Beginning this week, my reviews of the latest releases will be available on Please read not just reviews but the A to Z of film trade on my abovementioned website.


ARJUN PATIALA | 26 July, 2019

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Beginning this week, my reviews of the latest releases will be available on Please read not just reviews but the A to Z of film trade on my abovementioned website.


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Reliance Entertainment, HRX Films, Phantom and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment’s Super 30 is inspired by the life story of renowned mathematician Anand Kumar.

Anand Kumar (Hrithik Roshan) is a supremely bright student in school and is a mathematics genius. He hails from Bihar and comes from a lower middle-class family. His father (Virendra Saxena) works in the post-office while his mother (Sadhana Singh Shahabadi) is a housewife. He also has a brother (Nandish Singh).

Due to Anand Kumar’s genius, he gets an opportunity from the esteem­ed Cambridge University to study there but despite his father’s best efforts, the family is unable to make arrangements for the Cambridge education. Anand Kumar is crestfallen but the worst is yet to come. His father dies suddenly, leaving the family in an impoverished state. Anand Kumar is forced to sell papad from door to door to sustain the family.

Lallan Singh (Aditya Srivastava) spots him selling papad, recalls seeing him in school when he (Lallan Singh) had accompanied the minister (Pankaj Tripathi), and makes a fantastic offer to Anand – to teach in the IIT entrance coaching classes being run by him for the minister. Anand joins the faculty of Lallan Singh’s coaching classes because of which Lallan Singh zips ahead of competition by leaps and bounds as Anand Kumar is a name to reckon with. Anand Kumar and his family are now financially very secure.

Since the coaching classes can be afforded only by rich students, Anand Kumar soon realises that the poor students cannot benefit by his teaching. He recalls his father’s words when Anand was trying to send the solution to a very tough mathematical problem to a foreign magazine for publication – that the crown would now belong to the deserving, not to the king’s son! That does it. Anand resigns from the coaching classes and starts to teach deserving students from extremely poor families – that too for free! Not just that, Anand Kumar also provides for the lodging and boarding of the students numbering 30 in all. His students put their heart and soul into studies.

Students studying in Lallan Singh’s coaching classes and their parents are unhappy that Anand Kumar is no longer a faculty member. They complain to Lallan Singh, prompting the latter to try and lure Anand to return to teach his students. But when Anand is unwilling to budge, Lallan Singh tries to browbeat and even threaten him. Still, Anand is adamant. But soon, Anand is at his wits’ end as all his financial resources begin to get depleted. His students have to often go without meals. Finally, Anand goes to Lallan Singh when all else fails. Lallan Singh offers him a challenge which Anand accepts. What is the challenge? Does Anand win or lose?

Soon, there’s an attack on Anand Kumar. A grievously injured Anand is rushed to hospital but the doctor is unwilling to attend to him. Additionally, news comes in that the villains are on their way to the hospital to kill Anand Kumar. Who are these villains? What do Anand Kumar’s family and his students do? Does Anand get medication? How? Do the villains succeed in their sinister plan or are they beaten at their own game?

Soon, it’s time for the IIT entrance examination. Anand Kumar’s students appear for the examination. Finally, it’s D-day. The results are due to be declared – and Anand, his brother and his students are nervous as hell. What happens then?

Sanjeev Dutta has written a story which is both, inspirational and emotional. The story keeps the audience thoroughly engaged and involved. The difficulties which come in the way of the selfless Anand Kumar and his financially weak students and the manner in which they surmount them make for interesting viewing. Sanjeev Dutta’s screenplay is fantastic. The first half has some truly fun moments but it also has some extremely emotional moments. There are some claptrap moments also. The screenplay dips post-interval for a while but soon gains momentum. Once again, there are several emotional moments in the second half too and several scenes which will be met with thunderous applause. The climax is such a tear-jerker that the audience will cry, weep and sob.

