Bharat, a recently graduated Oxford University student, returns to India for his father’s funeral who was the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. He is forced to become the new chief minister despite his inexperience in politics and is not happy with the way the government is functioning in the state and wants to bring monumental changes in its operations.
These changes are not well received by the people and the opposition takes full advantage of the situation. The number of people opposing him only grows day by day, forcing him to take a few strong decisions. With no political knowledge and new to managing an entire state with enemies waiting to gun him down, can Bharat outwit them all and become successful in creating a better society?
ABOUT THE FILM
Bharat Ane Nenu is a 2018 Indian Telugu-language political/drama musical film written and directed by Koratala Siva, and produced by D. V. V. Danayya. The film stars Mahesh Babu as the protagonist and Kiara Advani as the love interest, alongside Prakash Raj, R. Sarathkumar, Aamani, Devaraj, Posani Krishna Murali, P. Ravi Shankar, Yashpal Sharma, Rao Ramesh, and Brahmaji as the supporting cast. Bharat Ane Nenu means “I, Bharat” which is the start of his oath as chief minister. The music is composed by Devi Sri Prasad with lyrics by Ramajogayya Sastry.
WHERE TO WATCH
The film can be watched with English subtitles on Amazon Prime. The Tamil version titled “Bharath Ennum Naan” and the Hindi version titled “Dashing CM Bharath” can be watched on YouTube. The Malayalam version titled “Bharat Enna Njan” can be watched on Zee5.
In the next section, I will share with you how I understood the film with subtitles. Yes, there are going to be major spoilers but I think it’s important to share this perspective because sometimes things can get lost in translation or cultural differences may have an impact on how one interprets the story. I think it’s unfair when this happens with critics that are very quick to judge. Especially with foreign cinema, audiences tend to rely on critics and influencers that sometimes have their own biases or even have no idea about what they are reviewing.
Eventually, I think it’s better to watch it and make your own assessment. Sometimes rewatching is necessary. Afterward, it’s fun to compare with these “critics and influencers” and see how much they got wrong. There is always something. Now, let’s get into the story…
Bharath Ram, played by Mahesh Babu, is a brilliant and curious student who graduates with his 5th degree from Oxford. When he comes back home after the celebrations, his uncle informs him that his father Raghava Rao, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, died from a stroke. On the flight back home, Bharat reminisces about the past.
As a little kid, Bharath spent most of his time with his mother (who to him is his bible, his world) and with his best friend Subhash who lives next door. His father was busy setting up a political party with his best friend Varadarajulu, the party president who’s also Bharath’s uncle. His mother scolds him for breaking the promise to not eat ice cream as it’s not good for his health. She then tells him about the importance of commitments. A few days later, she dies in her sleep, impacting Bharath sleeping next to her.
In the following days, Raghava takes care of Bharat at home, but Varadarajulu tells him that he must prepare for the upcoming elections and suggests he remarry to give Bharath a new mother to take care of him. She later gives birth to a daughter. Bharath’s attempts to bond with his stepmother fail, so he spends more time at Subhash’s house. When Subhash’s parents obtain jobs in London, Bharat wants to go with them. After some hesitation, Raghava agrees.
Bharath arrives in India and attends his father’s mourning at home where there is a lot of media outside the home. Varadarajulu tells Bharath that his father had to be hospitalized due to his asthma which deteriorated due to the cold weather, they were expecting him to get better in a few days.
He informs Bharat that the final funeral rites were completed by Siddharth, his little brother because Raghava’s death caused public disarray and they couldn’t wait for Bharat. He later learns that his little brother does not speak and is getting medicated for it. Raghava’s death caused speculation over who the next Chief Minister will be. Bharath then drives around the city and gets frustrated by the traffic chaos. At a party event, Varadarajulu introduces him to many politicians, including opposition party leader Sripathi Rao and his son Manohar.
FOLLOWING HIS FATHER’S LEGACY
When Bharath is getting ready to return to London, Varadarajulu cancels his ticket and tells him that he should be the next chief minister. Bharath declines as he has no experience and asks his uncle to take the position, but he declines to prevent any more conflict within the party. Bharat reluctantly agrees and becomes chief minister despite his inexperience after taking the oath in front of everyone.
On his first day, he gets a personal assistant who also worked for his father. They go through the newspaper headlines and go through one specifically who critiqued his speech and his incorrect spelling of a particular word. On the way to the office, he gets surprised at how there is no traffic. He learns that the traffic gets blocked for the chief minister’s convoy. At the office, he gets acquainted with his team and scrutinizes the efficiencies of the traffic department. His strict policies like raising fines and novel ideas which were initially rejected by the public with the media even calling him a dictator restored law & order in the area.
One day, he sees a girl named Vasumathi, played by Kiara Advani, among her friends at the bus station and instantly falls in love with her. Bharath surprises Vasumathi and her friends by calling her and asking her out for a cup of coffee. She came with her friends. The girls praise him for his efforts to restore traffic order and suggested he could use the fine proceeds to improve the roads which he thought is a good idea.
On his first assembly session, after getting bashed by the position, he proceeds to explain how the lack of accountability and responsibility of the people is preventing progress. If nothing gets done, they will remain in a mediocre society. So, he expects responsibility and accountability from everyone, including politicians, police officers, businessmen, contractors, etc. He quickly became popular with the public which does not fare well with the opposition. It’s straightforward: follow the traffic rules and there is no need to pay fines. He later finds out that many politicians like Manohar are laundering money and trying to expose them.
He later finds out that his little brother got ill and was taken to the hospital. He decides to stay the night watching over his brother. His uncle comes to talk to him about the current state of affairs and Bharat decides to gather a cabinet meeting. His uncle is not happy with the turn of events as he was the one always organizing these meetings begrudging accepts. The following day his little brother gets discharged, and Bharat takes him home. That same morning, he talks to Bharat for the first time.
During the cabinet meeting, Bharat learns about the sad state of public education and implements drastic changes which are widely accepted by the people. At the office, he received a group of young students that will be working at his office doing research and gathering data. He gets surprised when he sees Vasumathi among them. In the meantime, the investigations against Manohar continue. Varadarajulu tells the ACP in charge to stop the investigation on Manohar and even threatens him.
Vasumathi invites Bharath to the politicians’ small party, where the collaboration between the ruling party and the opposition and their scheming surprise him. After trying to intimidate him into doing their bidding Bharat does a stunt that surprises everyone. As according to him he is the only honest man in the room, he vows to make everyone present an honest man. He decides to remove all this corruption from politics.
INSPIRING OTHERS TO RISE UP
Later on, a young man named Ramana along with a few other young men from Kakinada come to meet Bharath. They tell him about their MLA, Rajendran from Bharat’s Party, who is unhelpful and corrupt. Now that an election has been scheduled, his son Raghu is contesting it. Since Rajendran is the brother of MP Damodaran (Damu), a senior leader in Bharath’s party, the party has given a presence to Raghu. The villagers are terribly upset as the ruling party’s candidate is sure to win, that’s why they came to Bharat for help. Bharath tells Ramana to run against him as an independent candidate which changes the election predictions.
SUPPORTING THE PEOPLE
Damu’s henchmen kill many villagers in retaliation, so Bharath sends undercover police officers to protect Ramana. Police officers under Damu’s command attempt to murder Ramana at his cinema hall, but Bharath arrives in time. Damu proclaims that Bharath is only powerful due to his bodyguards.
If he’s not able to defend himself now, how would he defend his region? Bharat accepts the fight despite his bodyguard’s protest. After Bharath alone defeats his henchmen, Damu decides to let the elections proceed without any intervention. Bharat slapped the ACP in charge. The weather condition was bad to fly so Bharat had to stay in the village. Since it was unexpected the only thing available was a bed located in a school.
Bharat is still preoccupied with how politicians and the police are working together in the wrong ways. There some villagers came to see Bharat. No government official came personally to learn about their difficult ways and even fight for them, risking his own life. They came to thank him and invite him to a festival in the village. As the legend of the festival goes, they don’t know if it’s true, but they consider him now their god who destroyed the demon sucking their blood. They offered him clothes to wear that they made themselves. The election takes place and Ramana wins.
Vasumathi’s father, who is a police officer is impressed with Bharat’s action. He considers the people as his own family and looks after them. That never happened before. Varadarajulu and his part representatives realize they made a mistake putting Bharat as chief minister thinking he would do their bidding. In the meantime, Bharat is continuing visiting villages and talking to the people.
In one particular village, farmers are struggling with farming and their earnings, they are still doing old-style farming. Bharat tells him it is important to learn new ways of agriculture and that he will establish a department for the village. He ensures them that they will receive their benefits on time. He further learns that the village doesn’t have proper healthcare. He immediately calls the doctor on duty and takes care of the situation. He continues the visit through the villages and starts seeing some progress.
In the next assembly session, he makes a controversial statement. He will allocate a minimal amount of money to every village to cover their most urgent needs as each one has a different urgency. They can’t reach the government when these urgencies arise so self-governance could be a solution to the problem. Almost everyone was against it, mainly because it will undermine their power and reduce their budget. Bharat argues that with the reduction their budget is still sufficient for them to work with. As they start to walk out in progress, he tells them that the proposition will be passed whether they like it or not.
THE INSENSITIVE MEDIA
Looking to make Bharat weak, Varadarajulu exposes Bharath’s relationship with Vasumathi, causing a scandal and accusations of nepotism since she is now working for him. Bharath resigns, and Varadarajulu becomes the new chief minister. Vasumathi and her father decide to leave by train. Bharat reaches them to tell them that he loves Vasumathi and will marry her and move to London. Vasumathi’s father declines his offer and they move to their native village as in their culture they would be taunted and berated by the neighbors even if Bharat gets married to Vasumathi.
Bharath arranges a press conference, where he attacks the media and their sensationalism, and he also addresses the people that go along with the media’s poison. Instead of taking so much time on social media, how different their lives would be if they actually pay attention to their issues. He explains how he made a drastic positive change in a short time, in a snap of a finger. The same way they can do with corrupt politicians who forgot that serving the people is their job. They are making money on the fear of people. People don’t know the difficulties villagers face just to come to the city to share their struggles. Most of their struggles can be solved with self-governance.
If he could do so much in such a short time, imagine what wonders can be created in 5 or 10 years. He mentions how all this is useless information to them and they focus on his personal life. He spoke emotionally about his relationship and really expressed his disappointment at how far the journalist will go for money and questions how they can sleep peacefully knowing that they destroyed lives.
Addressing the people directly in the camera he says that “If you have put the time you spend on the scandal you’re lives could have also changed with the snap of a finger. “If you want to remain as a frog in the well, where the politicians elected by you could be snakes. You’ll experience a death every day”. He finalizes his speech asking if anyone has any questions. The room remained silent. He then proceeded to end the conference.
RECLAIMING THE PEOPLE’S POWER
The common people start to visit their MLAs and ask for Bharath to be reinstated as their Chief Minister again. Afterward, his friend, ACP Krishna IPS, tells him that they have found a journalist named Mitra hiding in Brahmapur in the neighboring state of Odisha. Bharath, along with his Security Officer Mukhtar, goes there and learns that the journalist met with Raghava Rao before his death and proved Varadarajulu’s corruption to him.
FACING THE REAL ENEMY
At the same time, the ruling party’s executive committee asks Varadarajulu to resign and bring back Bharath as chief minister. This irritates Varadarajulu and he plans to kill Bharat. The ACP that was in charge of the investigation on corrupted personalities visits Bharat and tells him how guilty he feels for letting him down. He tells him that he continued the investigation privately and gathered information on an investigative journalist that has more information on the case including beliefs that his father’s death was not natural.
The journalist’s location was difficult to find but they reach it. The journalist tells Bharat all the information he shared with his father about Varadarajulu’s corruption. As Bharath leaves the journalist’s house, Mukthar, his bodyguard, gets shot in an ambush. Bharat takes him to a hospital and spots Varadarajulu’s henchmen.
Bharat and Mukthar escape and lead them to an abandoned area. Bharath eventually fights them and asks one of the henchmen to call the others as he knows they are more to come. As an army of goons shows up, the male villagers arrive to protect him. He is now their god and will kill all these men that try to harm him. Bharat and Mukthar are stunned by the turn of events. The villagers take him back on his way to the city giving him their moral strength. Bharat visibly gets emotional.
