Will Salman Khan’s Indo-Pak flick Bajrangi Bhaijaan be released in Pakistan?

Published June 20, 2015
Kareena Kapoor, Salman Khan in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. — Screengrab
Kareena Kapoor, Salman Khan in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. — Screengrab

It's a question on our minds about this Eid: Will Salman Khan come to Pakistan... on the silver screen?

Since its release on Wednesday, the trailer of Khan’s upcoming drama film Bajrangi Bhaijaan has gone viral on the internet. We see Khan aka Bajrangi take the hand of a little Pakistani girl lost in India (who can’t say where she's from but can communicate the same through signs) and vow to take her back home.

In the past, Bollywood films that dealt with contentious issues like Kashmir and agencies — films like Ek Tha Tiger, Agent Vinod, Haider and Baby — have failed to make it to the cinemas in Pakistan. Will the fate of the well-intentioned Bajrangi Bhaijaan be any different?

It just might.

Should we anticipate Bajrangi Bhaijaan’s release?

Given the tumultuous relationship of Pakistan and India, especially in light of the recent exchange of heated words between officials last week, a film that touches on border politics is likely to be viewed unfavourably by the powers that be.

Yet from the trailer, we can tell that the the film might act as a harbinger of harmony and friendship.

Speaking to Dawn, film distribution company Everready Pictures' representative, Zain Wali said that he was extremely positive about the film’s release: “The film is set to release on Eid and this is 102 percent confirmed. There are no objections in the film and we are confident that it will make it to the cinemas with Bin Roye and other films.”

Past 'issues'

While Haider dealt with the heated Kashmir issue, espionage films Ek Tha Tiger and Agent Vinod were taken down because its allusions to Pakistan’s agencies.

“The reason censor board raised objections over Baby was because the film painted a controversial picture of Muslims," Wali further elaborates, "Bajrangi Bhaijaan is not against Pakistan and the trailer alone can give a clean-cut depiction of the message it is giving out.”

“Most importantly, we have faith that the film will see the light of the day in cinemas. The last stage regarding the release of any film, be it local or international, is the approval from censor board. We are positive that the film will not face any challenges in this regard because we haven’t heard anything dubious about it,” he added.

Still, keeping in mind our history of banning films, it is better to cross our fingers and hope for a Non-Objectionable Certificate (NOC). Only time will tell whether Bhaijaan will cross the border.

But whatever the reasons may be, whether the film may or not be available for the viewers, Bajrangi Bhaijaan is a movie that would draw audiences far and wide. Here are the reasons why:

Salman Khan:

Salman Khan as Bajrungi in 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan'
Salman Khan as Bajrungi in 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan'

Put these two words in a film’ s cast and rest assured that the film is bound to do sky-rocketing business. After his very filmi release from prison, Khan will be seen as a devout follower of Bajrangi Bali, who takes up the mission to escort a little girl back home. Heart-warming stuff.

Pakistan-India harmony:

A scene from the film.
A scene from the film.

Although many would be skeptical about the take on this sensitive issue, Bajrungi Bhaijaan doesn’t look like a film based on the war of egos; instead, it shows how an Indian helps a Pakistani child by taking a risk no one would take. In the trailer, we see the Pakistani girl wearing an Indian jersey and waving at a boy wearing the same, encouraging unity across cultures. How many films have we seen that aim to bring the two countries closer instead of creating a rift?

Picturesque landscape:

Bajrangi Bhaijaan will be a tale of a man who travels from India to Pakistan and there isn’t an inch of doubt that the journey would cover the heavenly landscapes in between, from snowcapped peaks and sandy dunes to lush green pastures. Accompanying these picturesque frames would be the different colours of the rich culture shared by both nations.

Return of the Bodyguard couple:

Kareena Kapoor in Bajrangi Bhaijaan
Kareena Kapoor in Bajrangi Bhaijaan

Kareena Kapoor, who was last seen with Salman in Bodyguard, will be appearing again as a traditional Indian woman. Kareena, who has taken up weak roles in the past, might come back into her comfort zone. Along with Salman Khan, she would too hop on the wagon to Pakistan to safely drop the little ‘Munni’.

The ballad by Atif Aslam:

Oh yes, the film does try to walk the talk as our own Atif Aslam will be lending his vocals to Bajrangi's musical score. Although he has sung for numerous flicks, this will be the first time that Atif would be singing for Salman. Rather it was Khan himself who suggested that Atif should sing 'Tu Chahiye', the love song featuring Salman and Kareena.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui as ‘popular’ news reporter?

Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the TV reporter. — Screengrab
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the TV reporter. — Screengrab

Rumour has it that Nawazuddin Siddiqui as a TV reporter in the film is actually a humourous take on a popular Pakistani one, whose video got viral after it was released some years ago. The hint of a video, in which the reporter gets irked by constant interruptions, can be seen in the trailer as Siddiqui shouts at the camera-person for moving the frame.



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