I finally managed to watch Barfi and as anticipated, it was a welcome breather from the recent run-of-the-mill Bollywood releases.
Barfi is the story of an incredibly charming deaf and mute boy from Darjeeling played by Ranbir Kapoor. This boy falls in love with the pretty Shruti (Ileana D’Cruz) who is all set to get married in three month to this ‘right by the book’ guy until she meets Barfi. Barfi is a fearless, zestful, nimble and lovable boy who refuses to get bogged down by his disability or circumstances. But when Barfi’s dreamy eyes are met with the harsh realities of the materialistic necessities of a good life, Shruti and Barfi part ways and the former goes back to her hometown Kolkata and gets married. Life gives Barfi another chance to fall in love in the form of an autistic girl Jhilmil ( Priyanka) and against the back drop of a forever chasing cop, a greedy father and an insensitive mother, Jhilmil and Barfi become soul mates.
It is actually in many ways Anurag Basu’s attempt to take us on a fantasy ride. There were distinct parts which reminded me of the Hollywood movie Notebook (inspired by the novel with the same name). The best thing about the movie is Barfi. Ranbir gives yet another stellar performance but after Rockstar I am not surprised. There are a number of light moments reminiscent of the classic Charlie Chaplin movies. Ileana has this aura about her which is quite compelling and she pulls off the character with a lot of grace. The surprise for me was Priyanka. As opposed to what I expected, her acting was not at all over the top. She convinces you to look at her as Jhilmil and not as the glamorous diva that she is. Pritam’s soundtracks easily qualify for the few best soundtracks this year and all the songs have a sweet, hummable and easy breezy quality to them.
The pre interval part of the movie keeps you very engaged and you love the whole light heartedness. What does not impress you as much is the second part where the plot loses ground to a certain extent. There is an unsuccessful attempt to create an element of surprise amidst a very predictable story line. But there are too many things to like than there are not to like. After Zingadi Na Milegi Dobara and Gangs of Wasseypur, this one is bound to stay in my mind for some time. The audiences will love it. If not the best, Barfi is definitely one of the better Bollywood movies ever made by a young director. Go watch it.