Ali Abbas Zafar's Eid release, Bharat, sees the director's own Bollywood take on the 2014 South Korean film Ode To My Father with Zafar's leading actor, Salman Khan entertaining millions of his fans to the story of Bharat .
The film tells the emotional journey of Bharat, from 1947 to 2010 when, incidentally, the 70-year-old character can still bash up young ruffians a quarter of his age. The film begins with Bharat trying to live up to expectations as a son, and attempt to keep his family in one place as he promised his father following the 1947 Partition of India.
Some of the film's most powerful scenes involve chaos at a train station as India gains independence, and a family reunion after 50 years apart. Pack your tissues, it is one tear-jerking emotional ride.
It's moments like these that bring out Zafar's talent behind the camera and you are left to wonder why he could not get Khan out of the comfort zone more than he has already done for Bharat.
A man transformed
This is the first time to date that Khan has agreed to use prosthetics for a character, yet he barely ages throughout his character's 70 years of age . The same holds for Katrina Kaif's character, who plays his partner Kumud Raina.
The trials and tribulations that Bharat must go to stay good on his promise are dismissed away frivolously with comic scenes and one-liners, something that a Khan fan has gotten used to.
Some highlights of India's history from over the six decades in this period of the character's personal journey serve as convenient and quick plot points to take the story forward.
However, the film is riddled with massive inconsistencies. For instance, Disha Patani is seen as a gymnast with an exposed midriff in the late 1950s and Khan's mother approves a live-in relationship with Kaif while staying in the house with his big joint family in the 1970s - something very uncommon at that time.
The film also stars Jackie Shroff, Tabu, Sunil Grover and Sonali Kulkarni in key roles.The casting of Grover as Vilayat Khan and his best friend is tokenism for the Hindu-Muslim relationships in good times while all sorts of trends and topics are thrown in as background props to remind the viewer that years are passing by with these milestones.
The journey leads to the Gulf oil boom of the 1970s, which brings Khan's character to the UAE, as a blue-collared worker who is trying to make money to raise his family back home. Parts of the film were shot in Abu Dhabi in locations including the Liwa desert, Al Wathba, and Al Ain with the help of Abu Dhabi Film Commission. This true and rugged representation of life restores the balance somewhat in this film where logic vanishes into thin air.
Bharat is showing in cinemas across the UAE