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quick review:

A few sparks strewn across a mostly painful long film.

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Director: Ali Abbas Zafar
Running time: 145 minutes
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Bharat - Preview

Finally looks like Salman Khan is willing to show his insecurity about his age. I can think of no other reason for the trailer to begin the way it does. Who cares what a colourful life the hero has led? Does anyone really assume that a fifty-year old cannot have a past that he is proud of? I guess it must be to add some amount of non-linearity to the narrative. Hopefully, it is necessary.

Anyway, if the film has half the wit that the one scene with Katrina Kaif, it might just be a decent watch for the quips. The lady seems to have just the right amount of attitude for the lines too. So just could be one of her performances worth looking forward to. Even if we can’t say the same about THE man of the film. I am just thankful that there is enough in the film to not make me resist the theatre visit.

Bharat releases on 5 June 2019.

Music Reviews:
Bollyspice – "2.5/5"
Bollywood Hungama - "3/5"
Hot Friday Talks - "A few hits, a few misses" – "Near perfect"

- meeta, a part of the audience

Some funny lines are washed out by some horrible, long-drawn-out supposedly-comic situations. A couple of great emotional scenes are wiped clean by the otherwise, uninspired story-telling. A charming performance by Katrina Kaif is overshadowed by Salman Khan’s usual do.

in a scene where he is to separate from someone he supposedly loves, I couldn’t tell if Salman Khan was sad or relieved

Though the over-arching story of separated families during the India-Pakistan partition is not new, the setting is not entirely uninteresting–owing to the one-liners in the first half. In the second half, the drama turns emotional. Fortunately, the emotions don’t look forced, even though the events are episodic and the film looks like one patch after another of things that the makers thought would make people laugh or cry. The “laugh” bits are overdone and wouldn’t have worked even if they were crisper because they are juvenile. The “cry” bits did manage to bring tears to the brim.

Sure, there is an attempt to make the lead lady an unusually strong woman by Hindi film standards, especially in films with “stars”. But, it is still not nearly enough. At most, we can be happy that a beginning has been made in the right direction. Similarly, there is an attempt at a progressive outlook towards relationships. But, the simplistic take is almost insulting to the difficulties a couple might face in the given situation. Then you have a spiel on body-shaming the obese and the unfit, quickly followed by calling skinnier people names, just a few scenes later.

But hey, you can take things only so seriously in a film of the Salman-genre. After all, it is a film in which Salman is THE saviour a few feet underground and at sea. Just in case you are uninitiated enough to wonder, yes he plays the same role at land too. All with one facial expression. In fact, in a scene where he is to separate from someone he supposedly loves, I couldn’t tell if he was sad or relieved. Thankfully, Katrina Kaif is a delight to watch and even more thankfully, she has enough leg room to play with too. The rest of the cast seemed like wasted talent to me with Kumud Mishra, Sonali Kulkarni, Sunil Grover, and worst waste of all, Shashank Arora in an insignificant, negligible role.

None of whom can be blamed because the writing is entirely focused on the main lead, Bharat and the star, Salman Khan. Then whether it is the references to other Hindi films or the metaphors for the country under the name of the character, or the sacrifices a strong woman makes, the writing is all about the character’s larger-than-lifeness. Simple things like how (and why!?) kids break a vase or more complex matters like how 10-12-year olds articulate their values seem fake and forced. And some other things are absolutely random like the presence of a Peter Dinklage look-alike!

It doesn’t help that the film is in no rush to tell its story, especially in the second half. Maybe because they know that there isn’t much of a story left to tell.

- meeta, a part of the audience

34 reviewers(?) - 12 yays 10 so-so 12 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...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.... full review

Thumbs up, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, BHARAT is a super-entertainer with emotions as its strong USP and Salman Khan like never before. The superb combination of Salman Khan, emotions and the release period [Eid] will ensure fireworks at the ticket windows. At the box office, it will fetch bumper profits for all concerned.... full review

Thumbs up, by Tushar P. Joshi, Bollywood Life : ...Bharat delivers it's promise of being an emotional entertainer. Fans who want to see Salman reinvent his superstar image with a solid storyline will be pleased with Bharat.... full review

Thumbs up, by Aakanksha Navals, cineblitz : ...CineBlitz Verdict: The film is a full-on family entertainer and of course a must-watch for Salman Khan fans who won’t be disappointed. The Sunil Grover-Salman Khan equation is the highlight. While we were skeptical about Salman Khan pulling off a 70-year-old efficiently enough, he really does surprise us with his impressive act. Of course, his navy uniform bit will have the fans swooning anyway and the director smartly exploits the actor’s good looks there as a treat for his female fans. Overall, the film is a fun and entertaining watch.... full review

