Directed by Anurag Basu
When a movie begins by revealing the grim end, no matter how cheerful the following flashback journey may be, you’re left dreading the inevitable. But ‘Barfi!’ manages to make you forget just that by narrating a lighthearted tragedy that wins particularly for what it doesn’t do: It doesn’t draw a pitiful picture of the deaf-mute lead. It doesn’t attempt to do anything that would suggest that it has been made to attract foreign festival ferns on the DVD cover. It doesn’t make the lead character overcome his disability to do something no man, woman or dog (without that disability) would ever think of attempting. Still foggy? Here’s what it doesn’t do: Click here to learn how to make a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film in a few easy steps.
The film allows the viewer to experience a range of emotions and even if it doesn’t invite much empathy, it keeps you interested, attentive and anxious to learn what will unfold next. While marriages and suspense thrillers only work till someone gets caught, here the story sails through even after you’ve figured it all out, without making you check your cellphone or visit the washroom.
If Ranbir Kapoor would’ve debuted with ‘Barfi!’ instead of the disastrous ‘Saawariya’, he would’ve become Bollywood’s sweetheart right away. Putting his back into the character, Ranbir manages to convey a diversity of moods wordlessly and doesn’t resort to hamming which was very possible here, considering he was left to play dumb charades through the film. Even Priyanka Chopra pulls off her character with just the right amount of abnormality, easily and effectively. Ileana D’cruz’s role doesn’t offer much scope to present her acting ability and just looking dazed with a distant expression was enough. She manages that well. Pritam drums up a soundtrack that sets the mood and Mohit Chauhan’s ‘Ala Barfi’ and the opening credits track ‘Picture Shuru’ offer a pleasurable listen. Here’s a song that didn’t make it out of the recording studio: The most mentionable aspect about this film is the deliciously stunning cinematography. Almost every frame is a picture postcard. Even the camera angles could force the makers of ‘Amelie’ to return to the drawing board. Anurag Basu has surely come a long way from ‘Kites’ and a short way from ‘Life in a… Metro’. He needs to be applauded for stitching together this simple yet soulful story, without magnifying the disabilities of the lead characters.
Barfi! is not a story that will make it into the ‘Chicken Soup for the deaf and mute’ or the ‘Spinach salad for the autistic’. But when you watch the film, you will realize that we should only be glad about that. In short, Barfi says it best when he says nothing at all.
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