Barfi! is not just another Bollywood movie. It is different yet awesome movie. After a long time, I have seen some hard work done by any actor/actress for role. Last time it was SRK for the “My name is khan” and Hritik Roshan for “Guzaarish”.
Anurag Basu is one master for taking such a story and extracting such wonderful performances. The use of light in the film has been done very well. Ravi Varma’s cinematography with the light and colors and festivals is excellent. Much of Basu’s silent scenes are derivative of Charlie Chaplin and movies of the silent era with grand musical orchestration and slapstick gags, which usually include a bumbling overweight cop (Saurabh Shukla) on Barfi’s tail.
Pritam’s music is very good but it reminds you of the soundtrack of In “The Mood For Love” very often. Akiv Ali’s editing is very fine.
Story of 3 characters.
1. Barfi – Original name Murphy (Ranbir Kapoor), is a speech and hearing impaired boy, who is always happy and wears lovely smiles, called "Barfi" by all.
2. Shruti – A girl from rich family. Shruti (Ileana D’Cruz) meets Barfi during her father’s posting in Darjeeling.
3. Jhilmil - Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra) is a local rich man’s severely autistic granddaughter.
Barfi is able to connect with both these women, in different ways. The film traces these three lives and their relationships.
The story begins in present day but is told mostly in flashback as events unfold over seven years in the 1970s. Story moves in different parts and confuses but at the end once can understand the whole story.
The story telling in the first half slows down in parts, but is made up with a sharper second half.
What I like:
1. The characters. A film like Barfi! can only work if the characters are memorable and three-dimensional – and that they definitely are. This film flaunts characters that are well-fleshed out, from their mannerisms (Barfi’s hair-combing, Jhilmil’s pinky-finger holding), to their endearing qualities, and even to their faults. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into developing each of these characters, and they all come alive on screen.
2. The moments. Barfi makes your heart soar, breaks it, and then carefully puts it back together. These beautiful moments alone (and there are several), make this film worth watching.
3. The performances. All three stars should be proud of their roles in this film. Ranbir proves you don’t need dialogue-baazi to deliver a spectacular performance. Armed with only actions and facial expressions, he brings the role of Murphy to life. Priyanka takes on her extremely challenging role with aplomb and delivers, what I think, is one of the best performances of her career. Ileana perhaps has the easiest of the three roles, but that shouldn’t diminish a solid performance (and she looked very pretty to boot).
4. Brilliant techniques. The direction (Anurag Basu) is first-rate. Excellent, really. The cinematography is absolutely beautiful, making this film a visual treat. And the music sounds even better in the film, because it follows the moods perfectly – light and breezy at parts (Main Kya Karoon), deep and more melancholic at others (Phir Le Aaya Dil).
5. It’s a happy film. When you hear themes of autism and hearing/speech impairments, you may go in expecting a heavy film, but it isn’t. If anything, Barfi! will leave you with a small smile on your face, a lighter heart, and a little spring in your step.
It’s difficult to have two disabled characters and not portray their stereotype or make the audience feel pity for them. But Anurag Basu does it skillfully with the script and story. He builds the characters so finely that you come to love each and every one of them by the end of the movie. One grouse would be that of the whole kidnapping scenario: maybe the movie would be less complicated by it because it confuses a bit, especially with the non-linear narrative. While we can easily understand why Jhilmil would fall for Barfi, it’s not really clear why he starts loving Jhilmil so much. The length of the movie also could have been reduced. Sanjeev Datta’s dialogues are alright.
Characters – acting – performance: 4.5/5
Music – songs – sound effects: 4.5/5
Direction – Cinematography: 5/5
“Don’t worry – Be Barfi!”