So have just come back from my second viewing, and thus the delay in writing this review!
What is a Barfi… It’s a sweet we are all aware of, some of us might even love it. It is simpler than other elaborate mithais, but it will never go off the shelves! How do you make the perfect Barfi? You take the best creamy fresh milk and let it simmer…. Slowly… and keep stirring it over a medium fire, till it starts to thicken, then you add sugar to taste… Then you finally add the flavor of your choice… cardamom or saffron… and finally you pour it out… Let it rest… and gently put a fragile layer of silver foil. Voila its ready to serve.
That is exactly how Anurag Basu worked to give us one of his finest and freshest films to date. It starts slow. And I didn’t mind it. After all it’s a story of a deaf mute adorable boy called Murphy by his father, but of course over time Barfi is what he can pronounce and is thus called that by people who know him.
Set in Idyllic Darjeeling and then travelling to beautiful yet chaotic Kolkata, Barfi! Is about love, fulfilled and unfulfilled.
They say timing is everything. And much of Barfi’s life revolves around it. He can-not speak nor hear, but is more perceptive than most of us. He is a badmash bachaa who is not afraid of anything… not even the falling light poles he cuts every time he wants to test his relationships. He is flirtatious and courageous. He has a big heart, despite having holes in his jacket…
The tenderness of the film is what made me see it twice… after a long time I was enamored by what I knew was fictional… I laughed, cried, sang along and clapped in glee as the movie unfolded. Gently led back to my childhood where everything was full of wonder and a touch of fantasy.
Anurag has ambitiously taken on himself to have a love story involving three people out of which two are differently able. No mean feat this and he has masterfully created moments which will linger with you long after you have walked out the exit.
The casting is perfect. He has proven his conviction was right when he chose Ranbir and Priyanka. As you might know he had said he would not have made the film if Ranbir had not agreed. Ranbir has become the master of playing unique characters at such a young age. To be stripped of the biggest asset heroes have in India, their dialogues, and yet put up a performance of the year, kudos. Priyanka is the surprise and has in one deft stroke silenced all her critcs. Her Jhilmil is adorable, quirky and guileless. From sexy bikini clad glam avatar to an autistic girl who is still afraid to pee with the door closed, her transformation is brilliant as an actress. Ileana has shown that she has what it takes to pack in a good performance and look beautiful as the girl who steals Barfi’s heart.
The supporting cast is truly well chosen, specially Saurabh Shukla and Bholaraj Sapkota who plays Barfi's loyal friend.
The only problem I felt was that the story telling gets a bit confusing because of the various flash-backs. Apart from that, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Barfi! is more than a story, it is an interpretation of life, love, happiness, tragedy all through the silent journeys of its lead character and loaded conversations that happen with each expression in the eyes of the main characters. It reminds you gently that love happens… it can not be defined by anything else but the way your heart starts dancing to a different tune… an unheard melody which you never forget for the rest of your life.
The Music is superlative. Pritam has shown that he has the chops to give tracks like Kya karoon and my favourite Phir Le aaya Dil.
The camera work by Ravi Varman is sparkling, yes you would see a lot of inspiration from films like Amelie, but having said that, each frame is poetic. And for most of the people who are not exposed to Jeunet, it will be a marvelous treat.
The festive season starts off perfectly with this sweet and funny and warm and lyrical offering by Anurag Basu. Go have some Barfi! We all need some sweetness in our lives.