- Fine, perfectly nuanced performances by the two leading ladies; Ileana D’Cruz in her Bollywood debut leaves a lasting impression and Priyanka Chopra in a subtly delivered, unconventional role
- A liberal mix of able performances by the supporting cast, notably Saurabh Shukla as the hapless cop who unsuccessfully pursues Barfi as the two create several slapstick Chaplinesque cinematic moments; Rupa Ganguly as Ileana’s mother, wary of letting her daughter make an unwise choice at a crossroads she herself encountered in the past; Haradhan Bandopadhyay as the ‘other man’ who values and loves Priyanka for who she is
- Superlative direction by Anurag Basu, who makes this one of the finest films to have emerged from Bollywood in recent times, with brilliant camera work, evocative use of expressions and emotions to convey meaning without the aid of dialogues and drawing out of fine performances from his cast
- Fabulous cinematography by Ravi Varman; bringing alive Darjeeling and Kolkata in each frame
- Last but not the least, a stellar performance by Ranbir Kapoor who brings alive the character of Barfi in a knock-your-socks-off performance
Take a beautifully woven bitter-sweet story of the relationship between a deaf-mute guy Murphy aka Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor), who although lacking the senses of speech and hearing, is vibrantly blessed with the ability to live life with a free spirit and a, as he puts it more eloquently than words can in the film, ‘first class’ heart, and two girls who touch his life in different ways. One is the delicately pretty Shruti (Ileana D’Souza) whom he falls in love with at first sight and woos relentlessly till she eventually gives in to his charms, and the other is his autistic childhood friend Jhilmil(Priyanka Chopra) whom he initially pursues when driven to the edge by fate and circumstances.
Add a liberal dose of the sweetly innocent romance between the poor but resourceful Barfi; usually on the run from the long arm of the law for his petty misdemeanors, and Shruti, which sadly caves in to Shruti’s inability to follow her heart, as she gives in to the ‘safe’ option instead and opts for a more ‘eligible’ suitor. Stir in gently the unfolding of the complex relationship between Jhilmil who sees the world with a unique sensitivity and recognizes Barfi’s spirit and soul in the way other, ‘normal’ people are unable to, and Barfi’s ability to connect with Jhilmil and win her trust and affection.
Roast a non linear narrative in some suspense, creating a plot that keeps you guessing till the very end and throw in an unexpected twist that adds a mysterious, whodunit element as the paths of Barfi, Jhilmil and Shruti dramatically converge.
Prepare a multi-string syrup of accompanying, sometimes quirky; sometimes heart stirring music right from the ‘picture shuru’ ditty that gets you in the mood from the word go, to the title track ‘Ala Barfi’ and add to the mix. Garnish liberally with breathtaking cinematography that lovingly brings alive the lush landscapes of Darjeeling and the vibrant chaos of Kolkata.
Savour fresh and warm, this lovely Barfi that offers a tribute to the uncomplicated nature of true, lasting love if only we would let it take its own path instead of cluttering it with logic and reason. Toss in the fact that the disabilities of the characters in the film are portrayed in an almost matter of fact way, never once attempting to elicit pity or sympathy; on the contrary Barfi’s uniqueness lies in his ability to deal with the trials life throws up with a cheery doff of the hat and a ready smile.
You will especially enjoy some slices of this dish such as when Barfi expresses his deep hurt at being rejected by Shruti through a soundless, wordless, and power packed expression of his anguish. Or the gradual building up of the relationship between Barfi and Jhilmil against the changing backdrops of Barfi’s rickety Darjeeling home, a tumultuous journey laced with green fields and rushing rivers to finally culminate in the noisy, bustling Kolkata which embraces them in its midst. Not to mention the subtle interplay of emotions when Shruti and Jhilmil meet each other, their perceptions of the other’s role in Barfi’s life and Shruti’s eventual realization of what could have been hers. Then there are other little nuggets like the test Barfi puts all his friends through; to lay his insecurity of being abandoned at rest, and the way he rushes to Jhilmil’s defense when a leery lout is giving her the once over, which will leave you with a sweet taste.
Dig into this delectable Barfi while it is still being served fresh; it will leave you with a happy rush like no other, and one that will stay with you long after you’ve polished off this unforgettable treat.