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‘Bharat’: Writing and direction derails this epic

IANS Rating 2/5

Adapted from the 2014 released South Korean film, “Gukje Shijang” aka “Ode to my Father” in the international market, “Bharat”, mounted as a comedy-romance-drama, follows the exceptional life of Bharat (Salman Khan), from his childhood to his old age.

Bharat experiences some of the most important events throughout his country’s modern history. It is unabashedly his sentimental journey through some of the most important, tragic and difficult times in the annals of the country’s history since Independence.

Bharat almost seems to be a metaphor for his entire generation, a generation that lived through the Partition of India, saw the circus, was shipped off to the Gulf when oil was discovered, witnessed pirates and the construction boom.

The main driving force behind all of Bharat’s actions are to protect the family he is left with and try to find those who were left behind in Pakistan during partition.

With a frivolous script that is good in snatches, the narrative has a cartoonish quality that is interesting intermittently and soulless otherwise. The amateurish writing is unwieldy with scant regard for research and history, character design. This coupled with a sycophant’s approach to direction, the onus of “Bharat” disappointment squarely falls on Director Ali Abbas Zafar’s shoulders.

The dialogues like “Yeh sher buddha toh ho gaya, par shikar karna nahin bhul gaya”, which loosely translates to “this lion may have grown old, but he has not forgotten how to hunt” or “kya hua sexy” are bleak and delivered in the most lack lustre manner.

The mounting of the film with its brilliant production values may appear epic, but the story is like a balloon filled with hot air. The film floats as the narrative digresses to give us some laughable moments, but that takes away the joy from the sentimentality of the tale. The only moments that touch your heart are the heart-rending partition stories, at the far end of the second act.

Salman is undoubtedly charismatic, but he lacks on-screen energy. He portrays the titular character with all earnestness but fails to hit the right notes, simply because, with his heavy and husky dialogue delivery, he tries to portray a larger than life character, which in reality sounds very forced and hollow.

Katrina Kaif as Bharat’s love interest, Kumud Raina is subjected to a very unbelievable character. Initially she is shown as an executive at the National Employment Exchange and is soon seen following Bharat to the Gulf as his supervisor, where she professes her love for him. Nevertheless, in her natural anglicized accent, she carries off her part with all sincerity. Though she looks good with Salman on screen, their on-screen chemistry lacks volatility.

Sunil Grover as Bharat’s best friend Vilayti, has his moments of on-screen glory where he displays his histrionics in full form. Disha Patani in a miniscule role as Radha,a circus artiste is noticeable.

Satish Kaushik as the mumbling Captain of the Ship is an eye-sore, whereas Sonali Kulkarni as Bharat’s mother is a misfit. Jackie Shroff and Tabu in guest appearances give a boost to the film. Shashank Arora – a brilliant actor is wasted, as a junior artiste in a non-speaking role.

While the back-ground score and the music blends, the songs appear forced in the narrative.

Overall, the film fails as a human drama, patriotic or romantic.

IANS Rating 2/5

Film: “Bharat”;
Director: Ali Abbas Zafar;
Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Disha Patani, Sunil Grover, Tabu, Jackie Shroff, Aasif Sheikh, Sonali Kulkarni, Shashank Arora, Nora Fatehi;

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‘Bharat’ is a flawed but monumental achievement

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It’s easy to be dismissive of a film that has no formal structure, one which doesn’t compartmentalize life’s flow but chooses to go with it. The flow, I mean.

But then again, it takes almost three hours of playing time for us to realize that “Bharat” is no small achievement. Like Sultan before this, Director Ali Abbas Zafar doesn’t hesitate in blowing open Salman Khan’s image of the Superstar who always plays variations of himself.

In some of the sequences in this episodic endearing oddball off a film Salman invests genuine emotions. Watch him closely in the sequence where he is reunited with his sister whom he has lost in the tumult of India’s Partition in two badly divided halves. Salman achieves great heights of emotionalism in that beautifully written chunk of cinema.

Of course it helps that Tabu plays his sister in that highly emotional sequence. Tabu can bring out the best in anyone.

The rest of this interesting often brilliant but uneven film is not as articulate as one would like it to be. Much of the adventures that Bharat and his faithful sidekick Vilayati (Sunil Grover, funny and engaging) go through seem strangely incongruous: shrill notes of a symphony that never quite reaches a crescendo. The journey seems to have plenty of genuine emotions. But the sleeping dogs are aplenty. That entire oil-rigging episode seems rigged and thoroughly undercooked.

