Contributed by Deepit Bakshi
Bajrangi Bhaijaan was a runaway hit.
So, was all the hoopla worth it? I would say yes.
The template remains pretty much similar to Salman’s films, ever since he got christened as the ‘Bhai’ of Bollywood.
A mute one-in-a-million-year-cute Pakistani kid ‘Munni’ comes to India ,gets off the train en route to her homeland and eventually misses it. It must have been a conscious ode to Kareena Kapoor’s Geet, since firstly she has as much here as Virat Kohli in the Wimbledon,secondly because that’s among her very few works people are likely to remember.
We are worried. How will our cutie-pie find her parents or survive in the alien land. Who will protect her?
Come on, Koi to Khuda ka Banda hoga.
The tempo rises, followed by a series of shots a. left bicep b. chest muscles. c. right bicep d. butt.
Bhaijaan, a Bajrang Bali devotee , takes forward herefrom. Munni couldn’t have asked for bigger or safer hands. He is as much on amino acids,as on virtues. It could well have been as cardboard as his Alok in Baghban. Bajrangi is far more endearing nonetheless.
Not just because he is incorruptible ,but because he starts off with limitations.
Much like Gotham’s hero did.
Gotham may not have required the symbol in itself, had Master Wayne not cajoled Thomas into leaving the auditorium; a scuffle outside claiming Wayne Sr.
On similar lines, Pawan could have been a bit sincere and required something less than eleven takes. Senior Bajrang would have avoided the shocker and Pawan might not have landed in Delhi or Kurukshetra .Or may be he would have,a matter of speculation. But ,heroes are heroes. They unknowingly lay the premise,wherefrom they would find themselves bumping into impediments, which they would of course clear, unscathed.
Concealing a pistol into the courtroom, Bruce begins naive. With the belief that justice to his parents’ murder could be restored with the simple expedient of firing a shot into the killer as a Plan B if the convict was out on parole, he hits his lowest.
Tired of societal pressures of sheltering a Pakistani and the improbability of Indo-Pak relations becoming benign, Salman hands the kid over to Maharaja travels , who claims of sources in illegal migrations and promises to escort her back home.Much to Munni’s dislike. Rude.
Absolution time . As Bruce learns more about the real reasons behind the city’s downward spiral ,he decides to take it upon himself to save Gotham . Bajrangi accidentally decodes the Taj Mahal Hotel scheme, brings things in equilibrium through a string of suplex-es and rescues Munni . Becomes her Bhaijaan .
While in the process Bruce faces his big fear, bats, and learns to pick himself up , the hunky Bhakt ,who although continues to genuflect each time he spots a monkey, makes amends with Mohamedans and chicken. Or Shahid Bhai(Afridi).
Next is the modus operandi . Bruce becomes the caped vigilante for Gotham. Bajrangi decides to cross over, just for the sake of Munni’s reunion.
Bajrangi has no super villain to boast of, but still manages brownie points as he faces a seven decade rivalry ,which has claimed more lives than the cumulative potential of Ra’as Al Ghul, Joker and Bane. League of Shadows may have had taken down Rome, burnt London to ashes. That’s half of Kashmir’s population. Hold on, add Lahore to it.
He seeks permission from border security and enters Pakistan . Soon come in the Cranes and Falcones , predictably not withstanding an Indian Hindu infiltrator.
Bajrangi becomes mistaken for a spy.
As Bruce finds himself imprisoned ,he undertakes a number of climbs with a rope ,every attempt ending in despair. Bajrangi too tries to convince his motive. Alas. When Gotham looks helplessly at a Herculian Bane declaring war with a neutron bomb, Arkham asylum sentencing enforcement forces with a choice of ‘Exile or Death’, must her hero rise. Parallels. The breaking stress for Bhaijaan comes when the Pak policeman tries manhandling Munni. Wayne’s ascent comes big ,without the rope, fellow inmates rooting. Bhaijaan’s punch tosses people over tables,the little angel smiling. A true Deshi Basara sequence.
Batman would have failed miserably had there not been a Gordon. Be it derailing the train, locating Bane’s bomb ,pinning the Joker down, Gordon’s services were imperative.
Much akin to Chand Nawab here. Bhaijaan had the wish, Nawab showed the way.
After his “Scarecrow” moments like sleeping in a mosque, Bajrangi-Nawab are finally aboard to see the kid home . Does the hero get through so easily ? Naah …
Meanwhile as the army is scrutinizing every vehicle ,the all important bus arrives. Given the muscles, Bhai could have easily taken on, but he chooses not to be visceral. Because he’s the hero Munni deserves but not the one she needs right now. So he chooses to be hunted, being chased. Because he can take it.
At the end, does Batman become a savior, a superhero or an epitome of virtue inspiring people to bring about a resurrection? He becomes partially both. Courtesy theatrics its tough not to consider him a cut above the rest.
But Bhaijaan becomes more of the metaphor because the plot-device places him in what could have been had people been this good scenarios way too often. As the wise men said, sometimes the truth isn’t enough. Take the climax.
I know the analogies with Batman have been thoroughly reductionist. But how not to be, for something that’s meant to be crude.
Set in the political background that is suffocatingly serious , the film is too sunny. It’s better than most pretentious pricks still, simply because it never tries to establish a point .
Moving on from Bruce Wayne, if you have really followed Bollywood, Bajrangi should make you nostalgic. At least, I was.
It is reminiscent of the Salman who catapulted into stardom with his adorable charm. I do not recall any swagger when he moonwalked in Maine Pyar Kiya, or teased Arbaaz in Pyaar kiya to Darna Kya. Remember Bade Bhaiyya. Or say lost in rubik cube to mere kaale mere peele Aditya Narayan( Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai). Who can forget Chaudhari & Sons from Andaaz Apna Apna. Its only a later point in his career that he became this poor man’s Rajnikant a.k.a. Bhai.
Till then, 650 odd crores in the box office..