Bharat

Movie review by
Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media
Bharat Movie Poster Image
Historical family Bollywood action drama has some violence.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 154 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Plenty of positive messages including; compassion, courage, self-control, and integrity. Learning to let go and embrace change. It is also about duty and honor, protecting others and staying true to your word. The importance of acceptance of one another, although there are some examples of racist behavior.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bharat is motivated by a promise to his father that he will take care of his family. He works hard, risks his life for others, and protects his family and friends. He chooses duty over love and his own happiness. Kumud or "Madam-Sir" is a strong female role model, respected by those around her and successful in her career. In one scene, Muslim and Hindu children show acceptance for each other by making friends, despite the partition of India and Pakistan. Elsewhere, building developers are portrayed as greedy and violent -- often displaying racist behavior and putting their employees lives at risk.

Violence

Characters are kicked, punched, slapped, hung by the neck, beaten, and shot at. Scenes of peril include a child falling off a train into a crowd, a gas explosion where characters are knocked unconscious and trapped underground, a storm at sea, and a ship being taken over by pirates. Families are also separated. Circus scenes involve a motorbike jumping through flames, racing and then crashing, leaving a character with a broken leg. There are shots of multiple bloodied dead bodies. References to the death of a parent, a shop being burned down, the historical killing of Hindus, and threats to kill, bury alive, and "kick-in skulls."

Sex

There is seductive dancing and mention of desire and longing in the musical numbers. Characters hug and kiss on the forehead. A character is wolf-whistled at a circus. Men remove their clothes to be weighed and measured in a comedy scene, but are only visible from the waist up.

Language

Occasional use of "bloody" and "ass." Some toilet humor with mention of bowel movements.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Character drinks from a hip flask -- numerous times -- in a bid to gain confidence to talk to a member of the opposite sex. A character is seen mildly drunk though not intoxicated.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bharat is an action drama -- starring Bollywood heartthrob Salman Khan -- in Hindi with English subtitles. It refers to historical moments, including the partition of India in 1947, and references politics, religion, and themes such as unemployment and racism. There are some harrowing moments, including families getting separated and the mention of the death of a father. Characters are repeatedly put in danger, and the action scenes can be quite violent, with kicking, beating, shooting, and shots of dead bodies. Some musical numbers are flirtatious, but there are no overtly sexual references, and language is mild and used infrequently. There are burps, farts, and toilet humor. The main character, Bharat (Khan) is heroic and places great emphasis on duty and the protection of those he loves, and the film has a strong message about learning to let go and accept change. It is an enjoyable action drama, though some subjects, the level of violence, the runtime, and the subtitles may make it unsuitable for younger viewers.

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What's the story?

In BHARAT, the history of India is traced alongside one man and his family. Framed by his 70th birthday celebrations, Bharat (Salman Khan) recounts his past to his family, from the day he and his mother are separated from his father and sister during the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. Making a promise to his father to take care of the family until his return, Bharat works hard at whatever jobs pay the bills -- from a circus to an oil rig. Along the way he helps his best friend Vilayti (Sunil Grover) and falls in love with Kumud, aka "Madam-Sir" (Katrina Kaif). As he reflects on his life, and the resilience of his family and his country, Bharat must put to rest the past and learn to live in the now.

Is it any good?

Beautifully combining the shared history of a country with the individual experience, this is a poignant drama about adapting to change and honoring duty. An adaptation of the 2014 Korean film Ode to My Father, the acting is strong across the board. But this is particularly the case for Kabir Sajid as young Bharat, and Khan as the older central character who moves seamlessly between high drama and lighthearted humor. The sets are ambitious, from underground caves and stormy seas, to the bustling streets of Delhi. Scenes at the circus are dazzling, unfolding to reveal vibrant colors, bright lights, and fabulous attention to detail -- the perfect setting for one of many well-choreographed musical numbers. 

While the overall arc of Bharat is strong, it lags slightly in the middle, where some more rigorous editing could have helped to keep up the pace. It's also worth noting the epic 154 minute runtime. But this is a well-told story that is at times exciting, terrifying, and heartwarming. Teens and adults able to withstand the running time and subtitles will be rewarded with an enjoyable drama filled with energetic action.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Bharat. How did it make you feel? Did it add to the story? Do some types of media violence have different impact than others? 

  • Discuss the character of Bharat. What are his motives and main driving force? What positive character traits did he show? Why are these important?

  • What did you learn about Indian history from the movie? What would you like to know more about?

  • There were many different settings in the movie. Which did you find the most exciting and why?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action-drama

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