When you look at the state of secularism in our country right now, you would really wish to see a blockbuster commercial film to address the imbalance. Shot in 2020 and released in 2023, the new Vicky Kaushal starrer The Great Indian Family from director Vijay Krishna Acharya is an underbaked masala preach that looks very fragile on the writing front. It had these moments that sort of symbolized the demography of our country. But the strokes are too thick that it feels way too naive than a political speech.
Ved Vyas Tripathi, aka Bhajan Kumar, aka Billu, is our hero, and he is a Pandit famous for singing chartbuster devotional songs. He belongs to the Pandit family, who has this rift with another Pandit family in the ritual business. The movie talks about the events unfolding when an anonymous letter came to Billu’s home claiming he was a Muslim. We see how that event changes everything for Bhajan Kumar in The Great Indian Family.
The Great Indian Family feels like a hasty project set up by Yashraj Films to capitalize on the OTT market. A large part of the movie is shot on sets, and you can see the initial part struggling to be relevant. The whole love story of the hero and the way that track gets introduced somewhat exposes the inability of the writing. Everything that happens until the letter is received is skippable if it was a direct OTT release. After establishing the conflict, when the movie tries to explore the unique premise, it starts to sound cheesy and unimaginative.
Vijay Krishna Acharya, who has written this movie, is trying to make this movie a microcosm of the pluralistic democratic structure of our country. However, presenting those metaphorical elements with subtlety is not his style. The film is only 112 minutes long, with many pointless humor tracks and songs. That sort of tells you how minimal content the makers had to proceed with this thought. To create humor, they are making the hero far too dumb, and he literally says, “I want to learn how Muslims eat.” The songs are peppy, but the placement of most of them is so odd that it felt like they included them in order to make the movie have a duration that is viable for theaters.
As the small-town guy with a naive understanding of other religions, Vicky Kaushal was fine largely due to the energy he imparts in the portrayal. Vicky gave a sense of depth to a poorly written character through his earnest performance. Manushi Chhillar gets a character totally inconsequential to the film. I guess Yashraj had a multiple-film contract with her. Brilliant actors like Kumud Mishra and Manoj Pahwa are wasted in poorly written characters.
The basic idea of the movie was something that had the potential to be entertaining peripherally and preachy politically. But the absolute lack of craft and hastily assembled screenplay just make The Great Indian Family a consistently unexciting comedy that struggles to have a proper focus from the beginning.
The absolute lack of craft and hastily assembled screenplay just make The Great Indian Family a consistently unexciting comedy that struggles to have a proper focus from the beginning.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended