Salman’s Bharat: Eid Blockbuster Or Crashing Bore?

Salman’s Bharat: Eid Blockbuster Or Crashing Bore?

Movie Name
Ali Abbas Zafar
Action, Drama
02 hours 35 minutes

Bharat Review

My Eid message to Salman
Khan is: Mubarak, you
have finally grown up. Bajrangi Bhaijaan
was the first time Salman showed an inclination to back a substantial
subject. With Bharat,
he shows a maturity for wanting to break out of typical Salman fare
where even the buckle on his belt would dance. Bharat
is far more real cinema. Recent films like Kalank
and Begum Jaan which
took a petty, myopic view of an epic human tragedy like the
Partition. But writer-director Ali Abbas Zafar brings out the
poignancy of the emotional havoc it caused millions of people.

One of them was Bharat, a
young boy who carries the burden of 1947 for the next 70 years.
Escaping to India with his mother and younger siblings, his uncle’s
shop on the Indian side becomes the physical symbol of hope for him.
It was this shop where his father, left behind at Lahore along with
kid sister Gudiya, had promised to meet up with all of them.

Sincerely living up to the
promise he’d made to his father that he’d keep the family
together, Bharat’s 70 years are dotted with milestones like a stint
in a circus as a daredevil rider inside the Well of Death, moving to
the Middle East as a labourer and joining the merchant navy which
encounters a pirate attack. Every phase has a set pattern of
something that’s amusing and at least one heroic deed pulled off by
Bharat. Like the captain who nobody understands leading to comic
scenes and Bharat heroically dealing with the pirates, even dancing
to Amitabh Bachchan songs with them. To be honest, any milestone
could have been chopped off without damaging Bharat’s story.

Because the portion that
connects best is Bharat’s quest for his father and sister from
across the border. Television channels in India and Pakistan carrying
out the unique exercise of trying to reunite near and dear ones who
were separated during the partition captures the emotional depth of
the tragedy. It wasn’t Bharat’s alone, thousands of families had
suffered a similar fate.

But Ali Abbas’ writing
and narration have a whiff of Raj Kapoor’s Mera
Naam Joker
with the harkback to a past in the
circus. And though it’s inspired by the Korean film Ode
To My Father
, closer home it’s the Sacred
brand of telling the story of one man
against the story of the country that one sees in Bharat.

In showing the 70 years of
Bharat’s life and that of the country since 1947, landmarks like
the discovery of oil that gave livelihood to Indians in the Middle
East and the birth of Zee TV get chronicled. Politically, Congress
supporters will be pleased as Nehru gets footage for his charisma and
Manmohan Singh is hailed as the Prime Minister who ushered in
economic reforms. It may be factually incorrect as it was during
Narsimha Rao’s tenure that the reforms came in but it’s
Congress-rooting all the way.

Ali Abbas stumbles in many
places. For one, Ode To My Father,
the Korean original, was shorter by 40 minutes. Bharat
is unreasonably lengthy at 167 minutes and there’s much that can be
easily trimmed.

There are also far too
many songs that aren’t melodious and not all of them are as catchy
as Slow Motion. Also,
tragic tales of the Partition have been done to death in the past.

The length, the premise
and the many scenes and songs that could’ve been edited, are what
contribute to an overall sense of boredom.

Logically, why Katrina as
Kumud and Salman as Bharat couldn’t get married is baffling since
she’s anyway around helping him with his family-first agenda.
Unless it was simply Ali Abbas wanting to make a point about changing
social values.

Katrina Kaif as the foil
who stands around Bharat is okay. Jackie Shroff as the father, Sunil
Grover as friend Vilayati Khan, Satish Kaushik as the captain, and
Tabu as the long-lost sister, elevate the acting department.

Disclaimer: We are proud that LehrenTV reviewer Bharathi S Pradhan has been appointed an advisory member of the prestigious CBFC. However, her reviews reflect her personal appraisal of a film and do not in any way speak on behalf of the Censor Board.

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  • Dialogues
  • Story
  • Music
  • Screen Play

The Verdict

Irrespective of the theatrical recovery of a steep Rs 175 crore, Bharat will make its money with digital and music rights. And irrespective of the negatives, Salman Khan shows an inclination for maturity in his choices which must be appreciated even if it means going against what his fans are used to. There is subdued daredevilry, not the shirt-off variety. The letting go of the shop that signified hope of a reunion with his father, giving way to malls and coming to terms with reality required a very grown up Salman.
But if only the mature Salman had an interesting screenplay to back him up.
For an unduly long Partition saga that mixes poignancy with bursts of entertainment, Bharat gets a 2.5* rating.


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