Few movies in recent times touched my heart as Barfi did.
Which is saying a lot - because I’ve quite a reputation of being stone-hearted.
Spread on a deeply saccharine canvas, Barfi! is a simple yet poignant tale of selfless love. It is set in 70’s which makes the goodness and the selflessness of the characters quite believable. It is quite a task to base one central character as mute-and-deaf and another as autistic, but Anurag pulls it off beautifully with the support of his wonderful actors. The disability of the characters never gets melodramatic in the sense that they aren’t specifically tailored to evoke pity and sympathy from the audience. The adorable way in which “radio on hua, amma off hui” from the song Ala Barfi is pictured, is proof enough for it. And you cannot NOT fall in love with Barfi and Jhilmil. Their characters are pinnacles of innocence, always finding happiness in little things in life making you aware of things you wouldn't usually think about.
The movie opens in present day and keeps going back in flashes to the 70’s. Barfi is a sweet guy from Darjeeling who falls in love with the already-engaged Shruti. Due to some circumstances, life takes Barfi to his childhood friend Jhilmil and the way their lives entwine with each other forms the crux of the story. This is Ileana’s debut in Hindi and she fits the bill. She carries out Shruti’s character with measured grace. But if you ask me, looking good in beautiful cotton saris, a big-red bindi, figure hugging sweaters is not much of a mean feat.
But doing that silly, lop-sided unaware-of-myself grin and looking extremely adorable in the ugly sweaters is! Jhilmil, small though her character, is the life of Barfi. She makes you laugh, she makes you cry, she makes you resent the ever-adorable Barfi and she makes you hate Shruti – never once overdoing any of it. I don’t know who styled PC, but sometimes you see the clothes and the way she carries them and your heart leaps up because they are so right and she does full justice to them. PC deserves all the accolades she’s been getting. As my friend puts it – you don’t see PC on screen, it is Jhilmil all the way.
Move over Rockstar’s Jordan, because Barfi is here and how! Ranbir Kapoor proves yet again, that he can fit into any shoes quite comfortably and even make them his own. You see a Raj Kapoor in him and at times Charlie Chaplin and at times Mr. Bean, but everything has a distinctly sweet Barfi flavour to it. Priyanka and Ranbir’s onscreen chemistry sizzles in the most unexpected way. In the scene where Barfi finds a supposedly lost Jhilmil and they stand in the doorway hitting each other, and then stand close, noses pressed, waiting with bated breaths and closed eyes at the sheer joy of finding each other again – the obvious happiness and sublime pain tugs at your heart strings. And Priyanka had never looked more beautiful than the scene where she claims ownership of Barfi by coming infront of him cutting him off from Shruti. Kudos PC, you rock!
At times, the movie teeters on the edge of being a whodunit with the robbery and kidnap sequences, but stays true to its sweet flavor of love. You cannot put a finger where it strays off the track sometimes, but you can see it come right back with its magical moments. Ravi Verman’s cinematography makes Darjeeling and Kolkata come alive in the most enchanting way. Makes you want to book a ticket to Darjeeling right away. Pritam’s background score and music are immensely melodious and add much meaning to the cheerful tone of the movie.
I’d recommend Barfi to everyone with all my heart. It will not only make you smile a lot, but will enrich you. Go for it!