‘The Great Indian Family’ movie review – Yash Chopra, a legendary figure in the Indian film industry, indeed highlighted secular themes in his movies, emphasizing the importance of unity in diversity, especially in a country as diverse as India.
Revisiting such themes becomes even more critical in times when a nation grapples with divisions, be it due to religion, caste, or other societal constructs. If Yash Raj Films or any other banner chooses to recycle or reintroduce these themes for a new generation, it showcases the timeless nature of such topics and the cyclical challenges societies face.
Cinema has always been a mirror to society, and by re-emphasizing unity and diversity, filmmakers can play an essential role in promoting harmony and understanding among different communities. The song “Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalman Banega” is a poignant reminder of our shared humanity beyond religious and cultural differences.
If this is the premise or backdrop for a discussion or an article, it could delve deeper into specific instances from movies, analyze the changing socio-political landscapes, and highlight the role of cinema in shaping public perception and fostering unity.
Born on December 7 in Balrampur, near Ayodhya, Ved Vyas Tripathi (Vicky Kaushal) is the son of the esteemed Hindu priest Kumud Sharma. Popularly known as Bhajan Kumar, Ved is a renowned bhajan singer. However, he feels discontented with his reputation, as even young admirers only view him with reverence. Despite his harmonious musical background, Ved is oblivious to the essence of bigotry.
He casually associates himself with a self-proclaimed anti-Majnu group that takes pleasure in reprimanding Muslim boys. A chance encounter with this group unexpectedly introduces him to a talented Sikh performer (Manushi Chhillar), with whom his life starts to take an unexpected turn.
Just as Ved prepares to harmonize in a duet, he uncovers the truth about his birth: he is the child of a Muslim mother. This revelation shakes his world. Threats from a competing priest (Yashpal Sharma) and the mounting societal pressures faced by his uncle (Manoj Pahwa) complicate matters.
Ved embarks on a journey of cultural rediscovery, guiding the audience along. The film’s strength lies in its impeccable casting and sharp editing, which subtly convey the underlying message without overt preachiness.
Vicky, embodying the quintessential boy-next-door, skillfully merges charisma with deep emotion, shining alongside accomplished actors like Kumud and Manoj. Manoj, in particular, excels as Balak, the doting uncle torn between love for his nephew and societal pressures, symbolizing the common man’s dilemma in a divided society. Ashutosh Ujjwal and Bhuvan Arora add a refreshing dynamic as Ved’s friends.
Targeting an audience unfamiliar with inter-faith friendships and whose perceptions are molded by social media, writer-director Vijay Krishna Acharya shifts from his usual flamboyant style (seen in Dhoom and Tashan) to address prevalent stereotypes. The film, a blend of social drama and satire, shines a light on the insidious prejudice permeating everyday chatter, yet maintains the gravity of its central theme.
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The Tripathi family’s decision to vote on religious practices and complex family matters underscores the inherent democratic ethos of their faith. Bhajan Kumar’s invitation to Kanhaiya to interact through Twitter, coupled with his appeal for embracing the digital age in a catchy tune by Pritam, highlights the progressive and adaptive nature of their religion, resonating with the contemporary era.
Krishna deftly sprinkles key terms that address the burgeoning prejudice in the “new generation of a changing India”. This generation, filled with preconceived notions, might venture into a local community aiming for a metaphorical “surgical strike”, only to be taken aback upon recognizing someone they’ve watched perform in the Ramleela.
A notable segment in the narrative follows Ved’s journey as he attempts to embrace Muslim customs, from altering his wardrobe’s color palette and dietary choices to adding nuanced linguistic details in his speech. This phase culminates with a Sufi bestowing upon him the wish for ‘taufiq’, or divine guidance – a blessing that, in essence, resonates with what society at large requires.
“The Great Indian Family” is now playing in cinemas.