Producers: Ronnie Screwvala, Siddharth Roy Kapur
Director: Anurag Basu
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ileana D’Cruz, Saurabh Shukla, Akash Khurana, Ashish Vidyarthi, Rupa Ganguly, Jishu Sengupta
Editing: Akiv Ali
Laughing despite adversity is the best way to triumph over it. This is the message writer-director Anurag Basu sends out through his film Barfi!. It’s the only film in recent times that can do both – make you laugh and leave you with a twinge of sadness. While introducing Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor) in the film, Basu lets the actor show off his comedic self. The Charlie Chaplin feel to Kapoor’s character suits him, from sentimental expressions to comic timing.
This script is very smooth and there’s nothing extraneous. It’s perfectly focused and the timing of events (especially in the first half) is smashing. Basu brilliantly portrays the glorious to nauseating extremes of life beautifully.
Barfi! is a heartfelt tale set in Darjeeling. The story revolves around Murphy (Ranbir Kapoor), who is fondly called ‘Barfi’. He is deaf-mute, charming and always has a prank up his sleeve. Not surprisingly, the lad always finds himself in trouble with the authorities.
Barfi’s life turns upside down when he falls in love with the new girl in town Shruti (Ileana D’cruz). But he befriends Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra), an autistic girl who he has known since childhood. The crux of the story revolves around the complexity of relationships and how the love-friendship equation evolves.
The film is an emotional roller-coaster in its true sense. Basu has created a touching masterpiece – your cheeks smart from smiling and your eyes burn from the tears. Barfi! is a wonderful balance between comedy and tragedy. Pre-climax, the film seems to lose its grip but the way Basu has handled those scenes makes them worth watching. True to definition, the climax is unexpected.
Although the film is a perfectly blended story, post-interval, it is a little stretched and some scenes give you a sense of déjà vu. For instance, the scene where Rupa Ganguly drives Ileana D’Cruz to the hills to show her the man she used to love, and how she chose to trade love for a comfortable life, reminds you of the 2004 Hollywood classic The Notebook.
There are many other scenes that have been handled with sensitivity – when Kapoor ignores Chopra after meeting D’Cruz after a really long time. The way Chopra feels left out is beautifully captured. The simple tones of emotion, like jealousy and attachment, are perfectly woven into the script. For instance, the scene where Chopra tries to be like D’Cruz while looking in the mirror is just so sweet! The narration by D’Cruz’s character is also good.
The film provides some genuinely affectionate moments – where D’Cruz is leaving Darjeeling with her family and Kapoor follows the train. A special mention here of the scene where Kapoor meets D’Cruz’s parents. After the meeting, the emotions showcased by Kapoor are fabulous. He outshines as a performer and the curious detailing in the scene is beautifully captured.
Background score, music and cinematography deserve full marks. Many scenes are without dialogue and it’s the music that keeps the narration intact. Editing could have been better. The film, which spans three decades, has apt locations and costumes.
Performance-wise, Ranbir Kapoor is the soul of the film. He proves himself as an actor and portrays a very complex character with flamboyance. His performance is one of the most impressive ones this year. Priyanka Chopra gets under the skin of her character and is simply mind-blowing. Ileana D’Cruz makes an impressive debut and beautifully captures the essence of her role. As for the supporting cast, from Saurabh Shukla to Akash Khurana to Ashish Vidyarthi to Rupa Ganguly to Jishu Sengupta, everyone excels.
Verdict: A must-watch for all cine-goers. As for business, collections should grow with word- of-mouth publicity.