Some of the truly terrific scenes which deserve special mention are: the scene in which a peon gives a million-dollar tip to Anand Kumar; the scene in which Anand Kumar expresses his gratitude to the peon; the scene in which Anand and his father seek financial assistance from the minister; the scene in which Anand Kumar gets up from his chair when he is called up on the dais by Lallan Singh to make an important announcement; the scene when he does make the announcement; the scene in which Anand Kumar’s non-English-speaking students make asses of themselves by speaking English in front of the English-speaking students but then, they even sing a song in English; the scene in which the ward boy in the hospital reacts to Anand Kumar lying unattended on a stretcher; the action sequence in the hospital; and the high-on-emotions climax. The scenes which will make the audience laugh out loud are the ones in which Anand Kumar’s mother explains to her husband why she doesn’t need her shawl as also the scene in which Anand Kumar explains why his girlfriend (Mrunal Thakur) is not as beautiful as she thinks, and also the scene in which his ex-girlfriend is travelling in the car with her husband (Manav Gohil).

Dialogues, penned by Sanjeev Dutta, are absolute gems. They reach straight to the heart. The dialogue about the condition of the roads being so bad that poor people like Anand Kumar have been forced to take huge leaps is an example of the brilliance of the dialogue writer.

Hrithik Roshan delivers an award-winning performance. His entire look, his demeanour, his style of talking, his accent, his gait, and, of course, his acting are all so extraordinary that he will win lots of applause as the hero of the film. His emotional breakdown is mind-blowing. Mrunal Thakur makes an impressive debut in a brief role. She is a natural actress and has good screen presence. Nandish Singh lends lovely support as Anand’s brother. Aditya Srivastava is pretty effective as Lallan Singh. Pankaj Tripathi (as the minister) leaves a wonderful mark with his inimitable acting but he has limited scenes. Virendra Saxena is splendid as Anand’s father. In the role of Anand’s mother, Sadhana Singh Shahabadi stands her own. Vijay Verma makes his presence beautifully felt as Fuga. Amit Sadh makes his mark in a special appearance. Rajesh Sharma (in a special appearance) and Chittaranjan Giri have their moments. Manav Gohil stands out even in a minuscule role. Karishma Lala Sharma, Paritosh Sand (as the father of Anand’s girlfriend), Susheel Pandey (as the peon in the library), Vijay Kumar (as the head librarian), and Gyan Prakash Pandey (as the assistant librarian) provide good support. All the students of Anand Kumar’s class are fantastic. The students of Lallan Singh’s classes also lend decent support.

Vikas Bahl’s direction deserves a lot of praise. He has handled the subject with immense sensitivity and proves that his understanding of human emotions is superb. Kudos to him for converting the story about a mathematician’s life into a heart-touching human drama. The cycle chain analogy is superb. Ajay-Atul’s music is good and goes perfectly with the film’s mood. The ‘Basanti don’t dance’ song is appealing in its own way. The other songs are also nice. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are good. Song picturisations (by Ganesh Acharya and Vijay Ganguly) are in synch with the mood of the film. Ajay-Atul’s background music is phenomenal. It heightens the impact of scenes to a large extent. Anay Goswamy’s cinematography is of a high order. Allan Amin’s action and stunt scenes are realistic. Production designing (by Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty) is of a fine standard. Sreekar Prasad’s editing is sharp.

On the whole, Super 30 is a super hit film, no questions asked. It will reach the Rs. 100-crore mark pretty fast and it has bright chances of touching the Rs. 150-crore mark and even joining the Rs. 200-crore club. It will do the best business in multiplexes and also in good single-screen cinemas of cities. Collections are bound to pick up as the positive word of mouth gains momentum.

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Zee Studios and Benaras Mediaworks’ Article 15 (UA) is about Article 15 of the Constitution of India.

Despite Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Constitution laying down explicitly in Article 15 that there will be no discrimination among individuals based on caste, creed, sex etc., caste-based differences are a part of the Indian ethos.

Ayan Ranjan (Ayushmann Khurrana) is an upright police officer who is posted in a small town where caste differences define life. The Brahmins there still don’t touch the Dalits or eat food prepared by them.

Ayan is shocked to see the bodies of two Dalit girls, both cousins, hanging from a tree one morning. The people of the town as well as his deputy police officers Brahmdatt Singh (Manoj Pahwa) and Jatav (Kumud Mishra) dismiss it off as a case of honour killing and accuse the fathers of the two dead girls. Another sister, Amli (Sumbul Touqeer), is missing and it’s not known whether she is dead or alive.

Being the conscientious police officer that he is, Ayan is unwilling to close the case without thorough investigation. It turns out that the two Dalit girls had been raped by upper caste contractor Anshu Yadav (Veen) because they had dared to demand a hike of merely Rs. 3 in their wages. Dr. Malti (Ronjini Chakraborty) confirms that the DNA of Anshu Yadav matches that of the rapist. Even as Ayan prepares to nab the influential Anshu Yadav, the case is transferred by the higher-ups to the CBI.

