The agonies of Being Bharat

Bharat

Bharat

Hindi (U/A)

Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif

Director: Ali Abbas Zafar

Ratng: 2/5 stars

Bharat does not have a surname. Because his name has "poora desh" in it. Dad Jackie Shroff proclaims his son belongs to the whole nation.

In the next two and a half hours, the son sets out on a 1940-2010 journey to pay back what he owes his country. The tribute features a few bike stunts in a Russian Circus, some oil drilling in the Middle East, a stint in the Indian Navy and half a dozen songs to cement his status as the most desirable and loyal hunk, with patriotism oozing out of every cell of the bulked-up bod.

All along, a stretched thread of Partition runs its exhausting course, complete with a rendition of the national anthem and several trips to the Wagah-Attari border, where our man cuts his birthday cake every year.

For the fan, Bharat is THE big ticket that Salman Khan promised. For the rest of the universe, it's one of his insipid Being (super)Human rituals every Eid.

This time, the outing is over-the-top nationalistic, featuring a string of icons and idols — from Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh (for a change, the man is not mocked at), Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan, and Kapil Dev to Sachin Tendulkar.

But none of them is a patch on our hero who wields the great Bollywood wand that turns gun-totting Somali pirates into puppets dancing to Bachchan tunes, and a spunky Katrina Kaif into a loved-up doll who coos into Salman's ears, "Don't try to play god, you are human." Our thoughts, exactly.

Kaif puts in a lot of effort to fit into her "Hindustani" role while all that Salman does is grey some hair strands to look old. And does he?

As a 70-year-old, he turns into the action-hero mode, stopping bikes with bare arms and beating up goons trying to close his 'Hind Ration Store'. Small mercies come in the form of friends like Sunil Grover who try to keep the Bhai show sane.

It's one thing to celebrate Bharat, the country. It's another to go on Being-Bharat autopilot to just celebrate its star.

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