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Bhaiyya Ji Review - Manoj Bajpayee gets his Mirzapur, but in 240p

Bhaiyya Ji review: The crime here is not making a movie in masala entertainer syntax. It is that they convinced Manoj Bajpayee to do this. 

Bhaiyya Ji Review - Manoj Bajpayee gets his Mirzapur, but in 240p
Bhaiyya Ji Movie Review

Last Updated: 12.25 PM, May 24, 2024


A man who wants to stay away from violence is suddenly struck by tragedy when his younger stepbrother is murdered by some influential, rich folks. Soon we meet the legend of Bhaiyya Ji, a man who was once a havoc-wreaking force in Bihar. Even the mention that he is back makes a police officer pee in his pants as the camera pans down to his crotch. Bhaiyya Ji now sets out to avenge the death of his brother, creating havoc and seeking justice.

Bhaiyya Ji Review: Analysis

The import and export of ideas between the South and Bollywood have added an interesting twist to the narrative of Indian cinema, as we now view the entire country as one. Actors flow between industries, stories find a middle ground, and it all feels like a good place to be. However, when we try to bring the unapologetic syntax of larger-than-life masala entertainers from the South to Bollywood, add a Manoj Bajpayee to it, and also want nuances in the story, aren't we trying to overfill a bag that can't hold it all? Bhaiyya Ji, starring Manoj Bajpayee, is a product that juggles between wanting to be larger-than-life yet grounded and ending up being neither completely. Let's decode how.


On the surface, Bhaiyya Ji is a masala entertainer where a man sets out to take revenge on those who killed his younger brother. The buzz around it—the enigma of a man who once was a menace, then decided to give it all up, and is now back as a dreaded gangster—is intriguing. Every turn has a twist that makes you wonder how. There’s a letter kept in a box locked for years—a symbol that means Bhaiyya Ji is back—but the symbol chosen is something we find on every second gate in UP. So, you know this is not where you should use your brain power, as it demands suspension of disbelief. But how do you not, when the movie opens with a gory scene that seems to talk about a very serious subject? This is where the balance between realness and larger-than-life goes wrong.

Written and directed by Apoorv Singh Karki (Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai) with writer Deepak Kingrani by his side, Bhaiyya Ji on the script level sounds like a fun idea. Take a star who has never been associated with being an Allu Arjun from Pushpa and pitch him in a story that talks about him like folklore—a man who is Robin Hood, fighting the world for his people. But the real problem begins when all of it starts shaping up on the screen. Most of it doesn't feel like a screenplay but is a spoof of many screenplays we have seen so far. For a filmmaker who last directed the brilliant Bandaa, the opening 15 minutes or so are gripping because you see the most heinous crime happening. But when Bhaiyya Ji comes into its own and the first slow-motion shot is introduced, you realise all of it was just shock value—the gore, the killing, all of it.

After this point, Apoorv gets into the zone where people say lines like, “Bhaiyya Ji se koi bach nahi sakta,” while they run towards Bhaiyya Ji to combat him but never use the logic to shoot him with the guns in their hands. Men marching behind Bhaiyya Ji enter a guarded compound of a rich, powerful man with sticks in their hands—sticks! What about a very powerful man? Does that not make them believe he has weapons? But you know what is worse? The guard of the rich man just casually opens the door for Bhaiyya Ji with no resistance. It seems underpaid employees will continue to not defend their organisations anywhere in the world.

But everyone is equally lazy or just cooperative with Bhaiyya Ji. You ask someone for a name; they end up giving the entire address. Everyone talks about each other as if they were in the past. At one point, two women and two men manage to disguise an ambulance with brand new stickers in the middle of nowhere while surrounded by the men of the said rich dude. Beyond this, you don't ask questions because there is no geography to this land—people travel hundreds of kilometres in a blink of an eye. People fall from one place to another as if they can fly. Zoya Hussain actually starts flying, and so does Bajpayee. Bhaiyya Ji’s favourite weapon, a shovel, just randomly appears at places where it should not be. But no, do not question it because the two-hour-long exploration of a legend is about to get the most mediocre ending.

The problem is not that it tries to adapt a successful syntax; the problem is that it tries to replicate it. Manoj Bajpayee does everything he can to give Bhaiyya Ji a life of his own. There is nothing the actor cannot do. But when he does action sequences, you know this doesn't come organically to him, and it shows. Zoya Hussain, who initially feels like a token female character, suddenly blooms into a very interesting character as she stands by Bhaiyya Ji’s side. Her revelation is the most interesting part of the film. Suvinder Vicky and Jatin Goswami, both stellar actors, are reduced to nothing but token bad men who do most things just to add shock value and have nothing more to offer.

I understand Apoorv Singh Karki is trying to experiment and give something new with each of his movies, but the experiment is more of a spoof that meets Mirzapur in a land that is not just lawless but also logicless. In the blend of being pulpy and real, the movie misses the point. The production team needs to sit and check all the continuity errors, and the CGI and VFX teams need a revision. You can easily decode the use of cables, that Manoj Bajpayee never fell in that river, that the fire is not real, and more.

Bhaiyya Ji Review: Final Verdict

Manoj Bajpayee does get to be a hero who can save the world and he has the precision to do so, but the story around him is more air and less meat which ends up making the entire effort look weak.

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