Film: Bharat Director: Ali Abbas Zafar Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Dish Patani, Tabu, Sunil Grover, Jackie Shroff, Nora Fatehi Rating: *** (3/5)
Though “Bharat” is the remake of the Korean film “Ode To My Father”. The opening scene of a new world order or rather new market forces trying to replace the old one quickly plunges us into a flashback of Bharat’s life adventures. In the beginning, is a heart-wrenching incident from the partition that separates the family paving way for Bharat’s arrival in the freshly minted India at his aunt’s house in Purani Dilli. Here, the titular character gets separated from his father (Jackie Shroff) and sister during the refugee crisis at the time of Partition. As per his last conversation with his father, Bharat promises to take care of his remaining family, mother (Sonali Kulkarni) and two siblings, till his father returns.
Throughout his life, his concern for family drives his decisions. He even decides against marrying his love, Kumud a headstrong government official, because he fears his love and attention will get divided. For a story that attempts to be a commentary as well as a saga spanning decades, Zafar exercises great control and prevents it from going off the rails. But he manages just by the skin of his teeth
But the parallel tracks often derail when the man becomes bigger than the nation itself. Spread across seven decades, Bharat actually feels as excruciatingly long as the period from 1947 to 2010. While a 70-year-old Salman Khan can still bash up a biker gang, the audience feels it has grown several years old within the span of 167 minutes. Salman may have the crutch of selective close-ups and Rameshwar S Bhagat’s strategic editing but he is miles away from reflecting the sea of emotions his character is supposed to harbor.
He only appears comedic in the emotional scenes where he tries too hard, falling flat on his face. Disha Patani barely has a couple of scenes and a song to her credit. She is decent in the bidding-adieu scene and is naturally great at dancing. But her chemistry with Salman is not established to the extent that the audience feels bad when the two part.
Satish Kaushik provides brief comic relief and Tabu makes a special appearance suited to her calibre. The most memorable scenes are straight out of the gossip columns “the pairing of Salman Khan with his frequent co-star and rumored off-screen romantic interest, Katrina Kaif”.
Overall I can say the movie has its patriotic moments including a full-throated rendition of the national anthem but its greatest duty is towards its bulky hero. Songs and scenes are tacked on to allow Khan to do what he does best
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