A World without Borders – A Bajrangi Bhaijaan perspective

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Sarjit Kaur | Roti for the Soul | 18 Aug 2015 | Asia Samachar |

 

Bajrangi Bhaijaan is worth watching. Salman Khan: outstanding.  Kareena Kapoor: modestly dressed in simple Punjabi suits. The movie deals with real issues, believable characters and circumstances you can relate to. Three hours passed so quickly, says our newly minted movie reviewer

Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor in Bajrangi Bhaijaan
Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor in Bajrangi Bhaijaan

From our seats, we were momentarily flown to scenic Kashmir Valley which lies between the Himalayan and Punjab mountain ranges. Hovering the various peaks, we absorbed in her majestic beauty and charm. Pure white snow covered jet black rocky mountains. A familiar voice interrupted my zoned view. “Can I have some popcorn, Mum?”

*****

After a special screening in Mumbai on 18 July, 2015, Aamir Khan tweeted “Just came out of Bajrangi Bhaijaan (BB). Outstanding! Salman Khan’s best film and performance till today. Amazing story, superb screenplay, heart-warming dialogues. And that little girl is too good – she steals your heart.”

Directed by Kabir Khan and produced by Salman Khan, BB features Kareena Kapoor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Harshaali Malhotra or Munni with special appearance by Om Puri. 

*****

BB has emerged as India’s runaway hit, breaking several box office records in India and abroad. It is currently the second highest-grossing Bollywood film after the 2014 blockbuster movie PK starring Aamir Khan.

BB is a timely movie for the world audience. A world so hungry for the powerful message it conveys. The time has come… To set aside our territorial confines. To end the war between us. To work towards human peace amidst our diversity.

While the movie dives into issues of war, territorial boundaries and differing religious practices between Pakistan and India, the challenges posed and lessons learned can be universally applied to any situation warranting liberation from control, be it at the community, state, national or global level. What is the magical element that binds them all?  In this movie, it suggests and propagates respect and love. Love for humanity unites and takes us there, as culminated in the final scene.

Bajrangi portrays a ‘Forest Gump’ character, naive and straight faced. A strong resemblance to Aamir Khan’s alien depiction in PK. It is through these innocent character and perspective, can the director bring seemingly sensitive questions to the table without appearing controversial: Questions on rationale and agility of religious practices against a backdrop of a multi-faith population; and questions on a bordered world we live in.

What I like about BB is – it deals with real issues, believable characters and circumstances you can relate to. Sometimes, going against conventional Bollywood norms. Certain must-have ingredients were absent. Salman Khan’s famed biceps were not visible until the last scene, which was refreshing. Yet, you can’t help falling in love with his simple yet defining character. He epitomises kindness, compassion and godliness.

Kareena or Rasika in this movie, was modestly dressed in simple Punjabi suits, no fancy outfits. Yet, her classic demeanour and naturally jewelled eyes mesmerize you. Om Puri, a Muslim priest shows Bajrangi by example, that true brotherhood exist even in diversity!

Their ‘falling in love’ episodes were down to earth comprising rickshaw rides along the nook and corner of Indian streets and markets and meaningful conversations at the utility rooftop. Having been on those same hot spots in India, you know this is for real!

Many a times, the director conveyed his message by getting the audience to read the cast’s teary and soulful eyes. That became the dialogue. It takes skilful acting to transfer those deep messages and somehow they all did it so expertly and convincingly. The 7 year old Munni definitely stole the show. My hunch is – a message so compelling to His creation, must have had divine intervention…

The movie while carrying a profound message, evokes sadness and empathy and at other times brings about a real good laugh. It has an awesome blend and balance.

Being an ardent photographer, I really appreciated the exquisite composition of various scenes. A picture within a scene! The camels walking on the desert in a similar pattern. Their stark footprint against smooth and endless desert surface. The shadow that fell on the ground. The birds eye view of the Himalayan Range.

