This film is a biopic of the life of Subramaniam Bharti (Shivaji Shinde), more commonly known as Bharatiyar. It details his life as a small boy in a kingdom going by the name of Subbiah to his
marriage at an early age to Kannamma (Devayani) and then eventually to his death at the hands
(or feet, to be more exact) of an elephant.
I watched this movie with trepidation for one reason -- the director was 'Gnaana' Rajasekaran,
who directed 'Mugam' -- the worst picture of last year. Fortunately, 'Bhaarathi' outdid my
expectations by quite a bit.
However, I still didn't like the film as much as many other reviewers did. Sure I give Rajasekaran
credit for doing something other directors would never do -- make a biography film. But the
film, unfortunately, is not an excellent biography -- only a pretty good one. The editing is
episodic, and the whole film seems like most of it was left on the cutting room floor. Perhaps
that's a good thing, because in 'Mugam', each scene was over five minutes long. 'Bhaarathi'
feels like it wants to do the same, but the editing makes it sharp -- and unfortunately jaggedy.
Shivaji Shinde is great as Bhaarathi. I also give Devayani credit for taking a movie other
actresses would have shunned with a vengeance.
This is a good biography, but in the end, it seems like it's more a collection of stories than a
continuous film. Which is unfortunate because the film had great potential to be absolutely
The dialogues, I have to admit, though, are extremely well-written.
NOTE ON THE MUSIC:
What would Tamil cinema do without Ilayaraaja, to take all the movies that other music directors
could never take? Ilayaraaja does a great job, putting music to many of Bhaarathi's own songs, and
adding a few of his own. I think Nirpathuvae is probably the best of the bunch.