This Barfi is made up of three ingredients: Barfi/Murphy (Ranbir Kapoor), a speech and hearing impaired boy who is never seen without a smile on his face; Shruti (Ileana D’Cruz), an affluent girl who struggles between choosing her love and giving into societal pressures; and Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra), an autistic girl who is unwanted by her own parents. These three ingredients come together to throw the conventional notion of ‘love’ out the window and prove that love can come in wide-ranging, diverse, and even “abnormal” forms.
Does this film live up to the sweetness of its name? Read our Pros & Cons list to find out!
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 character, 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 technicals. 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.
1. It moves slowly. Considering there are two love stories, a kidnapping, and flashbacks/flashforwards to get through, there’s a lot of ground to cover – but the story is in no hurry, and unfolds on its own pace. On the upside, it has enough lovely moments to make you not mind it too much, but be warned if you’re the type who prefers fast-paced movies.
2. It reminded me of a certain popular Hollywood romantic film in parts (I won’t say which one because that would reveal too much). Two scenes in Barfi! – one of which is a major scene – seem to have been inspired by that Hollywood film. It’s slightly unsettling to see the comparison because Barfi! is otherwise a breath of fresh air, but even then – it’s a minor con that doesn’t take away too much from the film.
Watch!! It has everything in its favour, and a cinema-viewing is absolutely recommended to fully experience the beautiful cinematography and music. (4/5 stars)