Ranbir Kapoor has been an actor who has consistently surprised audiences with his acting skills. Rocket Singh to Rockstar, Ranbir Kapoor has steadily bettered his performance, I’m skipping Saawariya since it’s a movie I haven’t seen in the cinemas.
Barfi is a refreshing attempt in popular hindi cinema, the plot would have been a fusion of O Henry and Charlie Chaplin with the lead actor borrowing heavily from the latter. His mannerisms and almost every light scene is a tribute to Chaplin. The production design is excellent, once gets a feel of Calcutta of the late 70’s. The hills are always a joy to see on screen, I presume to shoot too, so nothing great about Darjeeling and the toy train but all the night scenes are lit, framed and exposed wonderfully.
This is a fairy tale, an Indian one at that and while it plays it regales you through it. The opening is a cheeky song that asks you to behave in the cinema hall rather humourously and the movie begins. Anurag Basu comes from the Bhatt family of movie making. Gangster, Murder and Kites which apparently didn’t get any wind beneath it’s wings to take off. It’s surprising that he was able to cobble together such a warm movie. Being diagnosed with cancer and recovering from it probably made Anurag reflect on life.
There is one scene which exhibits how neatly the story is made to unfold. Barfi (deaf and mute) after being paid a donation by the girls father after being mistaken for someone asking for alms sees the girl and her fiancee, walks out of the house, there’s rain and thunder, no background music and his cycle chain comes away not giving him the luxury of speeding away from the moment of abject rejection, confronts the girl, angry and in squeaks and then lets it all go and asks her to smile and goes away.
Pritam’s music isn’t catchy, I guess they meant to keep it that way. The motif of showing musicians on screen making the transition between scenes is replicated in Barfi too, the background music is not just accordion, guitar and violin but piano heavy too. The whole movie is one grand con on the mind. Never during the movie did the laughs stop and once it got over one realizes it’s a sad little story, one that highlights the mistakes people make in the battle between head and heart.