Let me jog your memory with a few names so that what you read below will make sense. Think about Pushpak , Tare Zameen Pe, Black, Lamhe. Visualise,remenicise now read review below.
Designer Barfi is finally here! So lets try and do this movie review from a typical F.A.Q fashion instead of the usual yada yada.
Question: How is the movie?
Answer : Well it depends who is watching with what mindset and knowledge about cinema. So if you are the type 1 types, who want the proverbial entertainment,entertainment,entertainment, a la Dirty Picture style – then you may exit the theater a bit smug and a little shrug.Then someone asks you well what did you not like? Then you begin to wonder and might not have a spontaneous answer.Well it was as if everything was there, but still not there.
Think about the recent movies that strike a chord and leave a lump in the throat with a somewhat similar storyline. Black comes to your mind,Amitabh Bachchan does a fantastic job so does Rani Mukherjee – the narrative was near perfect.My name is Khan – should have had OMG! prefixed before the title. It was a bad movie with bad acting. so to me Barfi lies closer to Black if they are the two extremes.
Question: So then is it a movie for the serious types?
Answer : Well Anurag Basu wouldnt mind who goes to watch this movie from a monetary standpoint,however from a cinema aesthetics standpoint he would have liked some seriously knowledgeable people to watch it – just so that they could probably articulate their feedback better.Having said that, there s a bit for everyone – the thinker,the time passer,the tag alone one and the avid movie buff. If you recall Gangster or Life in a metro,the directors earlier offerings they were good subjects too, especially the under-rated Life in a metro.Barfii will be enjoyed for different reasons by different folks. The young teeny bopper is going to bonkerswatching the cute Ranbir ,mid thirties lady is going to probably find it childish – the forties woman is just going get silently happy – but wait there is something for men too.
Illeana D Cruz will be a good eye candy for the teenager, for the the young executive Ranbir looks is something he will secretly want and vocally deny, for the growing wiser man of the forties, he is going to perhaps have a power nap or a phone or two to attend during the show as the case may be. But all said and done – people will find it difficult to point what was not right with the movie.Does that make it a good movie? Lets find out.
Question: How is the story?
Answer: There certainly is a plot ,premise and narrative.The rich colors of Darjeeling are done tastefully and everything looks so bright and vibrant.This was essential simply because the dialogs were few and far in between.So it was necessary that the frames spoke for itself . The story starts out as a simple love story but somewhere in between there is a whodunit sub plot.There are shades of Dil Chahta Hai type narration where the friends in the hospital are narrating the story in flash back. There are scenes like those in Lamhe between Anupam Kher and Sridevi in a mall (although that was in London) in Darjeeling etc.
Somewhere you get a sense that some of the scenes do not progress the story.They are just there as a placeholder for no purpose.In y definition every scene has to contribute to the progress of the story whether little or more is immaterial but it should move forward. This is the primary reason the movie is about 30 mins. or so longer than it should be.Could have wrapped things up within the 130 min mark.
Question : How is the acting?
Let me start with the reverse chronology in terms of importance of characters. The support cast includes the likes of Ashish Vidyarthi,Saurabh Shukla,Haradhan Banerjee,Rupa Ganguly,Jishu Sengupta,Akash Khurana make their presence felt in whatever little scope they get.Saurabh Shukla steals the march in the bit role group by a mile.His tough cop with a soft heart character goes down quite well.
Illeana D Cruz in her hindi film debut does a decent job expressing with her mascara lined eyes.Her face emotes well and the make goes well with her young or middle age projections – the trouble is when she is projected as an old woman – the cheek skin is as supple as it was in her twenties..healthy granny perhaps.
Priyanka Chopra – to me was the better performer or lets say better executed the role of the three main characters.Simply because there is this ample scope to go over th top playing an autistic child/girl , ample scope for making it look mawkish but she does underplay and the character comes out beautifully.There is no over the top reaction, albeit could be by design of script some might argue, but nevertheless she deliver s a fantastic performance.
Ranbir Kapoor – does a good job as the romantic happy go lucky guy in his twenties role.The challenge starts from the mid thirties – where in a movie with subtleties, one wished to see some subtle variations to the personality – but that was not to be. Is it too much to expect for a hindi movie? I think not – of late we have enough examples of the same. This is not to say that he was bad – he has done the role convincingly,and the more plausible fact is the choice of movies he does is remarkable.I think Rajneeti to Barfi or Rocket Singh or Wake Up Sid -these were just wonderful characters portrayed with gradually improving degrees of conviction,efficiency and flair. The Charles Chaplin take on the character was well done – some of the pranks were neat. One can help but think of Raj Kapoor and Shree 420 or Awara some of the all time classics.
So do we watch it or wait for the DVD release?
For starters, please do not download the movie from any source. most of you who read this get paid well enough to invest in two or three hundred rupees for the ticket.So go watch it in the theater. Will you miss something amazing if you wait for the DVD – perhaps not – you ll live. Needless to say this one is going for Oscars for the best foreign film category ,partly because our selection panel will dare not wait for another moive, which might not come for one, and the other its easy to play the sentimental card owing to the storyline. Their thought process would be that a lot of the jury members would find it easier to get convinced since it involves the so called human touch.
So I am going to go with 3 out 5 for this effort and feel happy that increasingly sensible movies with different subjects are being made in the Indian film industry.