Charming, pure, 'Barfi!' a modern masterpiece
Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Movie Name : Barfi!
Cast : Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ileana d'Cruz
Director : Anurag Basu
Genre : Rom Com
Silences seldom spoke so eloquently. It's been a while since we saw a film that set style at a subsidiary state to substance, put the characters' inner life ahead of the flamboyant manifestations of self-identity in a world governed by benevolence and charm.Barfi!
is a very charming film. It's remarkably devoid of vanity. The story of a deaf-and-mute man who could have grown up watching Chaplin and Raj Kapoor's cinema, and an autistic girl who has definitely not seen Shah Rukh Khan in My Name Is Khan
, is told without the props of a loud background music and other prompters to get audiences' involved in the proceedings.
This is a picaresque world of artless charm which invites you in without band baaja or baaraati. Fanfare is for the circus. Barfi!
is pure cinema.
Goodness! I am already gushing. It's the narcotic effect that Barfi has on you. Within no time at all you are swept into the protagonist's world, the two lovely women who breeze in and out of his existence and various other characters, all etched with a compassion and vividness that one associates with the cinema of Frank Capra and Ritwik Ghatak.Barfi!
exudes the warm glow of a life well lived. This dazzling glow originates from the protagonist Barfi who lives his life king-size with many Chapliesque comic antics creating a chain of comicbook adventures for our happy-go-looking hero, even though he can't speak or hear. But then speech was always supposed to be the least essential component of cinema. Ask Ingmar Bergman or Satyajit Ray. Their character spoke through lingering silences.
It's been a while since any protagonist on screen said so much to us without speaking. Rani Mukerji in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black
said it all through her muted mode of communication. But she had the formal sign language plus a voiceover for articulate support.
Significantly Anurag Basu, a master storyteller (and never mind the tormenting tepidity of his last film Kites
) does away with the crutches of a sign language and a voiceover.
Ranbir Kapoor as Barfi or Murphy whatever!...is left to his own devices. An incredibly enterprising actor, he brings a Chaplinesque aura to Barfi's character. Blending a very physical pie-in-the-face style of comic acting with an intangible poignancy, Ranbir turns his character and the film into a muted celebration of life. The tears are hidden from view. But they are there.