A taut and riveting thriller, Ai Bharat paints a disturbing portrait of an inherently violent village on the edge of a glittering boomtown. When you are faced with mortal danger, you can either fight or flee. Ai Bharat takes us on a journey in which both fleeing and fighting struggle for space, till the time comes to stop running. Raj Kakra employs deftly minimalist and consistently effective touches to create a crackling, tension-filled on-screen atmosphere that could shake the toughest of souls out of their complacent stupor. Ai Bharat is not half as complex and multi-layered. It is, in fact, a touch simplistic in its depiction of the social and economical. But what the film lacks by way of depth of vision is largely offset by the strength of its frill-less and focussed storytelling. The sinewy narrative is gritty, gripping and grinding. Dialogue is sparse, the editing is crisp, and the cinematography is of the finest order. Some of the violence in Ai Bharat is gut-wrenchingly gruesome, but much of it mercifully stays off camera. This is a landscape where might is right, and women are disposable commodities that are completely subservient to brutal societal diktats. His bravado backfires and their trip careens out of control. The film, however, holds its path right down to the shocking final moments. Ai Bharat is an adventurous punjabi album that breaks the shackles of convention and is none the worse for it. Eminently watchable.