Harish Jharia

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25 September 2012

Film Review: Anurag Basu’s Movie Barfi, Starring Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra

© Harish Jharia 

Story of the movie Barfi: 

Barfi is the name of a hearing and speech impaired lead character, played by Ranbir Kapoor in the movie. Barfi’s father, a car driver, was enchanted to see his new born son, who was a beautiful baby boy and named him Murphy, after the brand name of a radio in those days, in the advertisements of which an extremely charming and good looking baby boy was featured.

Young Barfi, being a hearing and speech impaired boy, used to pronounce Murphy as Barfi and eventually everybody started calling him Barfi. He grew up into a jolly, prankster and a man with extremely quick reflexes. His mind acted fast and his body moved yet so very faster. His mannerisms and body language made all the onlookers giggle surging the atmosphere high in spirits. 

Barfi fell in love with a girl Shruti, played by Ileana DCruz, who was already engaged and later married to her fiancée. Shruti, always missed Barfi, in spite of having married to a handsome and wealthy person. She even left her husband’s home, in the end of the film, for a reunion with Barfi. 

Meanwhile, another girl Jhilmil, played by Priyanka Chopra, with partial handicap of autism* enters Barfi’s life. Jhilmil is the granddaughter of a millionaire, played by Arun Bali who loves her so much so that he nominates her to inherit his property rather than his own offspring. Jhilmil’s grandpa is sick and bed ridden whereas her parents are insensitive and page-3 socialites, who opted for keeping their daughter Jhilmil in an Orphanage. 

Barfi, comes in contact with Jhilmil through his father who was employed as a driver in Jhilmil’s family. Barfi and Jhilmil both having a handicap of their own, develop intimacy and later on a stronger bond with each other. 

The film ends with the reunion of Barfi, Jhilmil and Shruti in their old age when Barfi dies and Jhilmil accompanies in his last journey. 

The grownup Murphy baby 'Kagyur Tulku Rinpoche' 
married to Mandakini

Movie Review:   

Barfi is an excellent movie for cine-goers to watch it once and enjoy the comedy and pranks of Ranbir Kapoor, associated with loud sound effects and pretty fast successive action shots with expert cinematography and editing.  Direction, cinematography and editing are excellent. Sound could have been balanced in a better way and making the dialogues more audible. The film is excellent and a ‘must see’ creation. 

Basically, Barfi is a comedy movie; nevertheless, the writer-cum -director Anurag Basu has added two more genres that are ‘the first love syndrome’ and ‘the social neglect of an autism* patient’. Comedy, love and handicap are three huge subjects that cannot go simultaneously in making a film. Any two, of course, had to be there for making a worthwhile story and showing an impressive climax. 

Anurag Basu has blended these three genres and made a very complex story for a movie. There are repetitions of fast action shots, offbeat sequences of events and extra prolonged story. Because of all these, many times, I could not understand the incidents, time sequences and reasoning attached to them. 

The last shot shown in the movie is that of the marriage of Barfi and Jhilmil. It obviously appears that this shot has been deliberately shown after the death of Barfi and Jhilmil for covering up the sad scene of their death, giving a happy ending.  

In fact the story did not require to show Barfi, Jhilmil and Shruti growing too very old and above all, showing the death of Barfi and Jhilmil. It was just not required to show all three stages of life… the young age, the middle age and the old age of the lead characters in a film. The story could have done well by showing the characters up to their middle age only. 

                        The Murphy Baby

Role of the characters and stars:

I think that the role of Priyanka Chopra should have been a bit longer and that of Ileana DCruz could have been cut short. The first love syndrome involving Ileana DCruz was not worth prolonging to the extent of the climax of the film. This syndrome has been excessively stretched and even Shruti’s mother Roopa Ganguly has been shown suffering from the same syndrome. The role of Priyanka Copra deserved to be at least 1 ½ times the existing one. 

Pretty more interaction between Priyanka and Ranbir could have been shown and the mutual feelings of the two handicapped people involved in lust-less love could have been portrayed. Barfi could have been a story dedicated to the leading pair of Priyanka and Ranbir with a short prelude of that of Ileana DCruz. 

Ranbir has given his best and lived the character of Barfi live. Even the sign language used by him and the occasional minimal speech were perfect to the hilt. Priyanka did not get adequate opportunity to perform and dominate the show as the leading lady. On the other hand Ileana DCruz has got better opportunity to show off her beauty and talent. All other actors did very well.

The Oscar Nomination:

Film Federation of India has selected Barfi as an entry to the Oscars in the foreign language category. It would be better if the director re-edit the current version of the film for making it compatible for Oscars. However, it depends on whether or not the commercial version of a film is permitted to be edited and the Director feels the necessity for the same. 


Banner: UTV Motion Pictures; Ishana Movies
Released on: 14 Sep 2012
Genre: Comedy
Producer: Siddharth Roy Kapur; Ronnie Screwvala
Star Cast
  1. Ranbir Kapoor.... Barfi
  2. Priyanka Chopra.... Jhilmil Chatterjee
  3. Ileana DCruz.... Shruti
  4. Akash Khurana.... Barfi's Father
  5. Sumona Chakravarti.... Shruti's Friend
  6. Ashish Vidyarthi.... Jhilmil's Father
  7. Roopa Ganguly.... Shruti's Mother
  8. Jishu Sengupta.... Ranjeet Sengupta
  9. Haradhan Bandopadhyay.... Dadu
  10. Saurabh Shukla.... Sudhanshu Dutta
  11. Arun Bali.... Jhilmil's Grandfather
  12. Uday Tikekar.... Shruti's Father
  13. Rajeev Mishra.... Sudhanshu Dutta's Assistant
  14. Kenny Desai.... Senior Police Inspector
Story / Direction: Anurag Basu
Costume Designers: Aki Narula;  Shefalina
Music Director: Pritam Chakraborty
Singers: Mohit Chauhan; Swanand Kirkire; Sunidhi Chauhan; Papon; Arijit Singh; Rekha Bhardwaj; Shafqat Amanat Ali; Nikhil Paul George
Lyricist: Swanand Kirkire; Neelesh Misra; Ashish Pandit; Sayeed Quadri
Editor: Akiv Ali
Cinematography: Ravi Varma
Dialogue: Sanjeev Dutta

*What is autism? … Answer: Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder. Its symptoms include differences and disabilities in many areas including social communication skills, fine and gross motor skills, and sometimes intellectual skills. 

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