Sunday, September 16, 2012


For quite some time now we have not seen a movie that the public was unanimous in endorsing.  Barfi is a movie all are raving about at the moment.  A friend tweeted "
Barfii is cute, funny, high on emotions. Every frame is brilliant. Classic."

This tweet made me want to see the movie, and I blocked out all reviews and opinions on the film from my reading list. I like to see a film without knowing anything about it at all.  All you could hear on the ticket window was 'Barfi'. "Do barfi dena" said the girl standing the row next to mine. I almost said "Yeh koi halwai ki dukan hai?".

I opted for the earliest show, the 9.15 one.  This is my favorite show timing.  You are done with the movie before midday and have the rest of the day free for other activities. Usually this time slot is not popular with people because no one likes being out of their beds so early on a Sunday.  Yet I was surprised to see the hall fill up in no time.

Most people know what the movie is about.  Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor) is a deaf mute boy living in Darjeeling.  His story is told in flashbacks by a girl who loves him Shruti (Ileana D'Cruz).  Shruti makes friends with Barfi when her father is transferred to Darjeeling.  She has a lot of fun running around with him.  Maybe for the first time in her life, she is truly emancipated, because the deaf-mute does not expect her to behave in a particular fashion.  Despite feeling connected to him, she has to give him up and marry the guy her parents approve of.

Barfi is heartbroken when he sees that he cannot be with her.  His life takes an unforeseen turn when he runs into Jhilmil, an autistic girl imprisoned in her home by her insensitive but rich parents. Jhilmil is kidnapped, and Barfi is suspected of kidnapping and later, murdering her.

The story of Barfi is engrossing, to be sure.  There is something happening all through the film to keep you occupied.  However it is the treatment of the film that is the king, nay, the emperor here.

The film is short almost like a silent movie for the first part. Apt. The movie is about a deaf-mute who has no sound in his life.  There are times when the silences actually nearly unnerve you, but also grip you in a way no film has done in recent time.

The movie is beautiful as well.  Shot in scenic Darjeeling, the frequent use of the toy train reminds you so much of "Mere sapno ki raani".

Anurag Basu OWNS the film along with Ranbir Kapoor.  He invokes memories of Life in a Metro with the use of musicians that pop up to play a mournful accordian every time something emotional happens.  Also the skillful touches and scenes that are likely to linger in your memory for a long long time.

Ileana D'Cruz is simply beautiful.  Her large eyes are used to full effect by the director to convey emotions.  She looks lovely in her 70s get-up, hoops and turtleneck sweaters in the first half and bengali sarees that show off her lovely slim waist in the second half.

Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra) is helped in her acting by her curly hair, her prosthetic teeth and camera angles.  I do feel Anurag Basu must get the major chunk of kudos for her performance.

On the other hand, Ranbir Kapoor is absolutely perfect.  His lithe body helps in the chaplinesque moves he has to make as the slippery Barfi.  Seeing that he gets only one line to speak "Barfi", he could have gone OTT with the expressions, but he never does!  He is perfect.

I did not quite like the last couple of scenes.  I wish the movie had ended when the mystery around Jhilmil was cleared.  A little ambiguity does not hurt. :)  Even so! Barfi is the most unusual movie to have hit the movie screens in recent times.  It is quirky, funny, emotional, thrilling, moving. 


  1. I told you I wouldn't read it (because I wanted to see the movie) but couldn't resist reading it. :-).

    Very well-written, Ava. Enjoyed reading this review.

  2. You want me to watch it! With your review, it will be difficult to resist the temptation to watch it now! Good review, Ava.

    How does it compare to "Koshish" (Gulzar's movie of the 70's) probably one of the first hits featuring a deaf-mute couple with a blind friend? And another movie of recent times, "Black", which also is about the differently abled individuals coming together?

  3. I've been hearing great things about this one too, Ava. Must watch it, now that you've endorsed it!

  4. Sounds ghisa-pitta, but your review makes the movie sound good!
    par main kahan dekh paunga!
    thanks for the review!

  5. Thanks Raja :) I hope I did not put you off the movie :)

    Do watch it.

  6. Raj, Thanks! I do hope you watch it.

    As I said, this movie is more like a breezy musical, rather chaplinesque.

    I don't think I can compare it to any other movie like Koshish or Black. I certainly didn't think at all of other movies.

    See this movie is kind of a romance/adventure/thriller/mystery all rolled into one. So its different.

  7. Madhu,

    Sure it is good! Do watch it. :)

  8. Gosh Ghisapita? Not a whit Harvey. Haan you wont be able to see it unless it makes it to Youtube! Agar DVD aai to I will send you, pakka promise.

  9. i love the quality of light and the fireflies in bubbles as the two played in twilight but those were few and far between -miss cruz is very pretty and the romance between barfi and jilmil was unconvincing

  10. Thank you for commenting here Usman :)

    Yes it was a pretty film. I was very gripped by it. There were a few gaps here and there, but Ranbir was able to plug them.

    Any lack of chem. between the lead pair has to be laid at the door of poor PC.

  11. Aala aala Matwala Barfi... :)

    Yaar kya baat hai, Aapke itne reviews padhe hain, is ki toh baat alag hai. It's written well.

    @Raj who spoke of Black n Koshish above, This is no Koshish or Black. They all are diff movies (not even same in the handicap).. Anyway Black was OTT.

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  13. Yup - you are right - what a wonderful movie it turns out to be.
    Hats off to the whole gang for giving us our own "Life is beautiful" - everything about is so kool. I read people complaining of its length and we were not prepared to get up even when it finished as we kept asking for more :) - I wonder what those guys expected and were thinking.
    It was totally engrossing and at times it worked as an edge of the seat thriller too for me.
    Songs were damn neat.
    Loved those three musicians - signature Pritam / Anurag combo.
    Ileana is a hottie - have almost seen all her southy movies back to back - I can vouch she is the next best thing happening to bollywood. I am certainly up for a couple of more viewings :) - even wifey said "kal chutti hai, chalein kya ek baar aur?".

    BTW we always watch that 9.30 show. Cause our kiddo goes to school at 8.15 and we run to that early morning show so our maid shud not miss her shift either ;)
    Guess what - ticket prices are low too that early as we paid 80/- per ticket for Burfi :D

  14. Vee, dhanyavad to you. It was your tweet that inspired me :)

    Rohit, Sasti and tikau! Kam log and convenient timing. I am a big fan of early shows :)

    The movie was awesome. Me sochti rahi, shayad 2nd half flop hoga, but it only GOT BETTER! Awesome!

  15. Hi Ava, what do u think about the movie now that its common knowledge that its a rip off. The makers of the movie have played so dirty there is a photo of Charlie Chaplin embedded inbetween 2 reels when the reel switches. Its not surprise people have found Ranbir to be like Chaplin - the message was driven into people's brains thru suck gimmicks. By now its clear the movie is no masterpiece as it was touted to be initially. Its a cheap rip-off and India wwill be shamed at the oscars as the jury there will not be as ignorant/corrupt as the selectors here.
    Nice review as always!

    !! Spike !!

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  17. EISI,


    I did feel the early part of the movie was like some Chaplin movie. But it did not deter me.

    I don't care for the Oscars. I don't think they even pick their own best films for an award, hamari film to door ki baat hai.

    This is exactly why I go to see a movie without reading any review. I liked it, and that's that!