Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Anupama Chopra's review: In Barfi, writer-director Anurag Basu creates a gossamer, fairy-tale world. Sometime in the 1970s, somewhere in the misty hills of Darjeeling, a penniless but irresistibly charming deaf-mute boy named Barfi gets the prettiest girl in town to kiss him. But their sweetly awkward love affair comes undone, after which Barfi embarks on an adventure with an autistic girl. Somehow these two, on their own, manage to survive the city of Kolkata - Barfi gets a job and even a ramshackle house with a spectacular view of Howrah Bridge. To point out that this is unlikely seems churlish. Because Barfi is designed to be a bittersweet, tender fable.
Raja Sen's review: Romance is never easy. Neither is bringing it to the big screen, though Anurag Basu -- a filmmaker inherently gifted when it comes to visual imagery and metaphor -- is a fine man for the job.
He can roll up his sleeves and whip out one peachy moment after another, keeping things wonderfully endearing while poking the audience ever so forcefully in the gut with a monkey-wrench.
He is then to be commended for his latest, Barfi!, a film that admirably refuses to yank the sympathy cord. Instead, it creates genuine characters and a truly charming relationship before, alas, one of his lead characters chooses not to follow the director's example and instead mistakes sympathy for love, making for a lesser film than it deserved to be.
Barfi! might have started off a certain way, but pulls up well short and -- as we were told before the beginning of (500) Days Of Summer -- "this is not a love story."
A well-crafted script with an intriguing back-and-forth narrative -- set in the present day, 1978 and 1972 -- Barfi! intrigues, right to the point somewhere down the middle, when it becomes more than apparent exactly what the film's story is, after which all goes south. The film's naïveté starts to wear thin, previously cast spells now appearing repetitive as the movie tragically falls into the very traps of mawkishness and manipulation it avoids so, so adroitly through the start.
Basu has always been a very solid storyteller, but here the germ of the story -- the very chunk of plot the film is woven around -- is what lets him down, proving to be predictable and ineffective, paling in comparison to the dreamy dalliance he forges so smoothly early on.
And yet so impressive and earnest are most parts of Barfi! that one is inclined even to forgive its flawed centre; we want badly to overlook the film's peach-seed heart, and concentrate on the rest of its juicy joys. And these it provides in abundance.
Resham Sengar's review: How well it is said that true love is blind to all the prejudices set down by the materialistic society. It can nourish itself deeply even in the midst of penury and follow a completely no-holds-barred course. Anurag Basu’s ‘Barfi’ is just about that. ‘Barfi!’ narrates the story of the namesake character Barfi (originally named as Murphy by his parents) who has a speech and hearing impairment and lives every single day of his life to the hilt and how!
South Indian actress Illeana D’Cruz gets into the skin of her character named Shruti to tell the magical tale of Barfi (played by Ranbir Kapoor) who happens to be a happy-go-lucky character that lives with his ageing father in Darjeeling of 1970s. Barfi is endearing for his cute Chaplin-meets-Mr. Bean acts but more than that for his innocent and simple heart. In a typical rich girl meets a poor guy story, Barfi chances upon Shruti on her visit to Darjeeling and she finds herself losing her heart to him despite the fact that she is engaged to a wealthy man back in Kolkata. After a brief romance, Shruti chooses material comforts over true love and leaves Barfi heartbroken to marry the moneyed man.
Enter an autistic Jhilmil Chatterjee (played by Priyanka Chopra), who belongs to an affluent family in Darjeeling but her family barely cares for her sensitive needs. Even as Barfi tries to pick up the pieces of his broken heart, he finds his father battling kidney failure. Penniless Barfi looks for all ways to get the money for his treatment but in vain. When left with no other way, quite unwillingly, Barfi plans with his best friend to kidnap Jhilmil and blackmail her parents for the money. And then, as the story unfolds, Barfi and Jhilmil realise that they are perfect to share their life with each other, keeping their physical imperfections aside. On the other hand, even after 6 years of marriage, Shruti comes to know that she still has strong feelings for Barfi.
Ranbir Kapoor delivers an award-winning performance. After lapping up awards last season with his role in ‘Rockstar’, Ranbir easily slips into the role of Barfi and leaves the audience speechless. Barfi’s character reiterates an important lesson- that life is about finding happiness in small things rather than in being wasted in lusty pursuits. Priyanka Chopra does her autistic act with finesse without going overboard and Bollywood newbie Illeana D’Cruz fares well as a girl battling societal norms, her own wishes and finally, her beloved’s happiness. In fact, one can’t decide who the shining star of the film is- Ranbir for his hilarious cute act or Priyanka as the autistic Jhilmil who yearns to be considered as a woman.