Thumbs up, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...In the music department, Slow Motion, Aithey Aa and Zinda stand out among all the tracks. Julius Pickiam's background score goes well with the narrative.... full review

Thumbs up, by Vishal Verma, : ...BHARAT is Ali Abbas Zafar’s most ambitious movie till date. It’s a great responsibility to depict several decades in a 2 hrs 47 mins movie that features a superstar who is known for his action, comedy and poker face expression and has not played a senior citizen onscreen before. Ali Abbas narration is steady and flows with occasional humour, emotions and touching moments. Made like an epic, BHARAT has all, grandeur ( in those circus portions), thrills and romance (UAE episodes), unexpected humour ( Amitabh Bachchan tribute), touch of humanity (Mere Apne) with a constant ode to fatherhood, family, bonding and brotherhood.... full review

Thumbs up, by Jyoti Sharma Bawa, Hindustan Times : ...That is where Bharat and Zafar score. Despite knowing what the film is trying to do, in some cases easily guessing plot turns in advance, you cannot help but enjoy it. This one is an Eid winner. Bhai just got his mojo back.... full review

Thumbs up, by Ananya Bhattacharyal, india today : ...Don't go looking for logic in a Salman Khan film. Upar Allah, neeche dharti, beech mein... tera junoon.... full review

Thumbs up, by R.M. Vijayakar, India West : ...The music is a complete letdown, and the Punjab-heavy lyrics and beats compound the disaster – this is Zafar’s second musical downer after “Tiger Zinda Hai” and his ascending musical graph of “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan,” “Gunday” and “Sultan” seem like coincidences. The sole luminous star in the score is the theme song “Zinda,” written by Zafar and composed by Julius Packiam, whose stunning background score shows that he is now among the couple of finest background score composers in the country.... full review

Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...This, while a sizeable portion of the city's film industry itself comprises post-Partition refugees, who migrated to a new land, built homes, found jobs, raised families and finances, absolutely starting from... full review

Thumbs up, by Gaurang Chauhan, Times Now : ...Overall, Ali Abbas Zafar's Bharat takes you on an emotional ride and leaves you with a smile on your face. With good performances by Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Sunil Grover and Jackie Shroff, Bharat is an out and out entertainer.... full review

Thumbs up, by Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India : ...Bharat is well-intentioned, entertaining and doesn’t succumb to the trappings of commercial potboilers. The fact that it tries a bit too hard to prove that, is its problem.... full review

So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...Anyway, overall BHARAT is certainly going to receive mixed reactions as it will more appeal to the die-hard fans and to the viewers who easily get emotional while watching a film, especially recalling the dark memories of our partition. Yes, the film falters at many points taking loads of cinematic liberties including forced humour, but it does successfully establish an emotional connect, that happens to be its key feature above everything else.... full review

So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...It's a Salman Khan film where he's required to emote and not just punch some 20 goons at regular intervals. To his credit, he doesn't shy away from the challenge. He's shown to be modelled on Lord Ram - caring towards everyone, loyal to his friends, devoted to his family and having a strong sense of dharma, of justice. Somewhere along the way, the focus of the film shifts from India to Bharat the character and that's its chief flaw. You leave the theatre feeling underwhelmed...... full review

So-So, by T J Reddy, : ...This movie chronicles Bharat's journey through a few decades, but only one of the episodes from those decades can be classified as unabashedly good. This may be an indication of an unwritten code that Salman Khan gets to star in one all-round good movie once a decade. We had Bajrangi Bhaijaan for this one. So all we need to do is wait for another year and a half, and hope the next one comes sooner rather than later.... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Yes, it’s hard to believe that a 70 year old can beat off four menacing young men bent upon making mincemeat of him. But then this is a Bhai movie. He staggers, but is the last man standing. But of course. He may have fixed a grey beard to his chin, but his chest still ripples. What else? In a Salman Khan movie, anything is possible, even tall tales that are meant to transcend borders.... full review

So-So, by Anita Iyer, Khaleej Times : ...Adding to the length of the movie are the songs, with only two being notable - 'Slow motion' and 'Chashni' with bhai showing off his notorious dance moves.... full review

So-So, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, Bharat is no Sultan or Tiger Zinda Hai – it’s the weakest film of Ali Abbas Zafar. The pace is the culprit along with the length. In order to keep something for everyone, Ali also keeps nothing for someone.... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...The dapper geriatric in this film shares via voiceover thathis looks may throw us off — we may assume that he’s “led a boring life”. But apparently, his life has been “more colourful than the number of grey strands on his head and face”. It’s safe to say that in a Salman Khan film, one can’t be bothered to come up with quantifiably accurate analogies.... full review

