Presumably a remake of the Yash Chopra film Dharmputra, Vijay Krishna Acharya’s The Great Indian Family revolves around the Tripathi film, whose sources of income are overseeing religious ceremonies and singing at religious ceremonies. Pandit Siya Ram Tripathi is in charge of the former, while his son, Ved Vyas Tripathi (aka Bhajan Kumar), is in charge of the latter. Other than these two, there are five other members in the family: Balak Ram, Hema, Sushila Kumari, Gunja, and Rampyaari. And all of them are excited to helm the marriage of Mr. Malpani’s daughter, Aishwarya, since they’re the wealthiest family in Balrampur (which roughly translates to “gaining a lot of money”). However, Siya Ram’s competitor, Pandit Jagannath Mishra, butts in and tries to create a clash between the marriage dates and Siya Ram’s traveling dates. Although Siya Ram comes up with a temporary solution, thereby stalling the marriage until Siya Ram returns from his religious trip, a mysterious letter arrives to create a permanent dent in the Tripathi household.
What Are the Causes of the Conflict Between Ved and Society?
Forty minutes into The Great Indian Family, a letter arrives alleging that Ved Vyas, who has lived his entire life as an upper-caste Hindu, is actually Muslim. This comes as a shock to the family. Those who are miraculously unaware of the religious conflict in India will probably be confused. Hence, the film has scenes where Ved Vyas refers to the Muslim community as “the other side” and bullies a Muslim guy called Abdul by pretending to be the anti-Majnu squad (a reference to real-life people who harass inter-religious couples). If that isn’t helpful enough, there are scenes where Ved assumes that the Muslim community is made of literal aliens, only to realize that their daily routines are quite similar to those of the Hindu community. If that doesn’t clear up your doubts, just read the news and go through Indian history.
Coming back to the plot, in addition to this conundrum about Ved’s religious origins, there’s the romance between Ved and Jasmeet. Now, Ved’s friend, Sarveshwar, is “in love” with Jasmeet. Sarveshwar, Ved, and Bhaata start following Jasmeet (and then get pepper-sprayed) because of Sarveshwar. But Jasmeet ends up falling in love with Ved, which causes Sarveshwar to hate Ved because he thinks that Ved has somehow betrayed him. These two conflicts come to a head when Sarveshwar leaks the allegation that Ved is Muslim to Jagannath’s son, Tulsidas. This decreases Ved’s credibility as a singer at Hindu ceremonies and causes the Tripathis, in the absence of Siya Ram, to abandon Ved because he refuses to succumb to societal pressure, which is based on an allegation.
What Did Siya Ram Tripathi Do on the Night of December 1992?
Since nobody from the Hindu community is ready to accept Ved after learning that he’s Muslim, he seeks refuge at Abdul’s house, where he is treated like a third son by Abdul’s mother and a brother by Abdul and Pintu. He plays into Muslim stereotypes in the hopes that it’ll make him feel at home and relate to the Muslim family he’s living with. In addition to that, he wishes to rid himself of the guilt of discriminating against Muslims for years. While Abdul, Pintu, and even Jasmeet are unfazed by Ved’s theatrics because they know he’s overdoing it since he is confused, Jagannath and Tulsidas use this opportunity to take pictures and videos of Ved in that stereotypical Muslim attire. They take it to a local Photoshop expert and make inflammatory social media posts about Ved’s religious identity. The Tripathis are directly impacted, as the virality of those posts causes the people of Balrampur to discriminate against them. Malpani withdraws the marriage contract and gives it to the Mishras. Ved realizes that there’s no going back now and decides to officially become Muslim.
The priest at the local mosque refuses to let Ved go forward with the conversion because he is afraid of how Siya Ram is going to react to it and also because he thinks it’s wrong. Yet, Ved reaches the mosque. He’s stopped in his tracks by Siya Ram, who has returned from his religious trip. He takes him to the Malpani household and reprimands him for acting irresponsibly and discriminating against Ved, that too in his absence. That’s when Jagannath advises Siya Ram to do a DNA test to clear up all the confusion around Ved’s religious origins. Siya Ram agrees to it, but after returning home, he admits that Ved is actually Muslim. During the December 1992 riots (a real incident, FYI), a dead but pregnant Muslim woman arrived at the hospital where Siya Ram’s wife was giving birth to Gunja. In order to protect the Muslim child from the Hindu mob, Dr. Irani told Siya Ram to adopt him, and Siya Ram obliged. In addition to that, he confronted the one leading the mob when he threatened Dr. Irani. It turns out that that mob leader is the guy who delivered the letter to the Tripathis.
What Was The Result Of Ved & Siya Ram Tripathi’s DNA Test?
Siya Ram admits that he always knew that Ved was Muslim. He had received the letters about Ved’s truth, but he never revealed them because he was aware of their repercussions. That means the DNA is going to reflect that truth, too. Gunja comes up with a solution in the form of her boyfriend, Neeraj Daniel. Neeraj says that he’s going to take the blood from only Siya Ram and not from Ved. Then, the final results are going to match and prove that Ved is Siya Ram’s biological child. While the rest of the family is okay with that, Ved notices that Siya Ram isn’t okay with the fact that they’ve to rely on a blatant lie to rebuild their reputation in front of a discriminatory society. So, when the time arrives at the end for The Great Indian Family to donate their blood samples, Ved protests and says that he doesn’t want to be a part of this farce.
Ved confronts Mishra, Malpani, and the entire population of Balrampur and says that he was born a Muslim, he was raised in a Hindu family, he is in love with a Sikh girl, he has been to a church before showing up for the DNA test, and he was delivered by a Parsi doctor amidst a communal riot. Ved asks which rulebook says that a family or a community should have one color, and one religion. He says that a diverse, multi-colored society is the best kind of society. He states that even though he is Muslim, he is going to partake in Hindu ceremonies. He’ll go to Abdul’s house to have the food cooked by his mother, and fast on Tuesdays. He’ll listen to the “qawali” at a Dargah, and he’ll cheer on Pintu when he plays Kumbhkaran at the “Ram Leela” stage play. He tells Jagannath that he has purposefully spread communalism to take over the Malpani wedding, and he sarcastically hopes that he lives with a clean conscience after profiting off hatred. Since it’s a Bollywood movie, Ved’s wishes do come true, and his speech brings Balrampur together, which includes his family, friends, and love interest.