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Barfi! Movie Review

BARFI is a one-man show. A performance worth a watch!

Director :  Anurag Basu
Music :  Pritam Chakraborty
Lyrics :  Swanand Kirkire
Starring :  Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Ileana D'Cruz

September 13, 2012 06:10:58 PM IST
By Martin D'Souza, Glamsham Editorial
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BARFI! is a one-man show - Ranbir Kapoor. This film is ROCKSTAR in its impression, which could have been bigger than Sanjay Leela Bhansali's BLACK. But Director Anurag Basu gets into unnecessary twists and turns, which is like elbowing your way into a crowded street.

view BARFI! stills
view BARFI! stills

But for now, let's talk about Ranbir Kapoor. This guy here is a genius. No question about that. We have seen how singlehandedly he saved ROCKSTAR from being an out-and-out disaster. It was only his performance that was the saving grace.

He does the same with BARFI. He steps in with confidence and steps out leaving you spell bound with his magic and his grasp of the deaf and mute character he is asked to portray.

CHECK OUT: BARFI! - Ileana D'Cruz dubs for the first time in her career

Charlie Chaplinisque in his approach, Ranbir romances with the women in his life and the audience with such dexterity that only his performance you go home with. Such is his stamp of authority. He saves this film from being a sure-shot blackout.

Apart from Ranbir, it is Ileana D'Cruz making her Bollywood debut who impresses with her skills. Good looking and confident, Ileana matches up to the histrionics of Ranbir with the skill of a pro.

Lastly, there is also Priyanka Chopra who plays an autistic girl. She gets a chance to showcase her acting talent donning a deglamorous look. She grasps this role with both hands and gives a lasting impression.

Now for the real dish; there is none. What is playing on in Basu's mind, we do not know. There is too much of going back and forth from 1972 to 1978 to the present day. In between all the coming and going, the plot loses its sting. Moreover, you do not know whether this movie is a comedy, murder mystery, or a love triangle. Most importantly, cinematic liberties are taken in such a manner that the audience is taken for granted.

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Firstly, Ranbir's character is shown riding a bicycle and he is always clowning around. When Ileana's character encounters him in Darjeeling after she has been engaged to be married, she immediately falls for his charm. He on his part jumps on her with the eagerness of a Romeo whose pants are on fire. But even if this was so, it would have been fine.

The final act of 'extreme cinematic liberty' is when Basu has an autistic girl living with a man. Now someone who is autistic needs care 24x7. They cannot function independently. Moreover they are always dependent on those closest to them. Even her parents have left her in a home to be looked after. But here, Barfi (Ranbir) moves in with Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra) and they live together in Calcutta. This defies logic. I mean this guy here is deaf, forget being dumb. He should at least be able to hear when she is in distress or is having her mood swings.

Also, in the 40-year-span that Basu shows Barfi and Jhilmil, Barfi just says "Barfi" while Jhilmil utters "su su" and "Barfi". If Barfi could say Barfi, I am sure he could have attempted a few more words. The only other sound you get is from three musicians stationed outside a mansion. This is to fill the void left by lack of dialogues.

CHECK OUT: BARFI! - Another 'unconventional' triumph for Ranbir?

Now here is where, I think, Basu could have floored the audience and taken the film to another level. Barfi's romance with Shruti (Ileana D'Cruz), although it begins like I mentioned with a lot of cinematic liberty, had the potential to be a 'super-duper love story. A sound in mind, beautiful girl, engaged to be married, falling in love with a handicapped lad defying her parents and following the whisper of her heart. Ileana brings that simplicity and charm to her character that could have given a new meaning to the phrase, "love crosses all barriers".

Barfi and Jhilmil together is just not logic. It is tragic. Take away the character of Jhilmil and Basu would have been on a roll.

There are a few poignant moments in the film and this is thanks to the three 'bechara characters' who tug at your heart. Visually, the film is appealing. It has a different treatment and a hatke cinematic appeal.

The three star rating is not for the brilliance of the film; it's for the genius of Ranbir Kapoor. A performance worth a watch!

Rating: 3

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