Tuesday, October 1, 2013


As much as we may all miss the UTV hand, the new opener of UTV movies, with the three dancers and the banging drums, remains an early promise of a quality picture - especially when it comes to good, interesting stories. This is also the case with Barfi, the tale of a death-mute man (played by Ranbir Kapoor) in Darjeeling and how his extraordinary character and joie de vivre impacts the lives of two women - Shruti (Ileana) who Barfi falls in love with, and Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra), the autistic girl Barfi knows from childhood.

This was India's Foreign Oscar contender of last year, and thus I am rather late to view and review the film. I guess one thing that could be said of it was the mixed reaction - while people applauded the performances, there was some grumbling about "inspired" scenes, which is precisely the kind of thing that puts a damper on a movie such as this one. Barfi tries very hard to be heartfelt, a bit of a tear-jerker and generally moving. For the most part, I felt like it succeeded. The performances are good, and the characters do come alive. The light-hearted comedy, even though quite silly and physical at times, never feels as out of place as it could be - Barfi does a good job in being half this sort of magical realism with its silliness, but also being a grounded film. I liked the film, but I didn't love it - at no point was I moved as much as I think the film wanted me to be. It didn't quite stick with me, despite having such good intentions, and generally doing a good job of fulfilling my expectations.

I guess as ever when stars of Ranbir and Priyanka's calibre pick up really unusual or challenging roles for them, that's the main discussion point of the film. I've got nothing of substance to contribute there - I thought both did well, as expected, and probably served some award nods for their performances, but I just didn't feel that special connection to either character, or the story itself. So despite all its goodwill and good facets, in the end, Barfi was just an okay film for me. 

No comments: