Friday 14 September 2012

This Barfi is Delicious!

Film: Barfi!
Producer: Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Ronnie Screwala
Director: Anurag Basu
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ileana D’cruz
Genre: Romantic comedy
Ratings: Outstanding
by Bhawana Somaaya

Set in the 70s in a pretty corner of India in Darjeeling the film tells the story of three people who learn that love can neither be defined nor contained.
Barfi is deaf and mute but that does not come in the way of his enjoying his life. He is full of pranks and has a way of charming everyone he meets.
Shruti is visiting Darjeeling where she meets Barfi and though she is engaged to be married, falls in love with the simple small-town-boy who makes her laugh and live life to the fullest.
Jhilmil is mentally challenged and has known Barfi since childhood. They meet again as adults and though a lot has changed, a lot remains unchanged.

What works about the film:
Is that it is a refreshing story and completely unpredictable. To all those cynics who feel, so what’s new about love – travel into the world of director Anurag Basu and watch him unfold a stirring tale of three extra-ordinary characters. Shot in breathtaking locations with minimum dialogues, Preetam’s music fills in the blanks for the emotions that characters cannot express to each other.

Ranbir Kapoor’s Murphy/ Barfi is a feast to the eyes and leaves you awestruck in every frame.  He is flawless, be it in the Chaplin act, romance, chase or even the most ordinary scene, conveying more with expressions and body language than words.  What’s endearing is that Barfi is spirited despite his impairment.
Priyanka Chopra’s Jhilmil is a role to remember and her best so far. Chopra plays the awkward, autistic, overgrown woman without vanity or a false chord.  
Ileana Dcruz’s Shruti is a beautiful presence – sensitive and delicate and it is evident that the camera simply loves her.

What does not work:
It is too long – 2 hours 30 minutes to be precise, and has a non-linear narrative that gets complicated. The frequent flashback forwards are unsettling but barring that there is nothing to criticize about the film.

What is special about the film:
The characters and the relationships, the star-cast and the performances, the magic of the lead pair but most important is the film’s director Anurag Basu. After Gangster (2006) and Life In A Metro (2007), Barfi is, in the true sense, a cinematic experience and Basu is the only director in present times who understands the power of silence.

 Barfi will determine if the audience has matured to accept the artistic as commercial. Something tells me they are ready for the change.

The review appears as it is in Blockbuster, a newly launched trade magazine.
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