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BHARAT is a low-class tearjerker!

Profusely glorifying its lead superstar Salman Khan, BHARAT is purely meant to be a crowd-pleaser. It’s about as subtle as having an off-screen narrator yell "Start crying!" before big scenes, and probably as effective. While its content never impresses, the consistent pace, coupled with some strong technical finesse, make BHARAT watchable, at best. Passable for your free time, not recommended otherwise!

'Bharat' is a journey of a man and a nation together. At the cusp of India's birth as an Independent nation, a family makes an arduous journey to freedom at a cost. A young boy Bharat (Salman Khan), makes a promise to his Father (Jackie Shroff) that he will keep his family together no matter what -- a promise that he keeps over the next 60 years of his life, despite each decade throwing a new set of challenges at him -- some humorous, some thrilling, some romantic while some life-threatening. His resilience, loyalty and a never dying spirit, mirrors the fundamental qualities of India -- Bharat !

Based on the 2014 South Korean blockbuster “ODE TO MY FATHER”, BHARAT is a grand melodrama fest. To a person like me, who watches a lot of world cinema, a film like this hardly excites. It feels like a laboured effort to make the audience sentimental. Eventually, in its course, the drama becomes more and more manipulative and heavy-handed. BHARAT, in its relentless effort to make you cry, loses the natural innocence which could’ve made this film truly an emotional journey spanning over decades.

The main problem lies in the screenplay, which has been written keeping in mind the basic rules that a Salman Khan starrer has to follow, preserving his larger-than-life image and depicting him in the most heroic way possible. While that plays well to the gallery, it puts-off the more informed and exposed audience, that desires more believable content onscreen. Otherwise, despite its wafer-thin plot, the film maintains a good pace, and keeps you hooked for the most part. Only the last half hour seems to be testing your patience a bit. Apart from that, there are irrelevant songs that act as speed-breakers.

Like most Ali Abbas Zafar films, BHARAT shines in the technical department. Somehow, Zafar is able to make his films look and sound much better than the rest of Bollywood films, which is a really good thing. The background score matches up to the scale of this ambitious project. Writer/Director Zafar almost pulled of this project successfully, but for the poor writing, which spoils the show for the evolved cinema watchers. He restricts himself to the typical Bollywood trappings, and gets overindulgent too at that.

Not much to be spoken here about the performances. Salman Khan, as always takes it upon himself to carry everything on his shoulder. He appears in each frame and works hard to look the age he portrays at different stages of life. He isn’t able to pull it off perfectly, but his dedication deserves praise. Let’s face it, he isn’t the finest of actors we have, but he does with panache what he always does best – being a Megastar onscreen. Khan is meant to be shown as an everyday common-man, but nothing about him here is common, or everyday. Katrina Kaif is good, and all others are passable.

To sum up, BHARAT is a syrupy drama designed to gnaw at a viewer's tear ducts. As I said – it’s watchable, but not recommended!

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