I admit that I really submit all my ways if a Hindi film gives me emotional, manipulative trappings. Anurag Basu tends to do just that in his sweet, absorbing 'Barfi!', which stars Ranbir Kapoor in what can be called one of his most original performances, outweighing Ileana's sincere act or the charming innocence of Priyanka Chopra. As a lead, he carries sweetness and is very absorbing. The film, as well, is amazingly entertaining. The writing is less in the script and more to the story. There are contrivances though, like the dragged running time and no seamlessness in the present-day sequences. But all this aside, 'Barfi!' is seldom unenjoyable and always worth having. It's sweet tooth is milky but strong. The film's beauty shall arrest you equally. Watch it, because it is the sweetest Hindi film you will seen this year. It is not a full-blown original, but one that's got all the heart in the right place. And, it is equally a magnificent film that carries solidity in its love story. As 'Murfi' transitions from childishness to maturity and repeat, you go on with him, loving his journey. That too, makes the film worth repeat viewing.
Bollywood has seen the emergence of a new crop of actors in the last few years especially with the Khans & Kumars well into their mid 40s though there is no doubting the star power that these individuals still hold. However, among the younger lot; if there is one guy who has really caught the eye, then it has to be Ranbir Kapoor, the talented scion of the Kapoor khandaan. After having swept the awards last year for "Rockstar", he is back with his latest venture "Barfi", directed by Anurag Basu. The promos promises to be better than "Rockstar", but will it actually be???
Shot in the picturesque Darjeeling & Kolkata, the film is spread across three time lines which runs parallel to each other starting from the 1970s to the present day. Barfi (Ranbir) is a deaf & dumb lad who had lost his mother at birth. Though he was actually christened Murphy, owing to his parents likening for the Murphy radio ads, his vocal inability made it sound like Barfi & that name invariably stuck on him. He was a prankster who believed in living life to the fullest & lighting up a smile on everyone. His charm worked on everyone including Shruti (Ileana), but the reality of life made her listen to her brain rather than her heart. It invariably broke his heart & subsequently brought into his life his childhood friend, Jhilmil (Priyanka), an autistic gal & daughter of a wealthy family. Both of them found each other's presence assuring and indispensable. But what is life without twists & turns.
After the forgettable "Kites", Anurag Basu is back with a gem of a movie which is both touching & delightful while not being sympathetic or preachy towards the indispositions of the protagonists. Actually the moment the credits starts rolling, you cant help having a smile as it's quite unique from what we usually hear which I am however not going to mention here. After having watched numerous sick slap stick comedies, it was a welcome relief watching some clean humorous moments which has been inspired from Charlie Chaplin & Mr.Bean. In addition, there are some truly heart wrenching moments be it Barfi expressing his anguish on being rejected or frantically searching for Jhilmil in the Special care home. If at all I could point a flaw which is miniscule then it has to be shifting of time periods towards the latter half of the film which could get a tad confusing.
Essaying a character solely on the basis of body language & expressions requires a fair degree of brilliance which Ranbir invariably does. He was just fantastic to say the least as he evokes laughs & despair with equal finesse and ease. In short, he will be sweeping all the awards as it's much better than even "Rockstar". Ileana has done herself a huge favour by debuting in a film which offered her a meaty role into which she digs gleefully. Not only is she beautiful but she has packed it with a sincere and touching performance with her expressive eyes. Priyanka's caliber as an actress is well known be it "Fashion" or "7 Khoon Maaf" & here also she has come up with a delectable performance making sure that it doesnt become a caricature or overtly sympathy seeking. The rest of the cast also deserves a pat on the back be it Saurabh Shukla, Rupa Ganguly etc.
It would be unfair to wrap up this review without acknowledging the superlative performance of the crew starting with Ravi Varma's visuals which was an absolute delight moping up the beauty of Darjeeling & the hustle bustle of Kolkata in ample measure.Similarly, Pritam's music & background score was in sync with the mood of the film and makes up for the silence of Ranbir.This film will be making a clean sweep of many of the awards next year & will be the one to look out for.
Verdict: The film is unlikely to have a wow factor on its opening day as it has very limited release in single screens.However, the Multiplexes will make the cash counters ringing especially with positive word of mouth. As one would expect, it will be big in the metros but not so in the smaller centres which usually decides whether the film reaches the 100 cr. mark. Anywaz my advice to you guys are to watch it for sure, coz it's just fantastic. So please dont miss it!!!
While this film did not blow me away as I hoped it would, it had its tender moments and the impressive style akin to French cinema. The performances are believable (I particularly liked Ileana D'cruz) and the film makes a distinct statement that mainstream Hindi cinema is finally coming of age. Some of the unrequired frills that I found distracting included the serenading group of three strange men (which i felt was borrowed from the animated film 'Rango' where a group of owls do the exact same thing).
Overall, the film does not quiet achieve the sensitivities of a timeless classic like 'Sadma', but it still tugs at the heart and leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling.