Director: Anurag Basu
Producers: UTV Motion Pictures, Ishana Movies
Writers: Anurag Basu and Sanjeev Dutta
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ileana D’Cruz, Saurabh Shukla, Ashish Vidyarthi, Akash Khurana, Roopa Ganguly, Haradhan Bandhopadhyay
Rating: * * ½
Plot: Barfi! is the story of a deaf and mute young man called Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor) and his relationship with Shruti (Ileana D’Cruz) and an autistic Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra).
Review: Barfi! starts with an unusual yet interesting song called ‘Picture Shuru’ which creatively asks the audience to behave in a non-distracting manner. As some part of the movie passes by, you realize the song was just the tip of the iceberg as far as the creativity in the film is concerned. In fact, the film can easily be called an artistic brilliance. But what’s unfortunate is that the think tank of Barfi! try to be too creative in the second half in terms of the script and narration. This is enough to include the film in the ‘strictly one-time watch’ category.
Talking about the positive points, it can be said that Anurag Basu has narrated the tale in a manner that no other Indian filmmaker has managed before, at least in mainstream Bollywood. The creativity shown in the simplest of scenes just makes one speechless. Even before the first 30 minutes, one might lose count of the number of the intelligently crafted scenes! The use of flashback is also super witty!
But how one would have loved to have the positive points shining throughout the film! As mentioned before, that isn’t the case here. After few moments of the second half, one realizes that the simple heartwarming tale is being told in a complicated manner. The screenplay and some of the events also give rise to confusion which coupled with the dwindling pace and abuse of flashback, make matters worse. In addition, the helplessness of physically and mentally challenged characters and a number of emotional moments make the proceedings too depressing and disturbing.
One also can’t ignore few other factors. There is just too much of Charlie Chaplin-ism in the form of chasing and falling around. Filmy moments like the central character cutting lamp post to test people and hurling a shoe upwards to call Jhilmil don’t suit in a realistic film. And by the way, why is Barfi’s mother shown dying in such a humorous manner?
Apart from the title song, Pritam’s music is just average. In the song ‘Main Kya Karoon’, Nikhil Paul George’s rendition of those three words is irritating! But Pritam deserves praise for the background score, although it is very similar to Amelie. Ravi Varma’s cinematography is masterly, a pure delight!
Barfi! is also blessed with some quality performances. Ranbir Kapoor is just brilliant as Barfi! Judging by the way he realistically brings the character alive, this will be one of his most talked about performances from his filmography. Priyanka Chopra deserves similar applause. She pulls off a physically and emotionally challenging act with ease. She deserves a standing ovation! Ileana D’Cruz makes a confident debut as she shows her acting potential apart from her stunning looks.
One of the best character actors, Saurabh Shukla is wondeful. Akash Varma, Ashish Vidyarthi, Roopa Ganguly and the rest of the supporting cast do well too.
Overall, Barfi! is a stunning visual treat which could have been better . At the box office, the film will score mostly at the urban multiplexes.