It's A Salman Film!
It's A Nawaazuddin Film!
It's A Harshaali Film!
Now Bring On The Violins!
A Salman Khan movie is usually a shirt tearing mara-mari fest. But Kabir Khan manipulates us all into sniffling into our handkerchiefs and gives Salman his Andaz Apna Apna vulnerability back. Plus Nawazuddin and the little kid are simply brilliant.
Bring on the violins? Did I not buy extra popcorn to throw at the screen when the shirt comes off? What is going on? This is a Salman Khan film, isn't it?
Oh yes, it is! But you'll find wads of tissue on the floors instead of popcorn. In fact there is no need to buy any corn (topped with cheese) because there's more corny, cheesy stuff on screen rather than ever before. You know you are being shepherded into a story that has more aman ki asha, peoples of two nations holding hands across barbed wires so don't you dare gag kind of stuff than anyone has dreamed of, but you don't mind it. Not one bit!
I did not take my usual pack of tissues because it's a Salman film. That means it has thodee story, thode laughs, and lots and lots of mara mari. And yes, room for whistles and claps the moment he makes an entry and when his shirt comes off.
But I found myself frantically and judiciously using the lone tissue that came with the multiplex coffee. The air-conditioning helped dry the tissue so it could be used again... And again.
Am I being sarcastic? Not at all. Logic knows you are being manipulated. Awww! Wake up mommy! We worry! The child is lost! Awwww! The child watches Bajrangi dance, there's hope! (By the way, everybody watches Bajrangi dance. You don't think that his gulaal stained shirt is so-oh staged to make him look hawt... You're just going, 'Awwww! Look at man-mountain with that little kid! I would also hold his hand in a mela like that one and pretend I'm lost!'
Your logic is stabbed to death by the cuteness of both these characters.
So cute Salman is! He's wearing kurtas! His muscles look so awesome! He looks like a wide bodied Airbus. But he's so cute because he's somehow got that Andaz Apna Apna vulnerability back. No Dabanng wala arrogance. No added style. He's just a humble, so humble Logic resurrected and got stabbed in the eye again! And, he's so cute, you think even the mosquito coil in his hands becomes cute.
Speaking of cuteness, there's an overload of it because of the little girl who is lost. Now movie kids are obnoxious. Usually. But in this movie, this kid is really, really cute. Especially cute, because, as a fellow critic rightly said, 'She's cute because she does not speak.'
Nawazuddin shines on screen because he does a YouTube viral video imitation better than the original and then carries that same dementedness, the same dogged need to get a saleable story on air (Aaah! They understood the 'vyatha', the pain of a freelance journalist! That's a huge chunk of population there... the small unrecognised people... brilliantly manipulated again!)
If you saw the video, you'll realise Nawazuddin's character is called Chand Nawab even in the movie...
No more of the story. You just go see it. As someone unkindly said, you are being generous because it's the last Salman movie you will see should be be sent to jail. I'm just glad it is not the awful spread the joy, give back to the community kind of puke-inducing rubbish he made and called it Jai Ho.
The movie is beautifully shot, and you wish it were as easy to travel to those pristine parts of Kashmir today without the threat of guns...
Also it was a pleasure to see Kashmiri theater actor Bhawani Bashir Yasir play the part of a village elder. Kareena Kapoor cries and cries in the movie and is quite forgettable even though she acts as Bajrangi's conscience, shows him right from wrong...
Yes, the script is manipulative, but you don't mind listening to 'love is bigger than doctrine', 'all religions are good', 'people are misunderstood', politicians are bad' kind of aman ki asha stuff. It is a natural part of the script. And the little kid is so cute, and Salman Khan is so cute and Nawaazuddin is so nice (no over the top hamming like he did in Badlapur), you are happy to be a part of their journey.
You don't mind the no mara mari bit at all. In fact, the shirt off, beating up scenes look too melodramatic in the movie. And it won't matter that you know and I know that You Tube is banned in Pakistan.
But what a Salman Khan film this is. Quite hat-ke. Worth a watch in the theaters, and when it comes to the telly. Because the kid is so cute and Nawaaz is so awesome and you love Salman Khan's muscles and his cuteness and also how he looks hawt in Kurtas...
Okay, Manisha. Breathe. Let the violins of manipulation playing in your head stop. And step carefully over tissues littering the floor of the theater. Thank God it's not some sticky popcorn this time... Also look away from logical people who shake their heads in disbelief when they see your teary eyes. Sniff!
When the cash registers ring and ring and ring, I do hope the filmwallahs will learn that a soppy story is wayyyy better than the beat 'em, punch 'em loud sounds cops and really horrid raping pillaging villains stories remade from the South...
P.S. People from both sides of the border will watch this movie and sniffle. So there!
P.S. The chicken dance is crap.