CBI officer Panicker (Nasser) comes to the town to interrogate Ayan. It is clear that everybody, except Ayan, is in a hurry to close the case. But will Ayan let that happen?

What does Ayan do after the case is transferred to the CBI? There are a couple of more startling revelations during investigations. What are they? Is Amli traced or was she dead? Does Anshu Yadav have to pay for his crime?

Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki have written a story which seeks to underline that almost 70 years after the Indian Constitution was written, India still revels in caste differences. The thought is disturbing but so is the reality. The duo’s screenplay is quite engaging and keeps the viewers involved. However, the track of Nishad (Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub) somewhat dilutes the main issue. Even the track of Ayan and his wife, Aditi (Isha Talwar), serves only to distract the audience. They have their differences but to what avail? Also, the audience does not experience a high because the culmination of the drama is not as earth-shattering as the build-up. This may probably be because rather than everything happening in the climax and very dramatically, things happen in phases. All said, although the screenplay is engrossing, it is not fantastic. By its very nature, the drama becomes serious and depressing after some time. The writers have not made an attempt to balance the seriousness with light moments except in the initial part (when Ayan uses the ‘F’ word which is misinterpreted by Jatav).

Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki’s dialogues are good but should have been outstanding.

Ayushmann Khurrana is splendid in the role of the principled and no-nonsense Ayan Ranjan. He performs wonderfully and makes his character completely believable. Nasser does a fantastic job as CBI officer Panicker. Manoj Pahwa shines as police officer Brahmdatt Singh. Kumud Mishra is extraordinary in the role of Jatav. Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub leaves a fine mark in a brief role as Nishad. Sayani Gupta stands her own with a natural performance as Dalit girl Gaura. Isha Talwar does a good job as Ayan’s wife, Aditi. Subhrajyoti Barat (as Chandrabhan) and Sushil Pandey (as Nihal Singh) provide good support. Aakash Dabhade leaves a mark as Ayan’s friend, Satyendra. Ashish Verma is supremely natural as Ayan’s PA, Mayank. Ronjini Chakraborty is effective as Dr. Malti. Veen is alright as Anshu Yadav. Sumbul Touqeer (as Amli) is okay. Others do as desired.

Anubhav Sinha’s direction is sensitive but also caters to the classes more than the masses. Music (Anurag Saikia and Piyush Shankar) goes well with the mood of the film. Lyrics (Shakil Azmi and Rashmi Virag) are good. Jayesh Pradhan’s choreography is nothing to shout about. Mangesh Dhakde’s background music is fair but could’ve been better. Ewan Mulligan’s cinematography is decent. Riyaz-Habib’s action and stunts are nice. Nikhil Kovale’s production designing is realistic. Yasha Pushpa Ramchandani’s editing is fairly sharp.

On the whole, Article 15 is not as hard-hitting as it promises to be in the initial reels. It will do fair business at the box-office.

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T-Series and Cine 1 Studios’ Kabir Singh (A) is a story of obsessive love.

Kabir Singh (Shahid Kapoor) studies in a medical college in Delhi. He is a super-bright student but his biggest minus point is that he is unable to control his anger. He falls madly in love with Preeti (Kiara Advani), a junior in the same college. He becomes so obsessed with her at first sight itself that he warns all boys of the college to not mess around with her. Since everyone in the college is aware of his temper, they steer clear of Preeti.

Preeti is a shy and docile Sikh girl but she soon reciprocates Kabir’s love because not only does she like him but she also realises that he can go to any lengths to care for and love her. Like, for instance, when Preeti injures her foot one day, he shifts her from the girls’ hostel to the boys’ hostel so that he can look after her all the time. Kabir and Preeti get physical during the time Preeti stays with Kabir in his room.

Soon, it’s time for Kabir to move to Mussoorie to another college. Preeti is crestfallen. Over the next few years, Kabir and Preeti meet one another in Mussoorie and Delhi. Their love for each other is as physical as it is sublime. After some years, Kabir becomes a surgeon of repute. Preeti also becomes a doctor.

