Hurrying across the narrow lanes, he scampers, tumbles and barely manages to dash upstairs and downstairs the noisy wooden staircases, jumping through a window and closing another door behind him, even sliding down a ladder; he clumsily succeeds in confusing those chasing him… an insight into the sort of antics you could expect along the way from none other than Barfi himself.
Set in the 1970’s in misty Darjeeling (India), alongside the meandering hills and not far from a quaint railway station; Barfi sets his eyes on Shruti.
And much sooner rather than later, Barfi rides his bicycle exceedingly fast and beside the train window across which sits Shruti. His eyes locked in hers and together their beaming smile broadens! A loud bang, the crash of metal… the humour and the jolts in the movie has amusingly perfect timing!
If the title song ‘Barfi’ sets the tone with a jazzy note, a couple of other songs also maintain the rhythm delightfully including ‘Kyon’ whilst ‘Aashiyan’ is sprightly with a truly stylish instrumental score in the background…
Later, as the story graduates from keenness to joy and affection; you come across the song ‘Phir Le Aya Dil’ rendering itself on a much softer note…
Just as much as Barfi’s silent yet highly effective humour coupled with jazzy music and some remarkable performances engrosses you; the photography adds its share by never letting you take your eyes off the screen… the cinematography captures the rustic visuals of the hill station, including visuals of Darjeeling’s very own yet good old steam locomotives.
Several other visuals are vibrant too, together with Barfi’s super trick of having lamp posts fall in front of him… don’t miss his charming reasoning for having these lamps fall…
Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor) is so strikingly animated, you don’t realise that he is speech and hearing impaired.
Conversations are beautifully minimal, especially considering the fact that Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra) is autistic.
Priyanka Chopra and Ranbir Kapoor’s performances literally compete with each other in thoroughly contrasting terms; one very animated and the other highly subdued.
Shruti (Ileana D’Cruz) as well endears splendidly more with her eyes and expressions as opposed to her lingual skills.
The story, never overbearing, thrives as it touches you gently with its moving tale.
Very gradually, you could find yourself caught unawares as the story delicately borders on giving you shades of a thriller, though all along it was a story of affection developing… superbly directed by Anurag Basu.
Filmed with the charm of an earlier era, the movie delivers and strikes a chord delicately handling keenness, affection, selflessness and love.
Siddharth Roy Kapoor