Barfi! works extremely well because of its humour, which stands out despite director Anurag Basu’s usual style of trying to squeeze tears out of you, and his stupid love of placing a bunch of musicians in a scene after every few scenes. He did it in one of his previous movies (Life in a Metro, shitty film) and it really hampers the seriousness of the movie. Not that Barfi is a serious flick – the movie has slapstick in high doses and it makes for a really good time, except Anurag Basu also wants you to feel other emotions and he tries really hard to make you go ‘Aww’.
Ranbir Kapoor is excellent as Barfi, the deaf-mute guy who can charm his way into anybody’s heart. Barfi falls for Shruti (Ileana D’Cruz – she’s excellent too) in Darjeeling, till she leaves for Kolkata to marry the man she’s engaged to but not in love with. Barfi meets his childhood friend Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra – trying hard, but not good enough), the autistic girl whose parents don’t care all that much about her.
The funny moments take a serious turn, and that’s where Barfi loses its repeat value. The trio comes together in Kolkata under unfortunate circumstances, and you realize that Ranbir Kapoor is an outstanding actor whose chemistry with Ileana D’Cruz is very good, and that Priyanka Chopra is a daring actor who doesn’t have the chops. Sure, she goes for roles that that dumb slut Kareena Kapoor couldn’t even think of attempting, but Priyanka’s performance comes across as slightly exaggerated.
What Barfi! really has going in its favour is the humour, which Ranbir keeps alive even in tense situations. The cinematography is a treat, as are the moments shared by Ranbir and Ileana.
Barfi! is a good one-time watch.