Bharath arrives at Varadarajulu’s office, where they face off. Bharat tells him what he now knows. Varadarajulu reveals how he tampered with Raghava Rao’s medicines to slowly paralyze and kill him because Raghava started doubting him after finding out about Varadarajulu’s corruption. Bharath is not afraid to expose all his crimes and gives Varadarajulu 24 hours to publicly admit his crimes and surrender to the police. Varadarajulu tries to change his mind unsuccessfully.
As Bharat is taking his oath the movie shows that Varadarajulu commits suicide. The legislature is dissolved, new elections take place, and Bharath’s side wins the election by a landslide. All corrupt politicians from both sides are arrested, and Bharath takes office back as chief minister. The film ends with him reciting his oath. At the start of the film credits, we see Bharath going with his family to Vasumathi’s house to propose to her. There the villagers invite them to visit a pond that they built with the money allocated to their village.
THEMES AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS
I enjoyed watching Bharat Ane Nenu. I cheered on so many times at scenes that I wish would happen in real life. There is way too much corruption that goes unpunished. It feels nice to believe that there could be people able to stand up against corruption.
THE PEOPLE’S RESPONSIBILITY
Taking care of one’s society is a responsibility of everyone. There are certain rules and guidelines required to maintain law and order. Those who don’t follow those rules should be punished. Those who consciously choose to do harm to society should fear the punishment. The first example the movie gives is following the traffic rules. Later on, he also put the responsibility on the people to improve their lives. They spend so much time on social media, time they could use to be productive and find solutions to improve their lives.
The film explores all levels of corruption within government institutions and manages to showcase them in such a way that everyone understands.
KEEPING POVERTY IN LINE
During the small party meeting, Bharat realizes the level of corruption of the politicians. They bluntly tell him how they are working for causes without offering solutions. That’s how they keep the people poor and relying on them for so long.
TAKING BACK THE POWER
When Bharat starts working for the people and tells others to do the same. That is the first step in taking back the power that the government stole from the people.
THE OATH TO SERVE THE PEOPLE
Bharat says his oath is his breath this is an indication of how committed he is to the cause, something he learned from his mother at a young age.
TAKING THE LEAD
Despite his inexperience, Bharat decides to take the position of chief minister to continue his father’s dream. It’s scary to take the lead but he did it knowing that he needs support and was willing to learn.
LEARNING ON THE JOB
Bharat is not afraid of learning on the job and bluntly tell others that he has no experience but is willing to learn quickly. It tells us that it’s okay to say I don’t know and proceed to learn the skills on the job.
A GOOD MORAL FOUNDATION
Bharat’s attitude is a result of the principles and morals he learned from her mother and the example his father gave him as someone who is willing to help people.
It was surprising to see how Bharat took time to spend with his little brother at the hospital. It shows how he values his family and knows how important a father figure/role model is to a boy. His action had a positive impact on his little brother.
Lack of education is what fuels corruption. Uneducated people see government electives as gods and don’t know that the government should serve the people, not the other way around. Bharat wants to improve the education system so that people can stand on their own, know their rights, and live a better life.
GIVING IT A CHANCE
These days there is no harm in trying. Relying on critics is worthless so why not give it a chance? Like Sarkar, the themes of the movie are government related so I was curious to learn the story. I was surprised at how much the story covered including farmers’ issues previously seen in Kaththi.
I watched the movie with my mother, and she loved it, especially the action scenes where the corrupted get beaten up. Taking into consideration that this is an Indian movie with dance and action sequences particularly in the tradition of the South Indian Cinema, it was a nice watching experience. Would watch it again.
These stories are more inspiring than superhero movies and are very important for any society. Many times the real heroes that sacrificed their lives trying to fight corruption are often forgotten.
Nitpicking on the film, there are scenes where they use CGI that are not great. The whole segment of calling up Vasumathi and going for coffee was my option not really necessary. I can’t deny that it was entertaining, but I think could have gone without it. Some action scenes were too fantastical, at least give the protagonist a few scratches. But knowing how these films are made it didn’t stop the enjoyment of the film.
My Rating: 8/10
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