The late Rajesh Khanna put it across marvelously in the memorable ANAND, 'Zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nahi.' Notwithstanding the roadblocks in our lives, one should celebrate life every single moment, every single day. That, in a nutshell, is the essence of Anurag Basu's BARFI!.
When we meet/see differently-abled people or special people, we may have a notion that they live a gloomy, grief-stricken life. BARFI! shatters the myth.
BARFI! cannot be slotted in any particular genre. But it has the disposition of the much-acclaimed LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, a delightful film that tugged at your heart strings. That film advocated the fact that one should savor every moment. Similarly, BARFI! notifies you to relish life and live it king-size. Yet, like most Hindi movies, this one is essentially a love story that throws the spotlight on the happy-go-lucky Barfi and his romances, first with the classy Shruti and later, with an autistic girl, Jhilmil.
The beauty of the film lies in the fact that it instantly absorbs you into Barfi's world. I wish to specify that one should not correlate BARFI! with disability. It's more about characters who face the challenges that life has to offer, yet live a more gratifying life than anyone else. It's about living each day of your life to the fullest, giving happiness, feeling love. It's a unique love story between three exceptional characters, something we haven't witnessed on the Hindi screen earlier.
His parents named him Murphy, but everyone calls him Barfi. Always ready with a prank up his sleeve, he's quite the charmer, especially with the ladies. In Darjeeling, Barfi [Ranbir Kapoor] is the talk of the town. Even though he can neither speak nor listen.
His bitter-sweet relationship with two beautiful ladies, Shruti [Ileana D'Cruz] and Jhilmil [Priyanka Chopra], sets in motion a chain of events that turns his life upside down. A heart-warming tale of selfless love and about finding contentment in the smallest of things in life.
Director Anurag Basu, a proficient storyteller, approaches Barfi's character with acute sensitivity and perceptiveness. Also, a film like BARFI! is simplistic and unfussy to the core. There is nothing valiant or heroic about Ranbir's character, yet he is confident and courageous in spirit. Like I pointed out at the outset, the story educates you about life and how to appreciate it. We complain and crib about trivial issues, but Barfi and Jhilmil are two people who unearth contentment in everything they do, despite the challenges they encounter.
The handling of the written material by Anurag Basu is something to marvel at. It's put together with tender compassion and the powerful conclusion is hugely impacting. The finest thing about the film is its power to move and transform you on several occasions. It's the depiction of love and sacrifice that makes BARFI! worthwhile.
Pritam outdoes himself yet again with a winning soundtrack. The soundtrack is as sweet and appealing as the title of this film and in tandem with beautiful poetry, helps create a picturesque world that's in sync with the premise of the film. Since two of the three protagonists don't have lines to deliver, the effective background score holds immense significance here. I'd like to make a special mention of the cinematography as well. It's simply magnificent [Ravi Varman]. The stunning locales only enhance the impact.
Blemishes? It's unusual for a Hind film hero to have no dialogue or lip-sync songs in the film. Also, the film is hugely experimental from the commercial point of view. The typical masala movie-loving audience may/may not embrace the film enthusiastically. Yet, I'd like to adjoin, Ranbir's character has relatability and one can only hope and also recommend that in these fast-changing times, an untouched theme like BARFI! is embraced with affection and warmth!
Besides, the film could've done with some trimming in the first hour. The pace slackens at times, although the chain of events in the second hour camouflages this minor aberration.
To depict an intricate and complex character like Barfi is not everyone's cup of tea and I doubt if any actor could've portrayed the part as brilliantly as Ranbir. Here's an actor who's truly versatile, courageous and flexible and his choice of films proves it. He has dared to illustrate a character which many mainstream actors may not choose to implement. Ranbir's facial expressions and body language is the hallmark of the enterprise. The critical complement I can award to Ranbir's act is that it is truly convincing, heartrending and intelligent, all rolled into one dazzling result.
From a model in FASHION to a femme fatale in 7 KHOON MAAF, Priyanka is known for treading the untrodden path in her career. Priyanka delivers yet another knockout performance in BARFI!. Jhilmil, her character, is someone you would fall in love with. Very infrequently does one see an actor get so deeply absorbed in a character the way Priyanka does in this movie. She is matchless here and truly deserves all the accolades that will come her way eventually. Also, her pairing with Ranbir is ideal, they look wonderful together.
Making her debut in Hindi films, Ileana, a prominent actress in South, is super efficient. She does everything with effortlessness, self-assurance, splendor and decorum and that's not an easy thing to do by any standard.
Saurabh Shukla is in terrific form. Akash Khurana is wonderful. Ashish Vidyarthi is effective. Ditto for Rupa Ganguly and Jishu Sengupta, who leave a mark in brief roles. Sumona Chakravarti is adequate. Haradhan Bandopadhyay, enacting the role of Dadu, is remarkable.
On the whole, BARFI! is unusual for Bollywood. You don't formulate movies like BARFI! targeting its box-office potential or its commercial prospects. You create such films for the passion of cinema. BARFI! is akin to a whiff of fresh air. Its foremost triumph is that it leaves you with a powerful emotion: Happiness! I sincerely believe, no Hindi movie buff should deprive himself/herself of watching this brilliant motion picture. Also, the viewer needs to savor Ranbir, Priyanka and Ileana's paramount performances, one of the strengths of this movie. Strongly recommended!