Barfi: Beautiful, Brave and Brilliant

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Anurag Basu

Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Illena Desouza, Saurabh Shukla

There you go, this is it. He has been called the next superstar, the actor to look out for, for too long now. With Rockstar last year, and now Barfi, Ranbir Kapoor has arrived, and how! As the dumb and mute Murphy aka Barfi, Ranbir charms, emotes, impresses and excels, and places himself amongst the best performers Indian cinema has ever seen.

The same can be said about the film, well almost. The best quality of the Anurag Basu’s work is that it is a very happy film, despite the protagonists being a deaf-mute hero and an autistic heroine. Never for a moment does the film leads the audience into the state of pity or sympathy . The story traces the journey of Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor) who is born dumb and mute to a poor father in a 70’s Darjeeling, and his tryst with love, friendship and life through the 2 women in his life- Shruti ( Illeana desouza) and an autistic Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra). The story very believingly drives you into the world of differently-abled, without for a moment  trying to be preachy or pitiful in its approach towards them. Much of the credit for that goes to the screenplay, and ofcourse the brilliant portrayal of the title role by Ranbir, who shines in his performance as a happy go lucky guy, full of attitude and never regretful of his situation. At moments, it is hard not to see the glimpses of the showman Raj kapoor  in his performance, especially of movies like Awara, Sri 420, but then, given the genes, you hold it in his favour. Priyanka too delivers a praiseworthy performance, though at times the effort shows, but still hers remains some exemplary acting. Ileana looks beautiful, has an old world charm, and portrays well the dilemmas of a woman torn between love and practicality. Saurabh Shukla as the inspector is suitable.

The film also boasts of some amazing camera work, which brings alive the old world charm of a hill station ( Darjeeling) in a very picture perfect postcard manner. Despite the lead characters being speech impaired and almost devoid of any sounds, you never feel a single dull moment, as the silences are filled by some beautiful and soulful melodies. Pritam delivers some serious music with a very strong 60s charm, and that adds to the emotional. Infact, music and background score add the most to the script, and even help it overcome the slightly elongated second half, which could have done with a better editing.

Anurag Basu had shown glimpses of his deep understanding of human psyche and emotions earlier, in Gangster and Life in a Metro. Here he just showed us, being happy is a choice, and that biggest risk in life is to not take any risk. Brilliant cinema. Miss it at your own risk!

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