There's much to like about this film: the cinematography, the performances, the music, the intimate world-building -- but for many, The Disciple will prove too slow. It's patient filmmaking, dreamy, meditative, and melancholy. Certainly, part of this has to do the with trajectory of the narrative, but because the mood of the film clearly mirrors the narrative, the entire experience, while at times mesmerizing, might be too impenetrable for some viewers.
This is clearly not a film meant for easy consumption nor is it a happy film. It's a contemplation and study of dedication, a clashing of traditional and modern sensibilities, and it's a film that explores internal conflict, futility, bad fortune, and the politics of belief. Ultimately, a lot depends on whether main character Sharad is compelling enough to root for and/or be sad for. Thankfully, he is. Sharad is a kind of modern Willy Loman (Death of a Salesman) figure, despite Sharad being a traditionalist confronting modern realities. While the reason for Sharad's path is his belief and devotion to his craft, the reason for Willy's path is desperation. The Disciple might suggest that these two motivations are related. Either way, devotion and desperation and failure are all deeply human experiences and incredibly fascinating. Many will see themselves in Sharad, for better and for worse.