So-So, by Manisha Lakhe, Now : ...Bharat is a good guy, and though he promises that his life has been more colorful than the salt in his beard, the film does not live up to that promise. In fact it is so boring, you wonder if 'bhai' has forgotten his fans come to watch 'action' not wimpy comedy. We live through his many jobs and his devotion to dad. It's two and a half hours of being average. Fans want more.... full review

So-So, by Giridhar Jha, Outlook India : ...Tha film relies more on emotions than action which may prove to be a dampener for many of his fans who have grown up watching their macho idol bashing up dozens of goons, bare bolied, on screen in film after film.... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...Bharat’s aging – achieved by colouring his hair white while leaving his physical agility intact – is laughable, but it might compel Salman Khan’s vast fan base to confront his inevitable mortality. At the circus, the younger Bharat cautions others against trying to mimic his bravado. Don’t imitate me and try and be a hero, Bharat cautions.... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...Far from being an epic that it could have been, it is just a chance for Salman Khan to appear in varied costumes against different backdrops. With the focus on him at all times, to the extent of treating other actors-- except Grover and Kaif-- like pieces of furniture, the star musters up enough enthusiasm to give an earnest performance—Zafar had also got him to wake up and act in his earlier Sultan. However, Bharat is disappointing for viewers who are not Salman fans.... full review

Thumbs down, by ARNAB BANERJEE, Deccan Chronicle : ...Here was one opportunity to see history unfolding in its course which has been almost-forgotten by GenNext. Sadly, too many needless ingredients are crammed into long and dull storytelling!... full review

Thumbs down, by Baradwaj Rangan, Film Companion : ...You can go crazy ping-ponging between the use of the film’s title as the name of a man, and as the name of a nation... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...Bharat goes to great lengths to outline the importance of individualism and secularity. But tell that to the unfortunate few who were heckled for not “standing” during the mid-movie anthem. A scuffle ensued in my hall. Expletives flowed. Films – as well as characters and countries – like Bharat are defined by this irony.... full review

Thumbs down, by Devansh Sharma, FirstPost : ...In those key scenes, the nation gets an edge over its superstar. But otherwise, the man is given far more footage than the nation. It is a Salman Khan show throughout, except he has barely anything to show here.... full review

Thumbs down, by Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Gulf News : ...Even if you are a full-blown Salman Khan fan, Bharat is likely to test your patience. Watch this only if you have taken an oath to watch all of Khan’s films during Eid.... full review

Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...In the end, it doesn't matter who wins - the actor or the star - Bharat is a full-on crowd-pleaser for the massive fan base out there seeking recompense for the Tubelight and Race 3 reverses. But for the rest, Bharat could prove to be a ponderous trudge.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, : ...In the end Bharat is exhausting and pointless. It exists only to add to the legend of Salman Khan as the selfless provider, the man who has a heart as big as his biceps. In Bharat, Salman Khan plays Bhai.... full review

Thumbs down, by Joginder Tuteja, Planet Bollywood : ...However, what you want to see is an exhilarating affair that is at least thoroughly entertaining, if not memorable. Unfortunately that doesn’t quite turn out to be the case in Bharat, which ends up making it an average fare at best.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sreehari Nair, Rediff : ...Bharat is nothing more than a reflection of the times we are living in: where we expect our heroes to be flawless, virtuous fellas -- it is our current national disease.... full review

Thumbs down, by SHILPA JAMKHANDIKAR, Reuters : ...Khan is the only thing that matters here, and to Zafar’s credit, he makes the effort to carve out a character that doesn’t depend entirely on the star status of his leading man. “Bharat” is too long, too overdrawn and too maudlin for it to evoke any genuine emotion.... full review

Thumbs down, by Troy Ribeiro, Sify Movies : ...Overall, the film fails as a human drama, patriotic or romantic.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

2 readers - 1 yays 0 so-so 1 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Younis : 100 chars

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Nisha

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

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Comments (2)

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Very well summarised movie review.
Read your review fir the first time.

Just back from watching the movie hence could relate to the review totally

Couldn't understand what exactly they were trying to do in the movie or where exactly they wanted to drive it to...
As if it was the end of the world they wanted to include all aspects of everything and anything...

However, Arun Kotwani enjoyed the movie

@Nisha Thank you.
Yes, Arun mentioned he found it "time pass" :D

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