‘Bharat’ Review: Entertaining, but exhausting.

Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, and starring Salman Khan, “Bharat” is the type of film is that you watch to enjoy, to forget you worries, and to simply laugh and have some fun during the next 2-3 hours. At times, we may find things silly, and over the top, but we are always mentally prepared. The following review keeps these factors in mind. We take things seriously when we should, and we let things pass when we should. So, how is it? Well, first let’s get to the plot, without giving anything away.

“Bharat” is based on the South Korean film Ode to My Father, which traces the history of South Korea, parallel to a man’s life, spanning from the 1950s to the 2010s. “Bharat” attempts to do the same, with India.  During the Partition of India in 1947, Bharat’s (Salman Khan) father stays back in present day Pakistan and makes his eight-year-old son promise to lead the household and keep the family together, no matter what. Bharat’s life over a period of 60 years, from 18 to 70 years of age, traces India’s post-independence history. He joins The Great Russian Circus in 1964 and earns a reputation for being a playboy. The discovery of oil in the Gulf region in the mid-1970s leads to a subsequent Indian migration to the territory. Here, Bharat begins a romantic relationship with his chief engineer Kumud Raina (Katrina Kaif). He volunteers for the Indian Navy and later holds the family business together during the period leading to economic liberalization in the 1990s, all the while keeping his promise to his father.

This film is more like a journey than a proper plot based film, which may not be risky for Indian cinema, which is largely evolving, but could be a risk for a Salman Khan film which comes with a baggage. However, since this film basically captures the life of our hero, we see it all, from action, to romance, to comedy, and literally everything that we expect from the usual Salman Khan potboiler. The only difference here is that there is no consistent conflict as such, but a series of conflicts as we go through his life. So this film tries to strike a balance between doing something different while still remaining true to the mainstream flavor. We see Bharat being separated from his father. We see Bharat trying to provide for his mother and two younger siblings by doing odd jobs at a circus, and on an oil rig in the Gulf and in the merchant navy. We see his relationship between different people in his life. This film is no doubt packed with emotion, and definitely has a certain level of soul attached to it. It does succeed at creating a balance between entertainment and giving us something new, however it isn’t without faults.

The screenplay is clunky. The series of situations that don’t quite connect in a literal way, but perhaps in a metaphorical way. At an individual level, there are many interesting scenes, but as a whole, the film can get exhausting after a point. It’s fast at some portions, and slow at other portions. Yes, it’s illogical at many parts, but that flavor is justified by the style chosen by the director. One thing that’s for sure, however, is that this film is grand in scale, not just because it gives us a glimpse of India’s post-Independence history, but also in terms of visual splendor. We can all agree on that! It’s a nice film to look at! The visuals and the cinematography is colorful. The sound design and the background score uplifts the film as well. The performances by everyone is simply decent, however this is a complete show reel for Salman Khan and a perfect Eid gift for Salman fans! Tabu is fantastic in her special appearance during a wonderfully acted moment in the film. Katrina Kaif is ok, but beautiful!

Overall, this film is a complete entertaining, but inconsistent at parts. However, it’s perfect for a family outing! Go for it!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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