Last thing we have ever heard something similar to “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” was Parvati Khan.
Khan is a Pop singer-cum-model who sang the popular song “Jimmy Jimmy Aaja” in the 1982 Bollywood hit movie Disco Dancer. Ironically, the singer courted controversy once by offering prayers in Varanasi’s famous lord Shiva temple, Kashi Vishwanath.
Parvati is the name of Lord Shiva’s wife. Where as Khan, originally a Mongol and subsequently Central Asian surname for a sovereign or military ruler, is now a common Muslim last name in the sub-continent.
Similarly Bajragni is another name of Lord Hanuman, and Bhaijaan is an Urdu world for brother.
Both the names are perfect amalgamation of Hindu Mulsim unity in India. However, this is not the case at the ground level in the country of more than 1.25 bn having around 18% of Muslim Population.
Hindu and Muslim, despite living together in India for over centuries, still do not cross the invincible yet sacred religious line. Any attempt of crossing over often culminates into controversy, or may be devastating riots. The society in large has made no attempts to sort out the differences between the two communities, in the past.
Bollywood, under these circumstances, seems to be the only hope for this world’s largest democracy. It seems to be the space where Indians do not let religion come into picture.
Khan’s, including Aamir, Shah Rukh, Salman, are ruling the bollywood for the last more than two decades and half. They have a fan following among both the communities and their religion was never a hindrance for them. It was treated as their personal affair, the way it should be.
However, it is the same Hindi movie industry where once a talented actor like Muhammed Yusuf Khan has to choose a screen name ‘Dilip Kumar” so that the populous Hindu audience connect and like him.
In the first teaser of the movie “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” Salman Khan, son of Muslim father and Hindu mother, playing a devotee of lord Hanuman is out in Pakistan to help a Muslim girl to locate her parents.
When Nawazuddin Siddiqui asked Khan “ Iskay Abu or ammi ko khojo gay kaise? (How you will you manage find her parents?)
“Bajrangbali hai na”, was Khan’s quick reply.
Siddiqui, surprised and asked “ Yaha Pakistan mai bhi”. (Here in Pakistan too?) Followed by a perplexed expression on Salman’s face.
Even the date of the movie release is quite interesting.
The movie is being released on the coming Eid, the prominent Muslim festival.
Imagine a movie where Khan is playing a Bhakt of Hindu god is being released on a Muslim festival. Indian as a nation might tolerate this because it is a movie. However, protest of right wing political party cannot be ruled out.
As Chuck Palahniuk, American novelist and journalist once said “The first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in. to write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art.”
Movies like Bajrangi Bhaijaan can help us paint a world in reel life where Hindus and Muslims can live in peace and harmony. Irrespective of its Box office fate Bajrangi Bhaijaan could be a stepping stone in the right direction.