Sunday, September 16, 2012

BARFI!


Director: Anurag Basu
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Illeana D'Cruz, Roopali Ganguly, Saurabh Shukla

Love is universal. Ubiquitous, it comes to all irrespective of any physical inabilities. Barfi (Murphy, Ranbir Kapoor) is one such character: soaked in love, spreads love. Despite of his inability to speak and hear, he indulges in goofy acts which should be perceived as cutesy. His mother died after giving him birth and naming him after the famous radio brand. His father works as a chauffeur for a powerful man whose daughter is Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra). Jhilmil is autistic and childhood friend of Barfi. Another character is introduced: Shruti (Illeana D'Cruz) whose inability is to take right decisions, inherited from her mother (Roopali Ganguly). Barfi impresses her and both enjoy good time spending with each other. They love, they kiss, and their heart breaks. Barfi's life, whatever is saved after being chased from a stout policeman (Inspector Dutta played by Saurabh Shukla), revolves around these two girls.

The film has the most welcoming start with a song "Picture Shuru", in the voice of Swanand Kirkire in a tune similar to the film's title track, that asks you to switch your phones and babies into silent mode. (But that hardly happens if you watch this film in the city's oldest multiplex where they rejoice every bits of emotions with hoots and whistles.) Follows a chasing sequence around the nooks and corners of a street in a very Chaplinesque style where the lead hits everyone around, sparking off laughter from the pain caused. Kapoor prevents himself from being a caricature and looks more realistic. And we laugh at each moment of this just as we do while watching cartoons. In fact we laugh harder when we realise what other filmmakers around have been trying to achieve with their movies which they wrongly promote as a comic film.

Set in Darjeeling and Calcutta, the narrative spans across years starting from 1972 and we see the era progressing through hoardings changing from Murphy radios to Avon cycles to Goodricke tea. Before the intermission, many dots are thrown upon us and we seem to enjoy playing with them. Storytelling, here, advances on flashbacks, and some flashbacks within more flashbacks intertwined with different subplots shifting uneasily, leaving us uncomfortable as we peel them. A forced mystery, which the policeman rightly points out if it's adapted from a cheap thriller novel, develops a sour taste in this BARFI! which was just sweet by far. The film shifts from being character-driven to strictly plot-driven. Entirely, it falls short of nothing but suffers from an overdose. And that's where I would like to ask the writer/diretor: what was the first story he thought to initiate with? And ask ourselves: would the movie have been enjoyed differently if there were no unusual characters? The entire story could have different point of views for narration. We are told through one, Shruti's. And that's why it ends up being a lesson in decision making.

Moving with a very composed tone and pace, we are left with some pleasant songs to relax with the characters living in their own set-up world. Barfi and Jhilmil shares a special relationship there. I would differ calling it as love. It's affectionate and more than friendship, and they love indulging in their playful activities to which one of the song aptly describes "Kyon na hum tum talaashein bageeche me fursat bhari chhav rey!" And that's what we are asked to do: find some beautiful time to just get sway away with the visual treats and endearing characters. Each frame, crafted with minute detailing, aesthetically tints the template for this period film. Background score, though repetitive, is delightfully articulated through incorporating musicians within the scenes, just as we have seen in Basu's earlier Life in a...Metro.

Indulgences doesn't work for all. But the emotions are absorbing. Audiences laughed at right places. Aur mutely aansu bhi bahaye...



3 comments:

themoviereviewblog said...

"Shruti whose inability is to take right decisions, inherited from her mother" - well written...

Anup Pandey said...

Thank you. Liked your review too! :)

Mithil said...

one of the good barfi reviews i must say