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Bhaiyya Ji movie review: Aage badho Bhaiyya

Updated on: 25 May,2024 07:26 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Mohar Basu |

I am told it’s a landmark movie—Bajpayee’s 100th. For a man who is arguably the best actor around lately, that is a letdown

Bhaiyya Ji movie review: Aage badho Bhaiyya

Bhaiyya Ji

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Bhaiyya Ji movie review: Aage badho Bhaiyya

Movie: Bhaiyya Ji
U/A: Action, crime, drama
Director: Apoorv Singh Karki
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Vipin Sharma, Zoya Hussain
Rating: 1.5/5

For the past few years, Bollywood movies have been confused about what makes for a good film. My theory has been that a great movie is a product of sharp minds working in tandem, executing some brilliant material impeccably. I thought of this while watching the Manoj Bajpayee-starrer Bhaiyya Ji. It was also my recurring thought during last week’s Srikanth, headlined by a flawless Rajkummar Rao. What does one make of flawless performances in movies that don’t elevate themselves to match the genius of their leads? Bhaiyya Ji is disappointing. I didn’t care for it enough to call it heartbreaking, but I sure felt how wasteful it was to have Bajpayee give his all to a film that didn’t do him enough justice. I am told it’s a landmark movie—Bajpayee’s 100th. For a man who is arguably the best actor around lately, that is a letdown. 

At its best, Bhaiyya Ji is dull, and at worst, it lacks the punch of being called a masala fare. It doesn’t have Rohit Shetty’s skill to manipulate the audience into melodrama, nor is it slick like Atlee’s Jawan (2023). Films like the Singham franchise or Jawan work not because of their plot but because of how they make the audience feel. On that count, this leaves you feeling passive. I completely understand what compelled Bajpayee to try it out. As a man who has evaded the wave and stereotypes and created his niche as an actor who is so sure of his craft, he is now in a phase where he doesn’t see the harm in doing something outlandish. What’s the worst that can happen? It won’t work. Given the volume of work in his hands, Bajpayee is comfortable with a misfire here and there. It’s far better than the regret of not attempting it at all. 

Bhaiyya Ji follows the well-known prototype. It could easily have been called KGF 10 or Pushpa Reloaded, considering it has the same syntax. It’s an action film that could be deemed a desi John Wick with action pieces choreographed by Fefsi Vijayan, known for crafting Salman Khan’s action in Wanted (2009). At the script level, Bajpayee probably gave into his whim and said, “Yaar mazaa aayega!” Well, his mazaa clearly shows. Every time he is on screen, he seems to be having a ball. But this revenge drama isn’t even half as enjoyable for us. The problem is two-fold. A close look at the actor’s filmography will tell you that we have come to expect originality from him. Even his most outrageous film, which I believe is Shirish Kunder’s Mrs Serial Killer (2020)—although he disagrees—could be labelled terrible but still has some novel thinking. Secondly, we have a fatigue of this genre. How many times can we watch the same story, the same heroes with a God complex, peppered with gore, grit, and grime? Having watched every form, shape, and size of it, the cheers have subsided. All that’s left are yawns!

To summarise its two hours and very many minutes, the death of his younger brother at the hands of a local politician’s son leads Bhaiyya Ji to go on a killing spree. We are told, ‘Yeh Robinhood nahin, uska baap hai.’ So, Daddy Robinhood, with his bloodshot eyes, wreaks havoc. There is hand-to-hand combat, with kattas drawn at each other in slow motion, colourful language with badly scored loud background music. The performances can’t be faulted here. Vipin Sharma gets some great lines to deliver a memorable performance. Zoya Hussain is striking. It was a treat watching Suvinder Vicky. And Bajpayee shines like he always does. 

I am not calling this his worst, but this might be his most banal outing in recent times. The film takes itself so seriously that there is zero room for fun. It has no wisecracks, no sharp banter with the audience, and nothing that gives it an original voice. If it had cried a little less and joined us in laughing at it, this film might have landed. Director Apoorv Singh Karki might want to refer to the Anirudh Iyer-directed An Action Hero (2022)—a similar story but with a new twist.

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