Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Barfi - Movie Review

'Barfi' is sweet - as the name goes. But not Oscar material. It is nice and good value for money and has some fine performances.

'Barfi' is Ranbir Kapoor, a deaf mute, named after the Murphy kid (needless controversy with the Murphy people but I am not sure what the controversy is about because everyone got enough publicity including the forgotten Murphy kid - where is he now?). Barfi is also a happy-go-lucky, whisky toting, heart on the sleeve chap on a bicycle who has a car driver father (Aakash Khurana) in Darjeeling. Enter Shruti, pretty face Ileana, who is also entering a loveless marriage with one corporate type (read a handsome someone who has no time for wife and is possessive and restrictive) and Barfi falls in love with her and proposes to her etc. Now also enter (sometime later after all the Chaplinesque gags with Ranbir and the local police inspector who has by far the biggest role in the movie) Jhilmil, Priyanka Chopra, the autistic child of an avaricious father and a socialite-type mother. Jhilmil is growing up in Muskaan a special place, with a special grandfatherly man taking care of the kids as his own.

Now we go back in the story to when Barfi threw his shoe in the air to catch Jhilmil's attention and they had fun as kids because Jhilmil is Barfi's Dad's car's owner's daughter. Jhilmil is brought out of Muskaan to be with her indulgent grandfather and well - grandpa dies - leaving her all the money in a Trust. Father is not happy and fires all servants including driver who promptly has a kidney attack and that ends Aakash Khurana's role, standing up. Barfi has to raise Rs. 7000 for the operation. Sometime then Jhilmil goes missing and it appears that Jhilmil has been pushed into the river in the car. Barfi is now prime accused of kidnap, murder, bank robbery and some other heinous crimes. (Barfi is however presented and looked smarter than all these hare brained schemes he comes up with and fails).

Anyway sometime before or after (I fail to remember now) Barfi rescues Jhilmil and sets up house - without marriage - in Kolkata. There these two are happily living - I found that difficult to digest - a guy who could not raise Rs. 7000 is now taking care of an autistic girl in a city like Kolkata and actually earning a living! Anyway he bumps into rich girl Shruti again who comes to his shop (that's odd too, since his shop is down market stuff) and all three are running about eating gol gappas. Jhilmil cannot eat gol gappas and gets angry with Barfi. And Shruti who is all the time flashing her sexy midriff at her Barfi. And Jhilmil goes away. Out comes the shoe and Barfi starts flinging it up and down again - but this time to no avail.

If relationships are all about who 'wants to take care of whom' and who wants 'to be taken care of''it all fits in. Ileana wants to take care of Barfi (possibly because it gives some meaning to her otherwise meaningless life). Barfi would like to take care of Jhilmil - because no one is taking care of her - or so he thinks (she's smarter than she looks considering that she chooses him to her maid). Jhilmil would like to be taken care of either by the Muskaan people who love her a lot or by the smitten-by-Ileana Ranbir. So it makes sense that Shruti takes care of Barfi who takes care of Jhilmil. All's well and that ends well.
The movie is fun. But it rambles on in a flashback within a flashback to the presnt and so on until you stop bothering about where you are. Whatever suspense they tried to create was just not worth it because at that point you really don't care too much about Jhilmil. It is only somewhere near the end that the relationship between Barfi and Jhilmil comes alive and tugs at your heart but by then the movie is almost over. The relationship between Shruti and Barfi never makes sense in any way nor  does it come alive. Frankly I would have been quite content to see the relationship between Barfi and Jhilmil - that was really cute. Now what happens when Jhilmil is finally discovered at Muskaan as 'alive' is anybody's guess. Does the old man go to jail? Does the father go to jail? How come no one knew that she was in Muskaan - you cannot really hide her? The only thing we know is that the two got married and never had kids.

Fine performances, especially by Ranbir and Priyanka. Ranbir gets into Barfi's shoes without missing a step and you wonder at the talent of this boy as he leaves you with no other image of Barfi than of what you see on screen. Priyanka in a deglam role of Jhilmil is fantastic. I love the way she experiments and she is an actress that one cannot take lightly. Ileana is fine, good looking and the kind anyone would fall in love with in Darjeeling. Must commend Anurag Basu for trying something new (despite all the accusations of being inspired etc) as well and something that makes sense and for trying hard not to fall for the cheesy drama one could fall prey to with a deaf-mute and an autistic. So much so that you almost forget that Barfi is actually a deaf mute. Recommend - certainly. It's a fine watch. But the big question. Would I watch it twice? Not me.

1 comment:

mohan said...

Film review? story review?