When the trailers for this film first appeared on screen, it was clear to see that this was not going to be��your typical Bollywood film. Whilst on the promotional trails for this film, the lead actors insisted that this film was not a film about disability; it was a happy film which was based around the love story between the three characters. Ranbir Kapoor�۪s lead role as ‘Barfi!’ was described as being deaf and dumb��but providing Charlie-Chaplin-meets-Mr-Bean style comedy. Priyanka Chopra�۪s new look caused intrigue worldwide as it was worlds apart from her usual glamorous characters she has been seen playing in previous films. Her character was shown in the trailers as being just as unusual as Ranbir Kapoor�۪s Murphy. South Indian film actress Ileana D�۪Cruz is making her debut in a Hindi cinema and she has a lot to live up to with Kapoor and Chopra being experienced actors playing such significant characters in the film. Director Anurag Basu is known to make unusual films like ��Life in a Metro�۪ (2007) and ��Kites�۪ (2010) which defy the Bollywood norm. This film had a lot of promise in terms of its characters and promised to be a story that would leave its mark in the Bollywood industry.
The film is shown through the eyes of Shruti (D�۪Cruz) who encounters happy-go-lucky��Murphy (Kapoor) being chased by the police, Charlie-Chaplin-style through the streets. Shruti says that this is not her first encounter with��Murphy and flashes back to 1970s Darjeeling where she meets��him by chance and falls in love with his simple personality despite her being engaged to a wealthy man in Kolkata. After a holiday romance with Murphy, Shruti chooses wealth over love and heads back to marry her fianc̩. In the meantime, Jhilmil Chatterjee (Chopra) belongs to an affluent family and is bought back to Darjeeling to live with her ailing grandparent. Her family lack the sensitivity to care for her��as she��is autistic and struggles to understand the very adult world she is expected to live in. Heartbroken��Murphy then finds that his ageing father is battling kidney failure and he needs money to get him the medical treatment that he needs. Poor and penniless��Murphy tries to find ways to make money but to no avail and ends up, unwillingly, plotting with his best friend to kidnap Jhilmil and hold her to ransom. However as the story progresses, Jhilmil��and��Murphy realise that despite their physical imperfections, they are perfect for each other and can support themselves. Jhilmil even gives Murphy the name ‘Barfi!’.��In the present, after six years of marriage, Shruti realises that she still loves Murphy.
To say that this film is the best performance of Kapoor�۪s lifetime is an understatement. It is clear to see why��he was given so many awards and critical acclaim for his role in ��Rockstar�۪ (2011); he is absolutely brilliant. He plays the character of��Murphy flawlessly and you find yourself endeared to his character from the word go. He is on cue with all his facial expressions and his body language which are enough for him to portray any dialogue he wants to the audience, all without a single word spoken. He is a perfect partner-in-crime for Chopra who plays her role with such dedication that her character�۪s autism is believable and not over the top. She nails her facial expressions too and you are immediately sensitive to her and the fact she cannot exist in a society which expects to be reserved and ��normal�۪. Her childlike expressions are so believable that you can see she has put a lot of work into discovering how people with autism behave on a daily basis. D�۪Cruz fares well in her debut Hindi role that is ironically normal but still has her own social norms to battle with. She was at risk of being overshadowed by the other two characters but she holds her own and plays the role of the girl who is stuck between her own wishes and her family�۪s wishes well.
Director Anurag Basu has excelled himself with this film that gives you a whole new outlook on life. The story moves back and forth between 1978, 1972 and 2012 and it would have been easy to lose the audience but Basu�۪s sense of making the story flow effortlessly prevents this from happening. Actors playing differently-abled roles have a risk of coming across too over the top or too comic but Basu ensures that they are shown with great affection. The cinematography for this film deserves a special mention with Eastern India shown to be stunning with the gorgeous Darjeeling tea plantations as the setting. The music for this film is beautiful and soulful, truly matching the sweet and tender mood of the film.
This film is a lovely story that does touch your heart with Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra doing a wonderful job as the leads. It is brilliantly directed and really does deserve all the critical acclaim that it is sure to get in the coming weeks.
BizAsia Showbiz Rating: 5/5