One day, Kabir goes to Preeti’s home in Bombay to take her to his house for the wedding celebrations of his elder brother, Karan (Arjan Bajwa). Preeti’s father sees Kabir and Preeti kissing lip-to-lip on their terrace and is so angry that he actually throws Kabir out of his house. Kabir pleads with Preeti’s father to hear him out as he wants to tell him that he intends to marry her but the father is adamant. Preeti goes to Kabir’s home to pacify an agitated Kabir who then visits her house again the next day to speak with her parents. But Preeti’s obstinate father ridicules him and once again throws him out of the house. An extremely angry Kabir gives Preeti six hours to make up her mind, and leaves from there.

Back home, Kabir partakes in the wedding celebrations but is so disturbed mentally that he consumes glasses after glasses of alcohol and even injects himself with drugs. He becomes unconscious and remains so for two days, unaware that Preeti had come visiting and had been dragged back to her home by her family, and was now being married off to a Sardar chosen by her father.

Kabir is devastated when he regains consciousness and he goes to Preeti’s house to stall the marriage even as it is being solemnised. But he fails to do so. From now on, a devastated Kabir is on a path of self-destruction. Having been thrown out of his home by his disgusted father (Suresh Oberoi), Kabir drinks and does drugs morning to night. Unable to forget Preeti, he has casual relationships with several girls including film actress Jia (Nikita Dutta). His alcohol consumption and drugs intake now start affecting his performance in the operation theatre too.

His family is worried, his best friend, Shiva (Soham Majumdar), is concerned as hell but Kabir couldn’t care less. It almost seems as if Kabir is out to kill himself.

What happens thereafter? Does Kabir reform? Is he able to get over Preeti? Does he marry some other girl? Does he meet Preeti again?

The film is a remake of Telugu super-hit Arjun Reddy. The story and screenplay are penned by Sandeep Reddy Vanga and they are both excellent. The story about an obsessive lover is so arresting that it consumes the audience completely. Kabir and Preeti are, nature-wise, poles apart and yet their love for each other is so unflinching that it strikes a chord in the viewer’s heart. The story has plenty of twists and turns and keeps the audience thoroughly engaged and involved. Although Kabir is very short-tempered and hot-tempered, the audience falls in love with him because, except for his anger, his character is very likeable – he is caring, loving and extremely honest. That’s the reason the viewers are with him even when he behaves crazily or gives Preeti a tight slap.

The screenplay is fast-moving and completely entertaining. The first half has a lot of humour and fun scenes because of which it entertains beautifully. The youngsters, especially, will simply go bonkers over the obsessive love of Kabir. The womenfolk will also love Kabir’s character because every lady aspires for a man like Kabir in her life, minus the anger/temper, of course. Although the film is a love story, the family drama playing out in Kabir’s home is also outstanding and heartwarming too. Equally heartwarming is the concern of Kabir’s bosom pal, Shiva, for him. In fact, the viewer feels a lump in his throat when Shiva offers his own sister’s hand in marriage to Kabir to save him from complete ruination. If the track of Kabir’s father, concerned about the family reputation, is very good, so is the track of Kabir’s very understanding elder brother. There are some highlight sequences: Kabir’s grandmother explaining things to Kabir and Preeti; Kabir coming to blows with brother Karan; Kabir meeting his dad when his (Kabir’s) grandmother passes away; Shiva following Kabir everywhere he goes, just so that he can control Kabir and his anger; the last scene when Kabir, Karan and their dad are all dressed in similar kurtas, and their wives are all in pink sarees. The obsessiveness of Kabir is, of course, the film’s mainstay. Kabir’s reaction when he is being interrogated for professional lapses is very heartwarming.

Although the second half is tension-ridden and more serious, it never gets irritating. Yes, there are a few repetitive or boring parts but the plus points in the post-interval portion are so many and so outstanding that those repetitive and boring parts pale into insignificance in comparison. Overall, the screenplay also boasts of some very bold scenes which may shock the more orthodox audience but will be loved by the youth. The climax is very interesting and will have the weak-hearted weeping.

Dialogues, written by Siddharth-Garima, are excellent. They are also very bold and beautiful. Kudos to the CBFC for passing swear words in abundance.

