Sunday, 23 September 2012
Veering from the oft-beaten path while still staying within the premises of mainstream cinema and audience, presents a unique set of challenges, especially if the concerned movie is a reasonably big-budget Bollywood flick with highly-paid stars – Anurag Basu managed to pull that off reasonably well in Barfi. The titular protagonist, played with élan and complete abandon by Ranbir Kapoor, is a deaf-mute guy with an infinite zest for life. He falls in love with a beautiful, but engaged, Bengali lady Shruti (Ileana D’Cruz). Meanwhile, he also embarks on a fantastic relationship and journey with Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra), an autistic girl belonging to a wealthy family, thus putting the lives of all the three in total disarray and permanent entanglement. Set in Darjeeling, Calcutta and rural Bengal, this beautifully photographed and choreographed film is a positive affirmation on the beauties and joys of life, love and friendship. Basu, in his attempt to give his audiences a “happy high”, did sugar-coat most of the proceedings, and rarely touched upon the melancholic underpinnings of the neurotic characters or the deep-rooted sense of anarchy in the storyline, like the master screen comedians who he paid ample homages to (Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Marx Brothers, Jacques Tati) did in their works. Nonetheless, the director did attempt some form of experiment on form and narrative style, which isn’t very common in mainstream Hindi films. Saurabh Shukla gave a memorable turn as an obese yet hyper-active cop, in this idiosyncratic and bittersweet, albeit simplistic, film filled with quite a few nicely conceptualized vignettes and set-pieces.
Director: Anurag Basu
Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romantic Comedy