The much-loved Bollywood blockbuster Bajrangi Bhaijaan, starring Salman Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Harshali Malhotra completes six years of its release on Saturday. The film, helmed by Kabir Khan, revolves around Pawan Chaturvedi’s, also called Bajrangi (Khan), journey to reunite a child named Munni with her parents in Pakistan.
Though many call the 2015 release a cross-border story, director Khan made it about the boundaries that are drawn within the country based on religion or caste. After the film’s success in 2015, he talked and shared how he managed to pack it with strong political statements.
“I feel strongly about unity, secularism and people-to-people friendship. I’m a product of a mixed marriage. Growing up, I saw the celebration of both cultures. How can right wingers claim Bajrang Bali as theirs? He’s mine too. I played the role of Lord Hanuman in a school play. It bothers me to see how we are becoming increasingly intolerant. Why can’t a Muslim say Jai Shri Ram? Or why can’t a Hindu say Assalamualaikum?” the director said.
He added, “I will not become a lesser Muslim if I say Jai Shri Ram. We can harp about progress and development but if the secular fabric of our country gets damaged, then nothing can sustain us. I wanted to discuss the Hindu-Muslim issue and to bring it all out in the mainstream consciousness, I needed Salman’s superstardom. He also feels strongly about secularism and instantly agreed to the film.”
Bajrangi Bhaijaan was lauded for its sensitive portrayal of India-Pakistan relations while retaining its sharp political commentary.