The Great Indian Family: Vijay Krishna Acharya’s Plea For Inclusivity In Diversity

The director shows a huge improvement from ‘Thugs of Hindostan’, but a stronger female lead would have elevated the movie.

An appreciable attempt!
The Great Indian Family (Hindi)
  • Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Manushi Chhillar, Manoj Pahwa, Kumud Mishra, and Bhuvan Arora
  • Director: Vijay Krishna Acharya
  • Producer: Aditya Chopra
  • Music: Pritam
  • Runtime: 1 hour 52 minutes

Vijay Krishna Acharya is known for directing big-budget extravaganzas. All his films — Tashan (2008), Dhoom 3 (2013), and Thugs of Hindostan (2018) — belong to the action genre and feature big stars.

However, the subject of his latest outing — The Great Indian Family — on the surface appears as a misfit for the director. But he pleasantly surprises us, particularly, when the film gets to the meat of the story.

The Great Indian Family is about a Brahmin boy Ved Vyas Tripathi, also known as Bhajan Kumar.

Ved Vyas (Vicky Kaushal) faces an identity crisis when all of a sudden he comes to know that he is actually a Muslim by birth.

His father, rather the adopted father Siya Ram Tripathi (Kumud Mishra) is a most respected pandit of the small town where the film is set.

Manoj Pahwa plays the uncle of Ved Vyas. His character Balak Ram goes through a shift when the identity of Ved Vyas is known. All this happens when Siya Ram Tripathi is on a pilgrimage.

Yashpal Sharma, on the other hand, plays the rival pandit who wants to bring down the popularity of Siya Ram Tripathi.

And finally, you have the female lead Manushi Chillar who shows no improvement from her Samrat Prithviraj (2022) days.

Positives

The Great Indian Family does take time to get going. Vicky Kaushal’s scenes with his two friends don’t add much to the film.

Manushi Chjillar’s entry only further slackens the proceedings. Her attempt at being a Punjabi firebrand is rather laboured. There is zero spunk.

Vicky’s chemistry with Manushi has none of the sizzle that he shared with Sara Ali Khan in Zara Hatke Zara Bachke (2023).

The best portions of the film are the scenes where Ved Vyas is going through an existential crisis. There was a time when he was adored by his uncle and others. But now, the same family turns its back on him owing to societal pressure.

The situation reaches a point where Ved Vyas seriously thinks of embracing Islam. The paradox here is that without knowing his identity, he finds shelter in a Muslim family. Additionally, his Sikh girlfriend has no issues about him belonging to either of the religions.

It is in these bits that the directorial skills of Vijay Krishna Acharya come forth.

Performances

Another area where the movie scores is the scenes featuring the senior actors Manoj Pahwa and Kumud Mishra.

Manoj Pahwa plays a citizen who is good at heart but can get easily influenced by WhatsApp forwards. But the director makes sure that he doesn’t become a caricature.

Vicky Kaushal and Manoj Pahwa have a couple of dramatic showdowns, and these bits are a delight to watch because of the intense acting on display.

Kumud Mishra conveys a lot with his silence and expressions. The actor particularly shines in the scene where he opens up to the other family members about how he and his wife decided to adopt the boy born to a Muslim mother.

What pulls the film apart from the female lead is the lacklustre music. The only song that works in The Great Indian Family is “Kanhaiya Twitter Pe Aaja“. It has a catchy tune along with Vicky Kaushal’s energy.

Pritam’s soundtrack in Rock Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani (2023)had far better songs.

Final take

The story of The Great Indian Family might sound a little clichéd and a filmy attempt at unifying religions in these difficult times. But it is still an effort that needs to be appreciated.

(Views expressed here are personal.)

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