Why take the protagonist’s journey into such a distance where it becomes difficult to tell what he was looking for in the first place? Some moments meant to be the acme of hilarity just fall flat writhing on the ground. For example the way Bharat pacifies Somalian pirates on board a ship (don’t ask what he’s doing there) with Amitabh Bachchan songs is embarrassing in its out-of-tune humour.

It’s commendable that this one-man show (with some surprising room made for two other characters played by Sunil Grover and Katrina Kaif) actually takes a pause to honour men from Indian history like Jawaharlal Nehru, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and, ahem, Manmohan Singh who at time when the Congress I is rendered nulled, is praised for his economic reforms.

Zafar and his co-writer Varun Sharma never hesitate in craning their necks out into the dark stretches of narration where the protagonist Bharat’s life goes willy-nilly. It would be erroneous Ato say Salman Khan holds the film together. He should have, as the narrative relies entirely on his ability to carry the narrative from one historic period to another.

Tragically the changeovers in era lack a mood modulation. One minute we are looking at the savagery and brutality of the Partition violence. The next minute we are at a circus where Salman and the monstrously underused Disha Patani (what is she doing here?) behave as if they just watched Raj Kapoor in Mera Naam Joker.

The problem with “Bharat” is one of concentration. It lacks focus and builds its universe of mutating socio-historic events with a lack of dispassionate distance. Where Salman is unconvincing as an aging man, he nails it when trying to express his feelings to his ‘Madame Sirjee’. In his scenes with Katrina Kaif, Salman is as respectful and shy as he is known to be in real life.

Watching “Bharat” I felt a strange stirring of hope and joy. The film spreads a sunshine across its tapestried universe. But it fails to provide an even narrative soundboard for its protagonist whose life hardly seems as illustrative of India’s chequered history as he would like us to believe. Not always credible, “Bharat” nevertheless manages to never loose its composure. It is an achievement of epic proportion which losses some of its greatness in trying to say too many things at the same time.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Video: Bharat Movie Public Talk

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Salman & Akshay : Tale of Two Stars

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The film’s release is just two days away on Eid and the producers of Salman Khan’s Bharat are a jittery lot. Incidentally, his Tubelight released for 2017 and Race 3 that released for 2018, did not do well at the box-office.

Talk from tinsel ville is that after a screening for his dad Salim Khan, the father is said to have suggested a few cuts here and there. His director Ali Abbas Zafar cannot make any suggestions to the star.

While the bookings are huge, there are concerns that Salman talking on and on about desh and desh prem might not go well with audiences, says a source. To cut down damage, all pre-release and press shows have been cancelled.

On the other hand, Akshay Kumar’s fans had their share of jitters, when it was said that he was playing a 25-minute role. But the superstar was quick to refute the news as he announces the news himself like in case of Naam Shabaana. The film had Tapsee in the lead and Akshay had an extended role in the film.

But Mission Mangal has several ladies like Vidya Balan, Tapsee Pannu, Sonakshi Sinha, Kriti Kulhari who play real-life characters from the biggest space mission of India. But definitely, Akshay is the hero in Jagan Shakti film.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Bharat Trailer: Salman out with one more thrilling commercial package

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Bollywood Superstar Salman Khan is known for his light hearted commercial entertainers and the actor tasted pathbreaking hits over the recent years. His next film Bharat is carrying massive expectations and the theatrical trailer of the film is out today. Ali Abbas Zafar directed this patriotic drama. The trailer looks packed with all the commercial ingredients and Salman Khan thrills his fans and the audience in several different looks. The smooth journey of Bharat gets shattered with the partition of India and Pakistan.

Salman will be seen in various looks as a youngster to an old man. Set during post-independence and after partition, most of the film happens during the time when Indians struggle for jobs after Nehru’s demise. Bharat is the journey of a man and his story for four decades. Katrina Kaif and Disha Patani look stunning hot in the trailer and the action stunts, background score are the other assets. Reel Life Productions and T Series bankrolled Bharat which is announced for June 5th release. Salman’s old look with grey hair and beard is sure a treat for his fans.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

First Look: Salman Khan stuns in Bharat

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Bharat first look

Indian Superstar Salman Khan is all set to thrill the audience during this Eid with Bharat. Alia Abbas Zafar is the director and Katrina Kaif, Disha Patani are the heroines. Salman will stun the audience in a dual role and the makers released the first look poster today. Salman stuns in a new look with white hair and beard in the released poster. The theatrical trailer of Bharat will be out on April 24th and the film is slated for June 5th release. Salman Khan Films and T Series are the producers.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

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