IBTimes India Rating3

When you settle for a Salman Khan film, a by-default checklist appears in your head that you'll find ticking off while watching "Bajrangi Bhaijaan".

Electrifying entry: check, crazy dance: check, shy romance: check, punches and kicks: check, shirtless: check.

Pavan Kumar Chaturvedi aka Bajrangi (Salman) is a simple-at-heart Hanuman-worshipping village bloke who travels to Delhi in search of a job, and by some happy chance lands one at Rasika's (Kareena Kapoor Khan) school.

Meanwhile, on the Pakistani side of the border, mute 6-year-old Shahida aka Munni (Harshaali Malhotra) leaves her country to travel to Delhi with her mother, who believes a prayer or two at the most-visited mosque in the Indian capital will fix her little daughter's vocal cords.

The journey separates the mother from the child, uniting the latter with large-hearted do-gooder Pawan at an over-crowded fair of sorts in reverence of the lord.

What follows next is a partly-stretched yet hilarious in bits cat and mouse game, during which the protagonist is more interested in turning himself in to the Pak police than running away. The story takes an interesting turn with struggling scribe Chand Nawab (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) trying to get a story out of the two.

Whether the well-meaning gentlemen succeed in their mission to get the little girl cuddle in her mother's arms once again is what holds for those interested.

Written by V Vijayendra Prasad, the story is the classic old wine in a fairly new bottle. Nothing exemplary comes out of the over-dramatic treatment of the Indo-Pak subject. It appears to be a tailor made script to suit the mood and feel of a 'Bhai' film.

Kabir Khan does justice to the script but fails at the hands of a wafer-thin plot, which pushes its luck too hard. Another disappointment is the run-time which could've been reduced by a good 30 minutes.

The cast does a good job and are fair to the roles written for them. Salman delivers an honest performance, and has to be his best in recent times. Harshaali is a natural in the film and steals the show with her innocence. Nawazuddin puts up a class act, adds humour and pace to the narrative, which had begun to slacken.