An actor had once said in an interview that there's nothing interesting in watching a love story between two good looking, well settled, and well brought up, in short perfect people. It's only the imperfections in a character that makes for a relatable story. However, Anurag Basu takes imperfections to a different level and presents love in its purest form sans any conditions with his latest gem Barfi!
Quite like the story there's nothing conventional about the film. Unlike the usual linear narrative, Barfi takes to a non linear story-telling oscillating between the past and present, unfurling through series of evocative flashbacks. The narrative comes about through various characters who present the goings on in the life of Murphy a.k.a Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor). Barfi is deaf and mute but that doesn't take away from experiencing the joys of life. Barfi lives his life to the full; lives his life as it comes and works around his imperfections with a smile on his face. It doesn't take too long for him to fall head over heels on Shruti (Illeana D'Cruz). She too falls for his mischievous and happy go lucky self however, giving in to societal pressures ends up marrying somebody else. The unrequited love makes Barfi start his life afresh and soon enters Jhilmil Chatterjee (Priyanka Chopra) an autistic girl, in Barfi's life. While the others fail to understand Jhilmil, Barfi instantly strikes a bond with the girl. Their relation gets strong during the course of a bank robbery, a love triangle, a missing case and lots more.
Anurag Basu's Barfi celebrates love of all things, and more importantly love of life and the ones who matter to you the most. He does so by creating an emotionally stirring ride that doesn't quite go too melodramatic but in its own light hearted manner tugs at your heartstrings right away.
The major strength of the film comes with its narrative. It doesn't give away the entire plot in one go and unfurls the story little by little keeping you glued to the proceedings. It does take you a few initial minutes to get used to the poetic pace of the story as it weaves a picturesque painting and once you get settled you are taking on a magical ride.
For a film with lead protagonists not uttering a word, it can get difficult to hold the audiences' attention but Anurag handles this case best by interspersing the emotional elements with humour. For the first time after the era of Raj Kapoor does Chaplinesque humour get effectively utilized in a film. While the first half gets you going with the endearing love story, the second half keeps you glued with the suspense element that starts running concurrently.
The film not just scores an ace in its story, what aids the film like strong pillars are its various technical elements too. Mostly importantly is the cinematography by Ravi Varman who surely can be the plausible award winner this year for his works. In his own lyrical and poetic manner Ravi paints a beautiful picture of Darjeeling that's magical yet real. Even the background score does justice to the goings on. Pritam's music is astounding. Not only is it too fresh in its approach but very appeasing and pleasant to the ears.
Barfi however, wouldn't have been complete without the stellar performances of the lead cast. Ranbir Kapoor excels himself once again and shows that he is a power house of talent. Priyanka Chopra matches shoulders as she beautifully constructs her character of an autistic. Illeana D'Cruz on the other hand, makes a commendable debut. Not only does she looks beautiful but also brings out a brilliant balance of emotions through her acting.
The only thing that may work against Barfi is its non commercial approach as well as a long length. However, it will remain a gem etched in the history of cinema.
To sum it up, Barfi is an emotionally stirring yet joyous ride that will make you fall in love with love and life. A must watch for one and all!