After my friend’s insistence (put in even threats), I finally watched Bhajrangi Bhaijaan (Brother Hanuman). And I felt SO touched after watching that you totally got no idea about it. I feel that it’s a movie that everyone, irrespective of their nationalities, should watch it. And that’s why this review.
Movie: Bhajrangi Bhaijaan 
Cast: Salmaan Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Harshali Malhotra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui etc
Writer: Vijayendra Prasad
Director: Kabir Khan
सेळफी ले ले रे – Selfie Le Le Re (Take A Selfie, Dude) by Vishal Dadlani. [Download]
A simple story of how a man tries to help a little girl find her parents: that’s something which many of us have already seen in many dramas and films. But that’s where Bhajrangi Bhaaijaan differs, by adding a small but dangerous plot-twist: What happens if that man and the little girl happen to be from two neighbouring warring countries?
It’s not much about the story itself, but the way the man and the child form a bond that has nothing to do with blood that is touching.
PAVAN KUMAR CHATURVEDI (Salman Khan) is an ardent devotee of Lord Hanuman (a mythical figure in the epic of Ramayana, who’s half-man and half-monkey). So much so that he names himself Bhajrangi.
(Note: Lord Hanuman happens to have many names, and one of them is ‘Bhajrangbali’. So the hero’s name essentially means that he’s the Bhajrangbali’s devotee. And the coincidence is that the hero’s actual name ‘Pavan Kumar’ also is another synonym of Lord Hanuman’s name, as Hanuman is the son of the God of Winds, Pavan, and the name ‘Pavan Kumar’ means Pavan’s son).
True to his name, he loves helping people and lives with Lord Rama in his heart. He’s extremely innocent and good-natured. And yeah, he NEVER lies. This nature of his makes people construe him as an insane guy who ran away from a mental institution.
And this innocent guy stumbles across an aurally challenged (read: can’t speak) little girl (the adorable Harshali Malhotra), who’s by mistake separated from her parents. And he names her ‘MUNNI’, meaning little one. Her actual name, though, is Shaheeda. But she obviously can’t convey that to him. So, he takes her along with him to the Police Station to help her find her parents.
The Police Officer files the complaint but refuses to take keep the child with him because of the several goons who’re also lodged in the many cells of the station. So it falls on her hapless Pavan to take the girl along with him to the current place of his residence, Delhi. So off they go to Delhi in a bus, where the fellow passengers quiz him and get to know about his background.
(Note: Look, I know that there are too many notes. But there’re so many scenes that need a proper explanation for a person who’s watching an Indian movie for the first time that I’ve got no choice. In the West, we may find it odd if anybody enquires anything about us. But it’s not really much of a surprise in the East, and India in this context, when fellow passengers who are total strangers are interested to know more about you. They talk about their daily lives in an interesting way that livens up the entire journey. So, Pavan getting interrogated by them is another such conversations that make the journey into a fun ride.)
Turns out, Pavan grew up under the watchful eyes of a strict Brahmin father.
(Brahmin is a caste/clan. There are mainly four castes in India: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras. Brahmins are the high caste people who are the only ones who have the rites of passage to perform any religious rituals aka they are the priests. Kshatriyas are the warrior clan aka they rule the kingdoms and they make up the entire army. The Vaishyas are traders and business-people. The Sudras come under the lowest rung of the society. They were regarded untouchable and had to do menial tasks such as cleaning the entire village or were usually scavengers aka they clean the washrooms of the high caste people. Their lives were only a little better than that of a slave’s. This horrible caste system has been abolished since India achieved Independence in 1947.)
Daddy Chaturvedi was a postmaster in the town of Pratapgarh, but had lots of respect from many people due to his proficient knowledge in both academics and wrestling. But Baby Chaturvedi aka Pavan was a huge disappointment as he found it difficult to count beyond twenty and laughed during wrestling sessions because he finds it tickly.
So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that he takes ten years to pass his 10th Grade Examinations aka he’d written and re-written these examinations for ten years. And the result is that he passed out of School when he was twenty years of age. And then it took an additional ten years to pass his B.A. course. Daddy Chaturvedi had long given up on his son. So much so that when his son tells him that he passed his B.A. exams finally, he actually dies from the shock. Lol!
So our orphaned Bhajrangi sets off to Delhi to his dad’s friend DAYANAND’s (Sharat Saxena) house. There he encounters RASIKA (Kareena Kapoor), who also happens to be the daughter of Dayanand. They both fall in love and Dayanand sets a condition that unless Pavan finds a good house and employment for himself in six months, he won’t let them both marry.
तू चाहिए – Tu Chahiye (I Want You) by Atif Aslam. [Download]
And it’s in these six months that Pavan encounters Munni.
So, Pavan starts brainstorming on where she could possibly be from. He jumps to the conclusion that Munni is a Brahmin, because she has a fair-complexion. Based on her skin colour, he starts guessing where she could be from. Alas! All the possible places are rejected.
He takes her along with him to Dayanand’s house. There’s a rule in Dayanand’s house that people of religions other than Hinduism shouldn’t enter. So, Pavan explains his belief that Munni’s a Brahmin, so she finds a place in the home. But our Munni finds it tough to adjust to the Vegetarian dishes set in front of her, as Brahmins are strict Vegetarians.
And when she smells the aroma of Chicken wafting from the neighbouring house of a Muslim family, she doesn’t think twice before setting off. So, our poor Pavan gets a huge shock when he realizes that his Munni isn’t a Brahmin as he’d thought.
And so, he decides that she’s a Kshatriya, because Kshatriyas eat meat. But then Munni shocks him further by entering the mosque and doing Namaz as though she’s always known it.
And poor Pavan realizes that Munni’s actually a Muslim. Knowing that Dayanand will kick her out of the house if he gets to know that she’s a Muslim, Rasika and Pavan decide to hide the truth from him.
As Rasika and Pavan brainstorm on where Munni could possibly be from, an India v/s Pakistan Cricket Match is on-going on the T.V.
Everybody except Munni are cheering as Team India is winning. But in the end, it’s Team Pakistan who come out as victors.
And all hell breaks loose, as Munni runs forward to the screen and kisses the Pakistani Flag that the the fans are waving in the T.V.
Well, that gets Munni and Pavan kicked out of the house. And after some incidents, he decides to personally take her to Pakistan without a Visa and Passport.
Read it as smuggling themselves across the border of the two countries.
I love the movie for it’s innocence. Or rather, I love it because of Pavan’s innocence. His good nature is effervescent and rubs off on you through the screen.
Salman Khan has always had a huge screen presence, thanks to his gigantic fan base, but after a long time one gets to see him actually act. He’s put in the extra effort for this character of PAVAN, and it’s visible very clearly.
And Harshali Malhotra totally rocked it as MUNNI. Everybody falls in love with her cheekiness, her bright smile. And though she doesnt have any dialogue to speak, she steals the limelight from Khan very efficiently and with ease. A commendable performance from such a young debutante.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as CHAND NAWAB, deserves applause. It’s pretty clear in this movie why he’s such a strong character artiste.
The writer, Vijayendra Prasad too deserves a special mention, because this story’s one of the most well-written and tightly strung one that we’ve seen in recent times.
Kabir Khan, as the director, ensured that the screenplay doesn’t falter anywhere and this has to be the best film in his entire career. The music also has been apt and the OST is a very good collection of songs. Pritam, as the Music Director, has done a fabulous job.
All in all, watch Bhajrangi Bhaijaan and your heart will be touched for sure.