Bharat Ane Nenu is an unoriginal, passionless Political drama, which is confused between genres.
The most unfortunate thing to happen to Telugu Cinema in recent times is, what Mahesh Babu has chosen to become. This subtle, restrained actor, has now turned into a loud, crowd pleasing star, struggling to even pull, the later part, off. There is pretence even in the claptrap moments. The subtlety in his performance is replaced by either pure nothingness as he looks into the camera with numb eyes or over-the-top, unconvincing theatrics. The lack of conviction in his performance does not help one bit in saving this sinking ship of a film,
Bharat Ane Nenu.
Bharat Ane Nenu ( I, Bharat ) is a statement generally used in swearing-in ceremony of a Chief Minister. Bharat is a multiple degree holder, believe it or not, in The Oxford University and has lived most his life in London. He returns home, upon receiving the news of his father’s death, who was the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. Bharat inherits his father’s position and relishes the power he has, to reform the state and work for the welfare of people. The rest of the movie is how, the audience will endure the same story and similar emotional beats that they have been served, numerous times before; it gets worse here, as even the familiar emotions are forcefully manufactured by a deafening score, as opposed to proper writing and characterization. The film is filled with cut-outs of every possible stereotype in Indian cinema, there is a friend who betrays the other loyal friend, there’s a wailing mother, a privileged, good-hearted youngman exuding sympathy towards the
impoverished and a heroine who is hired just to wear fancy clothes and dance with the star, in a Ramoji Film City set.
The story comes to being so similar to the story of a much superior film, Leader that it might almost qualify as plagiarism. Just like in Shekhar Kammula’s Leader, an NRI son takes over the Chief Minister position of the deceased father and aspires to bring about some change in the society, only to be opposed by the senior statesmen of his own party, as his aspiration to do good is affecting their politically motivated financial agendas. Although, where Leader becomes a great film is when the protagonist is vulnerable. Bharat Ane Nenu never allows Bharat to lose or break a sweat in tension. In an overtly reverential, star driven movie, vulnerability is prohibited, so is originality.
The film does not know what it wants to be, it is pitched as a political drama but ends up with neither the notorious cunningness of politics nor the emotional beats of a drama.
The recent Telugu films have forced me into believing that a blockbuster can only be made by sucking out every last ounce of originality from the script. Even the acting performances are reminiscent of the actors’ earlier performances in other films. Mahesh Babu seems to be stuck in the Limbo of Dookudu and Businessman, he does not deliver dialogue but accounces it. A powerful, badass cop in Dookudu and a good-hearted NRI Chief Minister, both look, feel and sound the same. The only actor who seems to be indifferent to the kind of film he is in and gives a familiar but comforting performance, is Prakash Raj; his presence is the only silver lining in this caricaturish film. A film cannot afford to be a lesson on Moral Science, with an indestructible man at the fore. Any drama would need an emotional hook, for the audience to latch onto and stay with the story throughout, but when the hook is just the stardom and emotion is just admiration of an extremely good-looking man walking in slow-motion, it is an insult to the viewer’s sensibility.
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So much of disdain in this review, only comes from a place of frustration of not seeing Telugu cinema soar the heights of greatness like other industries do. However, hope is always that comforting friend to frustration, it pacifies a disappointed cinephile and promises to bring better content, which films like Arjun Reddy and Kshanam do but the commercial success of Bharat Ane Nenu proves that we still thrive on Mediocrity.