The creative selfies and wefies. The dancing scene with a synchronised population looking above. The final scene shot at Sonmarg near the Tajiwas Glacier at 10,000 feet above sea level with thousands of people marching. All abiding photographic composition rules while having both – a top down and bottoms up approach! They all connect to the audience’s visual and emotional lens.

The melodious theme song Tu Jo Mila, while being catchy and moving, carries an insightful meaning. One man decides to abandon everything he had, to find the home of a long lost girl, who is speech impaired. Only to find out later, that the journey was never about her, but himself. All that he seemingly did for her, he did for himself. It boils down to serving humanity. The very purpose we are brought here on earth. When we serve others, we really serve ourselves…

Bajrangi was a late bloomer. Having failed his exams many times over, he was led to believe that he was not worthy. In fact, a zero! Sadly, over the years, the conditioning had set in. His belief in God was his greatest saving grace.

During the journey in finding Shahida’s home, he became aware of his ability. He began to discover his inner strength and warrior capabilities. While he pleaded and negotiated, he always remained true to the righteous path. A fundamental and apt message for our materialistic world!

The racial difference and projection of issues were cleverly highlighted in a criss-crossed plot. Being a Muslim, Salman chose to act as a Hindu, which lends credence. The vegetarian and non-vegetarian practices; stepping foot into a temple and mosque grounds and the rivalry between India and Pakistan in cricket matches, were some contrasting situations he had to deal with. He falls in love with Rasika. And saves a Brahmin, Munni whom he later finds out, turns out to be a Muslim, Shahida.

I must do justice to the ‘Tu Jo Mila’ song and share its beautiful meaning:

Your abode is my companionship

Hunting for your street, I found my home

Searching for your God, I found mine

Seeking for your happiness, I found joy

Since I met you, I’ve became capable

Even with a tough journey, the destination became easy

Because You are the heartbeat and I am the heart.

*****

Salman Khan runs a charitable organisation called ‘Being Human’. He plans to contribute part of his BB earnings to farmers, an action we applaud. We hope this CSR effort would bring some relief to the already suffering farmers including the incidence of farmer suicides arising among others, from high debt burdens.

This story reminds me of the 1971 enduring song entitled ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon. He asks – “Imagine a world with no countries, where everyone shares the universe. Then, there will be nothing to kill or die for. Imagine there is no religion nor possessions. Then, there will be no need for grief or hunger. And the world can live as one”.

From Hollywood to Bollywood, they are singing the same tune. A world without borders. People living life in peace. Living as one. Amidst all diversities. A melting pot that creates an equal society, harmonised as a whole.

*****

The climax scene at the Pakistan-India border was intense and soul touching. The people of Pakistan marched in solidarity to the border, to honour this amazing man from India who shook their country by storm! A man who took the road less travelled. And made it to the finishing line, despite all odds. His love, compassion and devotion to God brought him there. He was no match. He was not only Shahida’s hero, but their true icon. I couldn’t help but reflect on our beloved country…

This is one ending, you’d want to stay on in your seats until the guy, with or without the torch, gives you a times-up signal. The cast, acknowledgement and special thanks continued flowing on the screen with the captivating music in the background. Three hours passed so quickly. While wiping my tears, I turned to my left and right and saw both my movie mates tearing. “This is the best movie I have ever seen. Thanks, Mum!” they echoed.

 

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]

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Roti aka Chapati for the Soul is a collection of inspiring stories to nourish the soul. Sarjit Kaur takes you to her world momentarily, across her life journey. She currently works in Bursa Malaysia Derivatives.

 

FROM THE SAME AUTHOR:

Journeying Incredible India – Part 2  (Asia Samachar, 8 Aug 2015)

Journeying Incredible India – Part 1 (Asia Samachar, 6 Aug 2015)

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The Secrets of Dreams and Gratitude (Asia Samachar, 19 Dec 2014)

The Steps of Life (Asia Samachar, 3 Dec 2014)

 

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