Wednesday, August 05, 2015

It's time to say goodBhai

"So which movie are you going to see?" My sis-in-law asked.

She was going to babysit Xena while Viv and I went on one of our really rare dates -- to the movie theatre.

Oh no. She'd asked. Now I'd have to tell her.

So I did. And I appended four of these monkeys to my answer.

I was that embarrassed.

You see, I was going for Bajrangi Bhaijaan. I was going for a Salman Khan movie. Me, the big Salman and Kareena hater, was going for a Salman and Kareena movie. In the theatre. With Viv. Achhe achhe theatres mein achhi achhi movies mein sone wala Viv.

"Lols," wrote back the sis-in-law. "I'll hold this over your head for ages."

Okay, now allow me to explain myself. A friend of mine who watched the movie sent me an excited message, telling me she loved it. But then she'd also loved Dil Dhadakne Do, which I didn't love all that much, so I was still a little cynical. So I decided to check my reliable reviewer Raja Sen's review. Here's what the opening paragraph said:
"Bajrangi Bhaijaan is an overearnest, oversimplified, sweet and frequently schlocky film, which works because of a finely picked supporting cast, some sharp lines of dialogue and, most crucially, its overall heart."
The word 'heart' caught my attention. It had been a loooong time since I watched a movie with a 'heart'. The Munnabhai series, perhaps. Add to the fact that I'd liked all of Kabir Khan's previous movies - Kabul Express, New York and even Ek Tha Tiger. So I decided not to read the review any further, and just go for it. Just me. I was sure Viv would either hate it or fall asleep, and I didn't want to risk dragging him or another friend along in case they hated it. It was a Salman Khan movie, after all. Even I, the all-forgiving Bollywood lover, can barely stand him anymore. But then over the next few days, I kept coming across positive words about the movie and I decided to risk it and invite Viv. After all, he had really liked New York too. To my surprise, he readily agreed.

And so we went, without reading any detailed reviews, and without any real big expectations. And how the movie surprised and delighted us!

No doubt, it is an oversimplified and predictable masala movie, but it is utterly engrossing. What amazed me is that there was an actual story (remember the days when movies used to have actual stories?) and that I actually cared about the characters. (Not Kareena though. I cared about her in Jab We Met, but nothing before or after that.) Gosh, where did they find that kid? Apparently, she was selected out of 5000 little girls who auditioned for the role. She's not only got a perfectly innocent and adorable face, she was able to emote so well. For someone who is practically in every frame of the movie, but has only two lines of dialogue, she was uh-mazing to say the least. Star of the movie, no less. (I just hope she doesn't grow up and do item numbers like most cute child artists end up doing. Or end up as a heroine opposite Salman in 10 years. I don't know which is worse.)

Next up - Salman Khan. I can't quite remember at what point I started disliking him, but I remember really liking him in the good old days. You know, when his body and shirt were not ripped? Remember Maine Pyar Kiya, when he was scrawny and so likeable? Remember Hum Aapke Hain Koun when he was not so scrawny, but even more likeable than before? And then remember the not-at-all-scrawny and not-at-all-likeable Salman of the 21st century? Okay, so his Bajrangi kind of reminded me of the good old days when I really really liked him. (Actually, frankly speaking, after watching HAHK I think I was head over heels in like with him.) It was just refreshing not to see him rip off his shirt, do some silly dance moves and send goons flying in every direction. Now that I think about it, there was a shirtless scene, and some silly dance moves ("Selfie le le"? Seriously?) and some goons also flew but there was none of that 'No matter what I do, it's a 100-crore movie, baby' air.

I came back and read Raja Sen's full review, and I couldn't agree more when he wrote, "This may well be a Kabir Khan film, but for all those who wished to see Salman Khan in a Raju Hirani project, consider that mission accomplished."

The Pakistan parts of the movie made me so so so nostalgic about my trip there, though it's been almost 9 years! As I was telling Viv, I totally bought how the people there were helping Bajrangi. Indians really get a lot of bhaav from the people of Pakistan. At least from my experience. During my trip, everyone was super nice and super chatty whenever they found out I was an Indian.

What I didn't like about the movie were the extremely wahiyaat songs. What on earth was Pritam doing? Original compositions maybe. The movie would have been much shorter and crisper without the musical interruptions. The only saving grace was KK's 'Tu jo mila', which was anyway meant to be a background song.

The other thing they could have done away with was the little girl saying 'Jai Shri Ram' at the end. Gaaahhhh too gimmicky. The 'mama' part was still believable, as 'mama' is indeed one of the first few words that babies say when they're getting started on talking, but 'Jai Shri Ram' was a bit too much.

