Story, Screenplay, Direction: Anurag Basu
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Ileana D’Cruz, Saurabh Shukla, Rupa Ganguly
Release: September 14, 2012
Barfi is a decent film considering the offal that Bollywood routinely puts out.
But in my not so humble opinion Barfi is not swoonworthy fare.
Most certainly not.
At 2-hours and 27-minutes, the romance drama is far too long and tends to drag considerably in the second half.
Truth be said the movie descends into tedium for the better part of the second half.
And like most Indian films, Barfi too is escapist fantasy, not in the least bit realistic.
Don’t expect me to believe that a healthy and pretty upper class Indian girl falls in love with a deaf and dumb wastrel.
Not now and not even in the 1970s, the setting for this film.
Also, what the girl sees in the wastrel that she’s willing to risk her imminent marriage to go romping with him on his bicycle is not clear.
All we get are vague shibboleths like Barfi taught me to live life or some such drivel.
Director Anurag Basu also achieves the impossible of having his main cast not age for several years. Only toward the end, we see age dramatically catching up with the principal characters.
By the way, the last scene involving Barfi and Jhimli was a straight lift from the final moments of the Hollywood film The Notebook.
Ranbir Kapoor Shines
Of course, the principal reason to see Barfi, and the highlight of the film, is Ranbir Kapoor.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times – Ranbir is India’s best actor under 35 and puts to shame his seniors like Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, Shahrukh Khan etc.
Ranbir plays the Chaplinesque deaf and dumb character Barfi/Murphy with great panache.
Romantic scenes, sad moments, happy times and in several helpless occasions, Ranbir Kapoor electrifies the screen.
Not in one frame did we feel shortchanged by Ranbir Kapoor.
It’s hard to imagine any other Indian actor who can rise to the challenge of playing a deaf and dumb character for the entire length of the film.
Also on the plus side is the photography.
The movie appears to be shot completely in India, rare these days for a high-profile Bollywood film.
Telugu film starlet Ileana D’Cruz makes her Bollywood debut as Shruti a young about-to-be-married girl falling for Barfi.
Although Ileana hails from the garish Tollywood universe where ‘loud’ is the norm, in Barfi she plays her part with subtlety and charm.
As is her wont, Priyanka Chopra does a shabby job. In one of the worst casting decisions by a Bollywood director, this worthless actress is cast here as the autistic character Jhimli.
This turdpile of an actress thinks that repeatedly blinking her eyes, biting her lower lips, touching her nose or keeping her mouth agape is the acme of playing an autistic girl.
Priyanka also looks far too old for her role, even if she’s fitted with short skirts to make her look young.
It’s a tragedy of Himalayan proportions that such worthless *%$&# get roles in movie after movie.
The rest of the Barfi cast is more than adequate.
Saurabh Shukla, the Kallu-mama of Satya, is solid as the police inspector constantly on Barfi’s tail.
Barfi’s music didn’t put us on a high but in its favor it was not cacophony.
All in all, I found Bafi an above average film compared to the endless run of unwatchable Indian trash.
SearchIndia.com recommends Barfi for the joy of watching Ranbir Kapoor but be prepared for a fair bit of tedium in the second half.