Shahid Kapoor is outstanding in the title role. He has performed so brilliantly that he would be a strong contender for the best actor awards this year. He looks very good and lives the character of Kabir Singh. His biggest achievement is that he has played the character without any inhibitions, whatsoever. Kiara Advani looks extremely beautiful and acts very well. She lends a lot of grace to her character by her mature performance. Suresh Oberoi shines as Kabir Singh’s father. Arjan Bajwa (in special appearance) deserves a lot of praise for adding the perfect amount of restraint to the character of Karan. Soham Majumdar is simply splendid in the role of Kabir’s best friend, Shiva. He wins the audience over completely. Nikita Dutta lends good support in a special appearance in the role of Jia. Kamini Kaushal leaves a wonderful mark as Kabir’s grandmother. Adil Hussain has his moments in a special appearance as the medical college dean. Anurag Arora leaves a fine mark as Preeti’s father. Kunal Thakur stands his own as Kabir’s friend, Kamal. Vinay Sharma is lovely as Kalyan Sir. He gives a heartfelt performance. Dolly Mattu (as Kabir’s mother), Suparna Marwah (as Preeti’s mother), Swati Seth and Anusha Sampath (both as Kabir’s college friends), Geetika (as Preeti’s roommate) and Parakh Madan (as Preeti’s sister) provide very good support. Harsh Singh (as the lawyer of Kabir Singh) and Ankush Deshmukh (as film star Jia’s manager) lend lovely support. Vanita Kharat excels as Kabir’s maid. Amit Sharma (as Amit from the rival team of football players), Aanchal Chauhan (as Karan’s wife), Mitansh Lulla (as Preeti’s brother), Urvashi Panchal (as nurse Durga), Siya Mahajan (as nurse Rani), Gagandeep Singh (as Preeti’s husband), Abhay Raj Singh (as Preeti’s brother-in-law), Vipul Deshpande (as the hospital doctor) and Meneka Kurup (as the lady judge) are all effective. Others do as desired.

Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s direction is extraordinary. The narration of such a difficult story is not easy, and Vanga could’ve gone overboard. But he is in great command in the film. He has extracted superb work from out of his actors. He has also made the film an enjoyable wholesome entertainer. Musically, all the songs are well-tuned. The ‘Bekhayali’ song (composed by Sachet-Parampara) is a hit number, beautifully written by Irshad Kamil. The other songs (music by Mithoon, Amaal Malik, Vishal Mishra, Sachet-Parampara and Akhil Sachdeva) are all melodious. Lyrics (Irshad Kamil, Manoj Muntashir, Mithoon and Kumaar) are weighty. Harshvardhan Ram­eshwar’s background music is impactful. Santhana Krishnan Ravichand­ran’s cinematography (associate cinematogrpahy by Prince Anderson) is just too lovely. Afzal Usman Khan’s action and stunt scenes are very realistic and thrilling. Mansi Dhruv Mehta’s production designing and Pradip Jadhav’s art direction are of a fine standard. Aarif Sheikh’s editing (Mohammad Zayeemuddin is the associate editor) is suitably sharp.

On the whole, Kabir Singh is a surefire hit. The script is supremely powerful, the performances are splendid, and the narration is terrific. This one will definitely join the Rs. 100-crore club and it has very bright chances of crossing the Rs. 175-crore mark and, maybe, even joining the Rs. 200-crore club.

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Salman Khan Films, Reel Life Production Pvt. Ltd. and T-Series’ Bharat (UA) is the story of a family separated at the time of the India-Pakistan partition.


Gautam Kumar (Jackie Shroff) works as a station master in Lahore. It is 1947 and communal riots have broken out. Hindus from Lahore are all headed to Bharat (India) just as Muslims from Bharat are fleeing to Pakistan. Gautam Kumar, wife Janki Devi (Sonali Kulkarni) and their four little children, like thousands of others, are trying to escape from Lahore to India. Bharat (Kabir Sajid), who is barely 9-10 years old, is the oldest of the four children of Gautam Kumar.


There is just one train on Lahore station but thousands and thousands of people waiting to escape. While Gautam and Janki Devi are running with the two youngest kids in their arms, Bharat is running with Gudiya, his younger sister. But somehow, Gudiya is lost in the sea of humanity on the railway platform. Gautam Kumar climbs down from atop the train to search for Gudiya. While climbing down, Gautam takes a vow from Bharat that he would take care of the family and keep them all together in case he (Gautam Kumar) and Gudiya were to miss the train. The two, in fact, miss the train. Bharat and the rest of the family are devastated on being separated.


