Bharat Ane Nenu is old wine in an old bottle. I don’t get what’s so good about this movie that everyone’s going gaga over it.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but we’ve seen this story a million times before. Sekhar Kammula’s Leader and Deva Katta’s Prasthanam are still fresh in memory. Well, my memory at least. I am surprised that it didn’t cross people’s minds how similar BAN is to these movies. The basic script is more or less the same. Is the treatment different, then, you may ask? Different, in the way that this was poorly made and the previous two were not. BAN is essentially Leader and Prasthanam and a few other movies put into a mixer and diluted and diluted and garnished with some hero-worshipping elements.

While I am not surprised that this film is making the amount of money they say it is making (non-Baahubali record? What’s that? Would they later say non-Baahubali non-BAN record, and then when Naa Peru Surya releases, they’d say non-Baahubali non-BAN non-NPS record? WTF!), I am actually, genuinely surprised by the amount of thought that must have gone into writing this film. More or less two ducks might have been given while writing this film. Matlab yaar don’t play this safe also na!

Nearly every scene in this film you’ve watched play out a million times before. This is textbook approach (not in a good way) to making a film like this one. There’s absolutely no room for innovation here. At a time when the audience is looking for new scripts, serving age old stories with the same sappy, suck-y treatment doesn’t work anymore, at least as far as cinema as art is concerned. BAN plays to the tunes of expectations of a “commercial cinema”. I was hoping I would watch a good movie when during the initial 5 minutes, I saw Mahesh Babu graduating with 5 degrees/diplomas, from Oxford no less. I thought, “Okay, I’d like to see in detail how passing out from such a reputed university with stellar degrees will help Mahesh Babu’s character and how it will more or less make this film different”. Turns out, those degrees proved useless to the character or to the film. Bharat is surprised and genuinely pissed at the way people don’t give any flying duck about road safety or the ministers don’t give a rat’s ass about what they MUST be doing for the masses. But surprised and pissed even I am! And I don’t even have those fancy degrees from fancy colleges! So all that “UK se aaya, Oxford graduate” thread is pure BS.

The first half is a slog at close to 90 minutes. The second gets marginally better, but with the obvious, predictable drama. The heroine, debutante Kiara Advani, has 3.5 scenes in the first half. In the second – I was told by friends who’d already watched the film – that she had scope to perform and her character becomes integral to the goings-on in the film. Nope. Nope. Nope. Her role in the second half is a quick fix the writer opted for to conveniently bring some conflict point into the film. It’s so laughable.

It’s in-your-face evident that this film was made ONLY to make money, and make money it will. But the problem with this film is that it tries to be something more. It never delivers. Behind the reassuring political oaths, this script is a paper-thin one and on more instances than I can count, the mask slips and lays bare the film’s substance – too familiar, too little, too regular and too bland.

Mahesh Babu is alright. Pretty much the whole film was made keeping him in mind, so his character was suitably elevated (duh!). Prakash Raj is dependable as ever. Others are forgettable except Rahul Ramakrishna. DSP’s songs don’t land (most are redundant in the film anyway). The background score is good in parts and not so much otherwise.

I didn’t really like much in BAN. Come tomorrow, I’m sure to forget this film.

 

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