Directed by: Anruag Basu
Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ileana D’Cruz, Rupa Ganguly,Saurubh Shukla
I have to be honest, my greatest concern about Barfi! was how Ranbir Kapoor was going to follow up last year’s tour de force performance in the amazing Rockstar (now firmly instilled itself as one of my all-time favourite films). But I needn’t have worried too much as Barfi! is a film that I would like regardless of when it released and truth be told, in the wrong hands, could have been a calamity.
But with gorgeous, gorgeous cinematography that makes one want to go to Darjeeling right now, a cracking soundtrack by Pritam (yup,pick that jaw off the floor!) and strong performances, Barfi! is a winner. I felt Basu gets the balance just right, giving the audience enough credit to work things out on their own but concluding matters in a satisfactory way and of course, using his trademark style of withholding key information and weaving in and out of the story so that conclusion of the film ends on an emotional high, despite the sadness of subject. I also have to give massive props for Ranbir’s costume design which had me at the tweeds and argyle, as well as IIeana’s beautiful saris and shawls.
Performance wise, Ranbir does it again with a superb performance as Barfi!, giving a wholly natural and nuanced performance that is controlled, yet has a great deal of spontaneity and effortlessness about it. Hitting intensity, emotional and comic points on cue, Ranbir mutlitasks and is more than able to carry the whole film on his shoulders. Not that he needs to – Ileana D’Cruz makes an impressive Hindi film debut as Shruti, conveying the quiet strength and determination of her character in a very restrained manner and making her role look easy when in fact it is just as challenging as Ranbir’s and Priyanka’s. Speaking of Priyanka, this is her best performance since last year’s Saat Khoon Maaf – an actress (not just a heroine but an actress too) who is not afraid to go against type, Priyanka brings Jhilmil to life and stands tall next to Ranbir’s Barfi. I felt PC’s performance was very measured and studied but in this case, this is not a bad thing. In a year when all Hindi cinema actresses are hitting their stride like never before, PC makes sure that her performance stands out for the right reasons.
Barfi! took me by surprise as I expected to enjoy it but didn’t think I would like it as much as I do. With buckets of charm and the right backing in place, Barfi! deserves to be seen and enjoyed by a wide audience and may even serve as that all important encouragement to other filmmakers that an unconventional story that is told well will always find its audience. With 2012 throwing curveballs left, right and centre, Barfi! passes the test with flying colours and deservedly so. Recommended.