And then there was Kareena. Loved her Manish Malhotra outfits, but she looked scary. I didn't know what it was, whether it was her ghostly make-up, or the way she made her eyes all round and scary whenever she was happy/scared/angry/crying, but she was hard to look at.

The rest of the cast was excellent, and I especially found the little girl's mom's performance very moving. And Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the reporter was rocking as usual. Many of you might have watched this hilarious and viral video of a Karachi reporter. Omg, they recreated the exact scene and even retained the names of the reporter and cameraman in the movie! It was hilarious!

The movie is a full on masala entertainer, but in a good way. Viv not only stayed awake throughout the entire 2.5 hours of the movie, he said he really liked it.

And me? I don't ask for too much. Give me a good story, give me characters I care about, give me some good laughs and an occasional lump in my throat, and I'm a happy happy Bolly-loving girl.


Anonymous said...

I loved the movie Sayesha. I had not expected this from a Salman Khan movie, in a long long time...and i just LOVED Nawazuddin!! I guess I have a crush on him after having watched almost all his movies...isn't he just superb!!...Btw..i liked the songs..:)..that chicken vaala and the quawaali type song by Adnan Sami- they are

Prathima said...

Thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Call it over-simplified but it's the simplicity that really works in this case. Very refreshing compared to the repetitive goods that were coming from Bollywood factory of late. Agree with you on Kareena's ghostly appearance.

Hey, where is SSSK these days?

ferret said...

I love your movie reviews!!
Ditto on movie with a 'heart', that's my favourite kind of movie. I'm hardly impressed with the best action sequence, graphics, grandeur or anything else, the movie should have a heart!
And, as i was reading the post and it came to the part about Pakistan, the first thought that came to mind was 'OMG! has it really been 9 years since you visited Pakistan, and we got to read about it all!! 9 years, gosh that's a long time! The years are really short..'

ferret said...

Oh one more thing, since you mentioned Nawazuddin, if you haven't watched it yet, you must watch Bombay Talkies for the story featuring Nawazuddin, he's brilliant and so is Dibakar Banerjee.

Sayesha said...

I think Nawazuddin is also a favourite of Kabir Khan's. He was there in a tiny role in New York too, and he totally nailed it. I'd not seen him before that and I was like "Omg who is this actor?? He's fab!" Now I'm pretty sure I've watched all his movies.

I briefly considered doing an SSSK style post on this movie, but loved it too much to wait. :P Hope she resurfaces soon!

Ditto! I actually went back to my Pak post to see how many years it's been. Almost a decade omg! Thanks for sticking around yaar! Can't believe I still have bewdas from that long ago! :)
PS: Yes, I've watched Bombay Talkies. :D

CookieCrumbsInc. said...

I know what you mean, I was poohpoohing the movie despite the rave reviews but it really is one sweet movie. Now, if only they had done away with the dramatics.

P.S: That kid is the cutest thing ever.

Art said...

I am yet to watch it.. heard its good..

About the kid.. she looks so cute... I always thought I have seen her somewhere else.. and then read somewhere, she has acted in one of the serials.. And that's when I remembered... But the kid's dialog delivery was horrible in that serial.. nearing to irritating...
I am yet to see the movie..also hope that whenever she speaks in the movie.. its good enough :)

Beena Venugopal said...

If you have 3 hours to spare , please go for the ultimate masala entertainer of the year, Bahubali !!! :D

Arun said...

Finally saw a hour's segment of Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Failure in the story - Pavan Kumar Chaturvedi seems to be quite clueless about Hanuman. Even though the Sundarakanda is the most read part of the Ramayana, especially in Hindi-speaking areas.

When Hanuman went to Lanka to find Sita, he did not ask Ravana's permission. After jumping across the sea to reach Sri Lanka, and reaching the northern gates of the city:


"Hanuman decides that he must find out whether Sita is alive or not first, and there after he can decide the course of action.

And he starts thinking about how to enter the city in search of Sita.

He says to himself:

“In my present form I will never be able to enter the Rakshasa City guarded by fierce and powerful Rakshasas.”

The Rakshasas have fierce energy, great valor and enormous strength. I have to deceive them all if I have to search for Janaki.”

Hence taking inconspicuous form I shall enter city of Lanka by the night. That is the proper time for me to accomplish the task.”

“...By what means can I find Janaka's daughter Maithili without being seen by Ravana's Rakshasas? ....Even if I were to assume the form of Rakshasa it would be impossible to pass unnoticed by Rakshasas. What chance would I have in any other form?...If I remain in my natural size I will be noticed and my master's mission will fail. Therefore retaining my natural shape I shall make myself very small and enter Lanka at night in order to accomplish Rama's mission...".

After sunset Hanuman contracted his size to that of a cat....


Arun said...

I should have called it an epic failure!