Bharat, his mother and his two kid-siblings reach the home of Gautam Kumar’s sister (Ayesha Raza Mishra) and brother-in-law (Kumud Mishra). Years pass by. Bharat (Salman Khan) is now a young man and he has a childhood bosom pal in Vilayati Khan (Sunil Grover), whom he had met when he had reached India. To make both ends meet, Bharat takes up a job in a circus where he does death-defying stunts. He meets Radha (Disha Patani) there. Radha loves Bharat and he also reciprocates. But before long, Bharat quits the circuit.


The employment situation in the country is bad. Bharat and Vilayati somehow manage to convince supervisor Kumud (Katrina Kaif) to send them to the UAE to work in oil fields. Kumud herself accompanies the Indian workers to the UAE and, before long, she falls in love with Bharat. On his part, Bharat also loves her and is, in fact, in awe of her. But he turns down her proposal for marriage as he fears, the promise he had made to his dad would be broken if, after marriage, he’d start ignoring his family.


Back in India, Bharat and Kumud start living in together (with the blessings of Bharat’s mother) because Bharat is convinced that the marriage would somehow go against his endeavour to fulfill the promise he had made to his father many years ago. After all these years, Bharat is still hopeful that he would find his father and younger sister.


Soon, Bharat and Vilayati take up jobs on a ship to earn a lot of money as Bharat wants to solemnise sister Mehek’s (Kashmira Irani) marriage with a lawyer (Aasif Sheikh). While they are away on the ship, Kumud leaves her new job of a news reader on TV and helps Bharat’s family look after the family shop.


Soon, Kumud gets a job in Zee TV. Before long, India and a Pakistani television channel decide to run simultaneous programmes in their respective countries to assist people trace their family members or relatives who may have gotten separated during the horrifying Partition days. Kumud prevails upon Bharat to participate in the programme, like many others.


Does Bharat find his father? Does the family reunite after so many years?


The film is based on Korean film Ode To My Father. The Indianised version of the story is written by Ali Abbas Zafar. The story is inherently emotional as it is about a family separated during Partition. But the problem is with the screenplay, penned jointly by Ali Abbas Zafar and Varun V. Sharma. The screenplay is very weak.


For one, in their quest to make an entertaining fare rather than just an emotional journey of an ordinary man, the two writers have laced the drama with humour and comedy, both of which greatly dilute the emotional core of the story. What the two writers should have done was to include a separate humour or comedy track rather than weaving the humour and comedy around Bharat and his near and dear ones. With Bharat and his close ones doing comedy or having so much fun, the emotional turmoil of the family is relegated to the sidelines. In other words, the core becomes an aside – and that’s not right.


Secondly, although Bharat keeps talking about his promise to his dad, he is not shown to be the family’s emotional anchor. He may have promised his father that he would keep the family together as a unit but what that presupposes is that he would be their emotional anchor. But what the viewers see him is being the family’s financial support system. After the terrible tragedy in the family during Partition, the audience is more keen to see Bharat rise to the occasion as an emotional anchor of the family. Unfortunately, there are as good as no scenes of emotions between Bharat on the one hand and his other family members on the other.


Further, the screenplay shows Bharat romancing Radha first and Kumud later, singing songs, dancing, fooling, etc. No doubt, a man who has had a tragedy in the family many years ago will lead a normal life but if the screenplay concentrates on only his romances, songs, dances, comedy etc., the audience will not feel his pain of so many years ago. As for the sacrifice of not marrying Kumud despite loving her, the audiences wonder why after all he isn’t marrying her. His marriage in no way goes against what he had promised his father. Bharat’s remark to Kumud that he was scared that if he married her, he’d be breaking the vow he had made to his father looks too convenient and cooked-up. What’s even worse is that instead of sitting down and forcing Bharat to marry the girl he loves (Kumud), his mother tells both of them that they should do what they feel is right. Although that can never be the intention of the writers, it almost makes Bharat’s mother look selfish and self-centred. If Bharat thinks, his marriage would be taking him away from fulfilling his vow, at least the mother could correct him about his baseless presumption. In fact, Bharat should have hastened to marry a girl like Kumud as she would be a fantastic emotional support for the family. And when Bharat and Kumud opt for a live-in relationship (way back in or around 1970), the viewers wonder what, after all, is the sacrifice which Bharat is making.


