Sunday, April 2

Somewhat addle-headed Indian Hindu sets out to help Pakistani Muslim mute. Chaos ensues

I've removed the link to the video of the movie at YouTube because a reader reported that the video was blocked with a "private video" message. More discussion about this at the end of this post.
"In sequences of flashbacks, it is revealed that Bajrangi has been a disappointment to his father after failing his school exams ten times. When he finally graduates on his eleventh try, his father dies of shock."

[laughing] It's really, really hard to describe the plot of the Indian movie "Bajrangi Bhaijaan" (Brother Bajrangi) in a few words. But the gist is that without benefit of passports or visas, a Brahmin of very little ambition but big heart who is a great devotee of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman undertakes to return a lost mute six-year old Muslim Pakistani girl to Pakistan and locate her family there, and gets mistaken by the Pakistani authorities as a spy for India. 

Not to worry, it all has a happy ending. But I don't think the producers could have imagined what a hit they would have with the film.

In October 2015 the (July 2015 release) film, co-produced by Indian superstar actor Salman Khan and starring Salman as Bajrangi -- 
... was broadcast on Star Gold and became the most watched Bollywood movie in the history of television. It had 15.5 TRP in its world television premier, beating the previous record held by the film 3 Idiots. The film was nominated for Best Film and Best Actor in the 61st Filmfare Awards, as well as other categories, and bagged the Filmfare Award for Best Story. The film has garnered the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment at the 63rd National Film Awards.
... and currently is the second highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time in domestic markets and second highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time in international markets. ... [Wikipedia]
I came across this movie gem through my newfound love of Sufi music when I noticed at YouTube that a famous qawwali by the Sabri Brothers, "Bhar Do Jholi Mer (ya Muhammad)," was featured in a movie clip. The movie version is sung by an Indian superstar in his own right, Adnan Sami -- singer, actor, musician, and composer --who's been dubbed "the Sultan of Music" by the Indian news media. 

But Adnan had no experience singing qawwalis; at the insistence of Salman Khan he gave it a try for "Bajrangi Bhaijaan." He turned in a fine performance, and with very few changes to the original version of the classic.

From this particular YouTube clip of the performance, which includes scenes from the movie, and from the movie trailer, another delight of "Bajrangi Bhaijaan" is its cinematography of the spectacular Kashmir scenery.  (Aseem Mishra is the film's director of cinematography.) 

Two notes about the film scenes in the music clip: the man helping Bajrangi is a Pakistani journalist who got involved in the odyssey.  The upset-looking woman is the mute child's mother, but she doesn't realize the child is at the shrine and vice versa.)

A note about Hazrat Nizamuddin, the Sufi mausoleum in India briefly shown in the movie, which the mute girl and her mother visit in hopes for a blessing that will restore the girl's voice, lost in a traumatic fall. The daragh also features in the 2011 Indian movie "Rockstar." For a tomb it's a very cheery place where qawwalis are always being sung, and the complex around the tomb is a bustling little town unto itself, as you can see in the "Rockstar" clip at YouTube featuring the qawwali "Kun Faya Kun."  

  Hazrat Nizamuddin ... is the dargah (mausoleum) of one of the world's most famous Sufi saints, Hazrat Khwaja Syed Nizamuddin Auliya (1238 - 1325 CE). Situated in the Hazrat Nizamuddin West area of Delhi, the dargah is visited by thousands of Muslims every week, and sees a fair share of Hindus, Christians and people from other religions. The tombs of poet Hazrat Amir Khusro and Mughal princess Jehan Ara Begum are also located within the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah complex, and Inayat Khan's tomb is just around the corner. [Wikipedia]
More re the movie video at YouTube: 

 As I noted in my discussion (now deleted) about that particular (High Definition) video, it had English subtitles but the 'quality' of the video wasn't good, at least not on my browser. By this I meant that the frames at the extreme right and bottom were cut off.  

However, the video is still watchable and it's the only one I've found at YouTube that has complete English subtitles. So if you want to watch that particular video, access it directly from the YouTube site.

The title of the video:

"bajrangi bhaijaan with English Subtitles Best Quality (HD)"
Uploaded by "Bollywood World"
Length 3:12:27

An earlier version I watched  had 5 second ads breaking into the film two or three times but only during the first half hour; those who use ad blockers for YouTube of course won't have the problem.

I think your best bet is just to buy or rent the movie, but I can't recommend a seller because the options I've seen online are bewildering to me. And there seems to be no assurance from these sellers that the English subtitles are any good. 

I did watch the entire movie yesterday. It's definitely worth the effort to watch but for audiences that don't speak Hindi, how to watch it is the question


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