With The Great Indian Family, Vicky Kaushal consolidates his on-screen image as the ideal family man.
Director: Vijay Krishna Acharya
Star Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Manushii Chhillar, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa, Yashpal Sharma
Where to watch: Theatres
Rating: 3.5 stars
In 2023, after a brief lull, the genre of a family entertainers is finding its audience again with films like Zara Hatke Zara Bachke and Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani. The Great Indian Family (TGIF) is yet another outing in that genre, this time from Yash Raj Films, who had ruled this domain for years. And with Vicky in lead and some stellar support cast, this one pays off as well.
Ved Vyas Tripathi (Vicky Kaushal), also known as Bhajan Kumar, is a famous devotional singer from a respected Brahmin family of Balrampur, Banaras. The carefree, charming Ved faces his biggest challenge after he learns his origins – he is actually a Muslim. As Ved suffers an identity crisis, the world around him changes. At one point, even his family disowns him.
India has faced divisions on communal lines several times but time and again, society has advocated acceptance and tolerance beyond those differences. The film espouses this idea of Indianness. The Great Indian Family starts on a funny note. The background story of Ved and his family, headed by Pandit Siyaram Tripathi (Kumud Mishra), will capture your attention instantly. It uses gags and situational humour to lighten the mood. You enjoy the world of Bhajan Kumar, his carefree shenanigans with his friends, and the emotional bond he has with his family.
But as Ved’s life transforms, the film delivers some hard-hitting, tear-jerking moments. The film has an entertaining first half and an equally good second half. What makes it enjoyable and entertaining is the engaging screenplay. It’s not a whodunnit. We all know how the movie will end. But the situations that build up to the climax will make you laugh, cry, and even overwhelmed. Writer-director Vijay Krishna Acharya (Tashan, Dhoom 3, Thugs of Hindostan) deserves credit for venturing into family dramas after a spate of action films. With The Great Indian Family, he proves that he can make the audience laugh and cry.
Vicky Kaushal, with this film, is likely consolidate his image as an ideal family guy. His performance of Ved resonated with me. The young generation will relate to the conflicts and inner turmoil he faces. The elders will find him like a stubborn kid who can fight against the world but needs the support of his family.
Though the movie is led by Vicky, the real stars of the film are a trio of veterans – Kumud Misha, Manoj Pahwa, and Yashpal Sharma. Kumud and Manoj are the true scene-stealers. Manoj’s confrontational scene with Vicky at the interval, and Kumud’s powering act during the climax, will leave you in awe.
But there are shortcomings too. Manushi Chhillar looks beautiful and confident, but sadly is very underutilised. Her character doesn’t have a background, she just appears bashing guys, and till the end, we don’t know about her or where she comes from. The music is average, with most of the songs doing little to the heart. The conflicts that one expects in the second half, the resistance could have been explored more. During the climax, Vicky’s monologue is impressive, but it looks unconvincing. One can’t change a regressive mindset with a 5-minute speech. Maybe if it had come from another character, it would have a greater impact.
Overall, The Great Indian Family is an enjoyable treat for a family. If you are done watching hard-hitting actioners like Jailer, Gadar 2, and Jawan, this one is worth a watch.