Frankly, even if Bharat hadn’t given his word to his father in 1947, that he would keep the family united, wouldn’t it have been his responsibility to look after the family as he was the eldest child in the family? So then, what’s all this drama of being true to his word?


This is not to say that there are no plus points in the screenplay. Of course, there are. The entire sequence of India-Pakistan television programmes is heart-wrenching and will make women and even several men sob in their seats. But that comes so late that the audience yearns for emotional and melodramatic moments and episodes before that. Some light moments are also entertaining.


The first half looks scattered and so, the overall impact is not what it should’ve been. What was needed was more original light moments and also more heartwarming and heart-wrenching moments. The first about 25-30 minutes of the post-interval portion are extremely boring, dull, dry and dreary. The portions on the ship (except when Bharat and the others dance to Amitabh Bachchan songs) are the weakest in the drama and can – and should –be advantageously deleted. Emotions are abundant in the India-Pakistan sequence but in the rest of the film, their shortage is sorely felt.


Dialogues, written by Ali Abbas Zafar and Varun V. Sharma, are good but the need was of punch-packed, clapworthy and emotions-laden dialogues.


Salman Khan acts very well. He is the best as the old man and his humour in that phase of his life is very endearing. His emotional scenes are terrific. Salman’s honesty and integrity on his face help the character of Bharat a great deal. But here, it must be added that Salman’s die-hard fans will not feel elated to see him in this film. Katrina Kaif does an outstanding job. She has worked hard on her accent and her voice modulation (in her old age) and the results are fantastic. Her performance is effortless and with this film, she proves that there is lots more to her than just pretty looks. To say that Katrina has looked mindblowingly beautiful would not be an exaggeration. Her curly hair, sarees with sleeveless blouses, bindi on her forehead – they all make her look bewitching. Sunil Grover does a fine job as Vilayati Khan. He is very natural but it must be added that the film doesn’t present him in the way his innumerable small-screen fans would have wanted to see him on the big screen. Disha Patani looks hot and dances beautifully. Acting-wise, she gets limited scope as Radha. Jackie Shroff makes his mark in a brief role as Gautam Kumar. Sonali Kulkarni lends fine support as Bharat‘s mother. Shashank Arora (as Bharat’s younger brother), Kashmira Irani (as Bharat’s sister) and Ayesha Raza Mishra (as Bharat’s paternal aunt) are adequate. Aasif Sheikh (as Bharat’s brother-in-law) has his moments and he makes good use of them. Satish Kaushik acts very well but his comic track doesn’t really add much because it is too frivolous. Brijendra Kala makes his presence felt. Kumud Mishra gets very limited scope as Bharat‘s uncle. He does well. Tabu springs a surprise and adds star value. Her acting is very natural. Nora Fatehi exudes sex appeal but her track seems irrelevant and can safely be deleted. Rajiv Gupta stands his own as Gulati. Meiyang Chang is good as Jimmy. Kabir Sajid is lovely as the school-going Bharat. Aaryan Prajapati shines as little Vilayati Khan. Matin Rey Tangu is cute as little Jimmy. Others do as required.


Ali Abbas Zafar’s direction is very good. Some of his directorial touches (like the one in which Janki Devi realises in a couple of seconds that the man on the Pakistani TV channel is not her husband even as Bharat is still hopeful that he could be his father who he is searching for) are brilliant. However, in his quest to make an all-round entertainer, he has, to a large extent, lost sight of the film’s emotional core, forgetting that sometimes, heartwarming and heart-wrenching emotions can provide the greatest entertainment. Frankly, his very choice of the film (Ode To My Father) and the adaptation are flawed. Music (Vishal-Shekhar) is good but the absence of superhit or even hit songs is badly felt. ‘Slow motion’, ‘Aithe aa’, ‘Chashni’, ‘Turpiya’ and ‘Zinda hoon main’ are well-tuned. Lyrics (Irshad Kamil) are good. Song picturisations (Vaibhavi Merchant and Adil Shaikh) are veritably eye-filling. Julius Packiam’s background music is nice but not remarkable. Marcin Laskawiec’s cinematography is excellent. Action and stunt scenes (Seayoung Oh, Parvez Shaikh and Dave Judge) are thrilling. Production designing by Acropolis (Rajnish Hedao, Snigdha Basu and Sumit Basu) is lovely. Rameshwar S. Bhagat’s editing could have been crisper.


