Review: Barfi

Barfi (Dir.: Anurag Basu; Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ileana D’Cruz et al.)

Barfi is a romantic drama from Anurag Basu starring Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ileana D’Cruz et al.

Barfi‘s story centres around the life of a differently-abled young man and his escapades. In due course, he falls in love with a young woman who in turn is engaged to be married soon. Complications get compounded with the arrival of a differently-abled woman into the scheme of things. Heartbreaks, emotional roller-coasters and chases follow.

Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra play their parts with great competency and control. Ileana D’Cruz, Rupa Ganguly, Saurabh Shukla do justice to their characters as well. The soundtrack brings out the joyous spirit of Barfi to the tee.

Since its release, stories began pouring in about how sequences and patterns were inspired (and much stronger verbs) from sources known and unknown, famous and less famous. What hurt me personally was the fact that not just content-wise but also style-wise, the film seemed to be drawing inspirations from elsewhere. However, the beautiful compilation of these themes and threads required original work and the wonderful composition of sights (and some sounds) and this was impressively done.

The protagonists portrayed here may be rare outside the reel world, but it leaves one wondering that this spirit exists somewhere at least in the real world, a spirit that cares little for physical limitations. And this was Barfi’s single biggest achievement: that its collage made of borrowed pieces had an identity of its whole that was more than the sum of its parts

The second major criticism leveled against Barfi was its seemingly ‘extra sweetness’ – that here was a tale sugar coated so extravagantly that it glossed over the harsh realities of the lives of individuals differently-abled for an easy viewing experience of the multiplex audiences. Well, as for me, I can say this: I enjoyed Barfi immensely, I enjoyed the performances, the music and yes, I bought the melodrama. Yes, there was melodrama. And when I heard and read this point being harped later, I realized there may have been that extra sugar cube slipped in. But does it really matter?

A piece of art’s value lies in the emotions it is able to stir up in us. Barfi never promised to deliver a message for free or invoke strong ‘calls to action‘. Yes, there was an unsaid bond – that it would entertain. I think it lived up to that. The protagonists portrayed here may be rare outside the reel world, but it leaves one wondering that this spirit exists somewhere at least in the real world, a spirit that cares little for physical limitations. And this was Barfi’s single biggest achievement: that its collage made of borrowed pieces had an identity of its whole that was more than the sum of its parts.

So: Well done Team Barfi!

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