Entertaining, heartwarming and joyful, yes; but Anurag Basu's Barfi! has loopholes that can trap a Yeti's foot. The plot is thin as ice and is held together only by the sweet moments that bring a smile to your faces from time to time. Barfi! is a great series of short events, but in those events, the bigger picture appears to have lost its purpose.
The gaps in the narrative are unseen while you are experiencing the delight that the film is, but as soon as the initial charm fades, the shortcomings and predictability of the plot become visibly evident. Barfi! is a story of 3 individuals and their search for love and where that search takes them depending on the paths that they choose. Their destinies are intertwined such that they affect each other and eventually, they all end up finding what love means, one way or another.
The screenplay, written by Basu himself, unfolds on screen like a spoonful of ice-cream melts on your palette. But, however excellent the execution, every brilliantly crafted moment in the film reminds you of something you have seen in a good movie before. And that may very well appear revolutionary for the naive audience, for a veteran or a cinema junkie, Barfi! is a deja vu. The deja vu not only spoils the originality of the film but also brings you out of the world that is in front of you and you begin thinking about the parallels from The Notebook, Amelie, City Lights and others to name a few.
The music is a treat to the ears but it is impossible to not reminisce the time you watched Jean Pierre Jeunet's Amelie. The score is slathered with influence of the soundtrack from the brilliant French film. The songs are performed brilliantly by all the artistes and Swanand Kirkire's lyrics couldn't be more apt. A special fist bump/high five/ chest bump to whose ever's idea it was to start the film with Picture Shuru. The background score in the movie tends to be over used to fill the silences left by a mute protagonist, which, quite frankly, would not really bother you. It is just the kind of gimmicks that are undertaken to appease the restless audience and to spoon feed them that turn a good film into an average film.
Ranbir Kapoor speaks just one word in the film but reaches out to the audience like he never did. His Chaplinesque performance is a delight to watch and is not only a noteworthy performance but an homage to Raj Kapoor's legacy. Priyanka's portrayal of an autistic girl is a little over the top but the consistency of body language and the way she has carried herself throughout the film is commendable. Arguably her best role so far. Ileana impresses on debut but there is nothing extraordinary about her acting (unlike her pretty face). The overall ensemble cast puts in a satisfactory performance and after a long time, Saurabh Shukla is seen in a role that exploits his talents.
Ravi Varman is the stand out individual with cinematography that belongs to the elite league in Indian cinema. Every frame is perfect and the consistency of treatement is what makes the rest of the units in the film look good in unison.
All in all, Barfi!, for the audience that we are as a nation, will be one of the best films made this year. It is a great experience but there's nothing you take home. You love it while you live it.
Rating: 3 out of 5