On the whole, Bharat is below-average in merits but it will do above-average business because of the Eid advantage and the Salman Khan factor. At the box office, it will not at all be able to become a landmark film like some of Salman Khan’s and Ali Abbas Zafar’s earlier films. In other words, its business at the ticket windows will fall greatly short of the high expectations. Taking into account its recoveries from satellite, digital and audio rights, its overall business will, of course, exceed its high cost, making it a paying proposal in pure commercial terms. But that’s just not enough when it’s a Salman Khan film. His fans need to feel elated but in this case, his fans will feel terribly let down.

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Anand Pandit Motion Pictures and Legend Global Studios’ PM Narendra Modi is a biopic on prime minister Narendra Modi.

The film starts from Narendra Modi’s childhood when he used to sell tea with his father, and his love for the country even then. It then traces his entry into active politics, his rise as a dependable party worker for the general public, and then his election as the chief minister of Gujarat after crossing a number of hurdles.

During his chief ministership, Narendra Modi had to deal with the Godhra carnage to investigate which a Special Investigation Team was constituted. Even while the SIT verdict was awaited, Modi’s popularity reached such heights that he was tipped to be a prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 general elections. But even that was beset with problems. A businessman (Prashant Narayanan), whom Modi had gone after, due to his illegal activities in Gujarat, was particularly anti-Modi. A television reporter (Darshan Kumar) also left no stone unturned to malign Modi but to no avail.

The story is the real-life story of Narendra Modi and borrows incidents from his life. The screenplay is written by Anirudh Chawla and Vivek Anand Oberoi. The drama in the first half is quite boring as it moves at a leisurely pace and appears too stretched. This half is devoted to his childhood, youth, his entry into politics and his growth as leader of the masses. Although it has some patriotic moments, the patriotic flavour does not manifest itself fully. The second half is better and also more fast-paced and more dramatic. It also has more scenes which inspire patriotism. The scene in which a group of Muslims attend the Hindu puja kept by Narendra Modi after the communal riots in Akshardham, and where the Hindus and Muslims hold each other’s hands to show solidarity is the best scene in the film. Narendra Modi’s television interview is also a well-written scene. The climax seems hurried and although it gives a sense of high to the viewers, it also leaves them asking for more.

Dialogues, penned by Harsh Limbachiyaa, Anirudh Chawla and Vivek Anand Oberoi, are excellent at a number of places. Some of them are even clapworthy.

Vivek Oberoi acts well, especially in the post-interval portion. Of course, his performance is not of the kind which makes him appear exactly like Narendra Modi and that’s a minus point because he plays the character. Suresh Oberoi performs well in the role of the baba who guides young Narendra Modi in selecting his future path. Rajendra Gupta is good as Narendra Modi’s father. Zarina Wahab leaves a lovely mark as Narendra Modi’s mother. Darshan Kumar is effective as the anti-Modi TV journalist. Prashant Narayanan is natural as the businessman. Manoj Joshi deserves special mention for playing Amit Shah. His appearance and gait etc. resemble those of the real-life politician. Boman Irani shines in a brief role as Ratan Tata. Yatin Karyekar, Anjan Shrivastava, Kishori Shahane Vij, Sheila Gore and Sanjay Goradia lend lovely support. Others are adequate.

Omung Kumar B.’s direction is fair. He seems to be lost in the pre-interval portion but gets a grip in the second half. His handling of several scenes could’ve been much better. Music (Shashi & Khushi, Hitesh Modak) is so-so. Lyrics (Javed Akhtar, Prasoon Joshi, Sameer, Abhendra Kumar Upadhyay, Sardaraa, Parry and Luvraj) are not easy on the lips. Hitesh Modak’s background music is quite good. Sunita Radia’s cinematography is of a fine standard. Manohar Verma’s action and stunt scenes are quite thrilling. Vinod Kumar’s production designing, and Mohd. Arif Shaikh and Sharad Narayan Rathod’s art direction are appropriate. Sanjay Sankla’s editing could have been crisper.

On the whole, PM Narendra Modi is an average fare with a fairly nice second half but a poor first half. Having said that, it must be added that the film is too propagandist in nature to really do magic at the box-office. Narendra Modi’s victory in the 2019 elections will help the film’s performance at the turnstiles to an extent.

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