average intelligence wax eloquent about the powerhouse performance of Sallu and the innocent naturalness of the girl, it makes me sad. I would like to say it gags me to see people being manipulated to easily.
I have nothing against the hold actor. Bravo to her for putting up the ridiculous performance. She was a good instrument in the hand of the director. But what about Salman Khan. This is same man who has murdered another man yet we all forgot about it and bought tickets for the show and made him even more money. Why are we so pathetic? Why can’t we be furious why doesn’t a mob burn his effigy or rip his posters or boycott his movies? Because he is a movie star because we don’t care because it want someone important who does because how does it matter so many years later because not watching this movie will not punish him.
Will not watching the movie at least leave you with some morality and principle?
May be I am the fool in all of this.