Barfi Review – Not Swoonworthy Fare

Hooray, Barfi Crushes Heroine at U.S. BO

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 opinionΒ Barfi is not swoonworthy fare.

Most certainly not.

Tedious Parts

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.

Hell, no.

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. recommends Barfi for the joy of watching Ranbir Kapoor but be prepared for a fair bit of tedium in the second half.

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11 Responses to "Barfi Review – Not Swoonworthy Fare"

  1. rakeshbaba   September 15, 2012 at 5:27 am

    you’ve said ranbir is better than shahrukh and aamir khan,for this moment its true as shahrukh and aamir are old,but when aamir(rangeela,lagaan,sarfarosh) and shahrukh(ddlj,swades,dil to pagal hai) were in the 30’s , they did better job than ranbir ,later both became stars from actors and lost their charm,ranbir may be charming at this age but he will sure lose his charm in coming years Responds:

    SRK and Akshay have never been good actors, not when they were young and definitely not now.

    Aamir Khan is a chutiya who benefits from theft (Ghajini).

    Plus, the movies these stars did were the usual trashy Bollywood stuff like Rangeela, Dil to Pagal Hai, Sarfarosh etc.

    In any case, we’re not talking of charm but acting skills.

    In terms of the charm of potent youth, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh are perhaps more charming than Ranbir.

  2. rohithreddy   September 15, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Diwali came early for you.. your favorite Indian actress just released an English song.. Responds:

    A million times better –

    At this rate, Brahmanandam, Vadivelu, Rajpal Yadav, Johnny Lever, Allu Arjun and even Rohith Reddy will start crooning. πŸ™

  3. Naveen   September 20, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    This song was definitely swoonworthy for me.

    Enchanting voice Responds:


  4. kage_11   September 22, 2012 at 5:59 am

    Watched this movie in PVR Cinemas at Ampa Skywalk, Chennai.

    A little bit about the movie hall before the movie – The seat covers were so dirty, I chose to wear a scarf over my head instead of resting it over them. Pure nauseating stuff. These idiots charge a bomb for the tickets and yet cannot keep them clean. If you cannot keep it clean, at least you should not choose your seat cover as white, which clearly shows even small dirt and grime. If I can discern so much that too it in the dimly lit movie hall, imagine what would it look like under sunlight. May be, you wouldn’t recognize them as seat covers at all. As you would expect from any mall in India, the toilet is filthy and stinking like hell.

    About the movie – A decent movie with nice acting by Ranbir as you said.

    The way he says his name “Brfeee” was too good.

    I liked him very much from the time I saw the movie “Rocket Singh Salesman of the year”.

    He is charming when he needs to be charming and serious when he needs to be serious. Great job.

    I found Priyanka to be tolerable except for her retarded laugh.

    I hate to see Ileana even on the movie posters, but boy she looked very pretty in this movie.

    The Bengali wife role suited her, may be the saree added a wee-bit more plump and showed her in a more healthy way than her anorexic self. Responds:

    1. In most of the U.S. theatres, I’ve seen the staff waiting to clean up after every show. The only theatres that stink here are the Indian movie halls (Ambani-owned Big Cinemas). I suspect unlike Popcorn Indian food like Samosa and other stuff desis smuggle in don’t lend themselves well to closed spaces.

    2. As I’ve said on countless occasions, Ranbir makes the ‘superstars’ Salman, Aamir, Shahrukh or Akshay look like chimps in the acting department. I won’t compare Ranbir with Abhishek Bachchan, Arjun Rampal or John Abraham etc because they’re worse than chimps when it comes to acting.

    3. Considering her ‘Telugu’ film lineage, I too had low expectations from Ileana.

    But she surprised me.

    From Priyanka, I had zero expectations and the worthless *&*%$#@& matched my low hopes perfectly.

    • kage_11   September 27, 2012 at 12:00 am

      Just now noticed it, you have not even included ‘Priyanka Chopra’ in the Cast section of your review.. πŸ™‚

      Man you really hate her.

      “Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Ileana D’Cruz, Saurabh Shukla, Rupa Ganguly” Responds:

      That *^*#@% is completely unworthy of any respect given that it makes no effort to improve its acting.

      South or North, Indians give far too much respect to their movie stars, most of whom are hopelessly incompetent.

      If a movie is a little above average, you quickly learn that it’s ripped off in whole or part(s) from Hollywood/foreign movies.

      Please see below comment on Barfi. πŸ™

  5. Naveen   September 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Looks like Barfi is a rip off from several old Hollywood movies. I have not seen Barfi.! Responds:

    1. OMG, what a brilliant expose. Thanks.

    And to think Barfi is India’s official nominee to the Oscars.

    What a shame!

    As the wise SI has said on countless occasions Indian movies are made by thieves and monkeys for monkeys and thieves.

    2. Comments in this TOI piece also refer to lifts from other movies like Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance.

    BTW, in the above review we mentioned the lift of the last scene from Notebook.

    • Naveen   September 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      India should stop sending movies to the Oscars.

      But, if at all they had to send then Vicky Donor would have been a better option.

      Not that it has any chance to win but at least it was a new (original?) story. Responds:

      Or Gangs of Waseypur given all the glowing reviews?

      • Naveen   September 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm

        I saw Gangs of Wasseypur part 1 and in my opinion it was strictly average.

    • boopalanj   December 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      I watched this movie.

      I could recognize first few scenes that were copied from Chaplin’s works such as City Lights. Alas, in barfi, on the same scene, they even show Chaplin’s portrait in the frame.

      Watch this above link, this even contains some references from where even the music was copied.

      Disgusting! Responds:

      Should Barfi win an Oscar, it’d be a recognition of Fraud and Theft! πŸ™

  6. studio4movies   September 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Off the topic. Tamil movie Thaandavam releasing in your area tomm. Can we expect instant review? Responds:

    Likely not since I have previously committed plans in MD.

    I may request Naveen to do it in Chicago.

  7. gandhiji   December 2, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I was enjoying the movie.. until they showed “intermission”, I was WTF’ed. At that point I was getting ready for the movie to end.. and was shocked to realize that we were only half way through.

    Toooo long.

    I thought Priyanka did alright.

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