When his dad, the Chief Minster of Andhra Pradesh dies unexpectedly, Bharat, a London-bred young man is forced to become the Chief Minister.
Weaving in his trademark mix of humour and action, director Koratala Siva builds up Mahesh Babu’s Bharat into the ideal Chief Minister. Before things come crashing down.
Siva writes in vignettes, his movies a set of crowd-pleasing scenes glued together by star-power and humour. He is also a clever filmmaker, someone who instinctively knows the strengths of his star. Whether with Mahesh Babu in their earlier hit Srimanthudu or Junior NTR in Janata Garage, Siva tailored the movies to fit their images.
Bharat Ane Nenu, Siva’s second collaboration with Mahesh Babu, is cut from the same cloth. There is the ostensible social message much like Srimanthudu, and the same reluctant-urbanite-saving-society routine that Mahesh Babu seems to revel in.
And true to the image of its star, Siva plays it safe with the timeline, setting the movie before the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana split. The issues that Bharat takes up are non-controversial, traffic and private schools, easy enough for everyone to relate to and not meaty enough for anyone to get upset. The solutions are not particularly well thought out, but they work in the context of the movie: “I am here to fix people’s issues, not support their mistakes,” Bharat tells us earnestly, while hiking traffic fines.
Sekhar Kamulla’s Leader and Shankar’s Oke Okkadu also had reluctant protagonists finding themselves in positions of power, but the similarities end there. This is a lighter script that does not have the earnestness of Leader or Oke Okkadu, and the movie is better for it.
Meanwhile, Bharat sees Vasumathi on the streets of Hyderabad. He falls for her, so of course she does too. They sing a duet or two and then she reappears later and then disappears some. This is again typical of Siva: His lead women are afterthoughts, set-pieces to prop up the star.
Mahesh Babu brings out his brooding, high-intensity act again, employing his limited range of expressions to remarkably good use. Kiara Advani plays Vasumathi. She is not from Andhra Pradesh or Telangana, and cannot speak Telugu. Just saying.
And Prakash Raj hams his way through another one of his million supporting acts, while Posani Krishna is typically, irreverently funny.
Devi Sri Prasad’s repetitive high-energy music has its detractors, but his songs and score work well for the movie. Ravi K Chandran, the noted cinematographer, had shot about half the movie before he walked out citing a conflict with dates, leaving Tirru to finish off the rest. A common theme runs through the music and cinematography – they amplify Bharat’s star power, making him appear larger than life.