Barfi can be esteemed the best creation by Anurag Basu so far. It is perhaps from his personal life he has unearthed the true philosophy of life that every moment has to be lived in vigor and vitality. Barfi is the name of a deaf and dumb youth, full of life, fun-making, impish, happy-go-lucky, pleasure-seeker or a hedonist in literal sense. He is the only son of a chauffeur of a rich family. Barfi takes a glimpse of a sweet young lady Shruti. He tries to impress her by dint of his typical physical mannerisms. Shruti is impressed. This gives way to their romantic involvement. But a wall has to be drawn between the physically challenged and physically free. So, Shruti has, circumstantially, bee, betrothed to a well off. Barfi keeps the pain buried within, and what is without, is his gestures denoting that Shruti would be conjugally happier with someone of her standard. Meanwhile, Barfi’s father falls seriously ill. The son needs money to save his father. He leaves no stone unturned to win the required sum. Eventually, Jhilmil the autist daughter of a greedy man, happens to be out at large. Barfi gets involved with her. Hence, a new chapter begins. The chemistry between physically challenged and psychologically self-absorbed works out a unique valency. One seems to be the ideal complement to the other thus cementing relations with mutual dependency. Barfi is accused of kidnap and has to bear with the wild geese chase, which has been projected in Chaplin genre. Any way, Barfi and Jhimli get separated . Years roll by, Barfi turns orphaned, Shruti proves an unhappy wife. Following a good deal of dramatic situations, Barfi along with Shruti comes to trace Jhimli in her grand-pa’s house. They are again united. The end of the story-telling jumps from mid 70s to the present time, when the sexagenarian Barfi who has ever used every moment of his life, finds himself in the hospital when his moments are all but used up. Jhimli lands by to make a space for her on the same bed where her other half is lying.
The most striking aspect of the film is the story that Anurag has taken up. Broadly speaking, the film does not speak volumes about physical handicapped , nor does it preach about the duties of the world to them. It simply enters into their world in order to explore those virgin territories, not known, sensed and felt by the world of the so called “ normal”. Barfi and Jhimli have their domain that has nothing to do with pelf, power and position. It is such a world whose two hemispheres are equally shared by the either to make the world complete. The fusion between the two is not cemented with any biological urge. It endeavors to suggest that the two has given lease to a perpetual psychological intercourse, unlike that of the physically sound,whose coition ranges between minutes and hours. In the film Shruti ( the other name of the Vedas) is a symbolical representation of the voyager through the “ Atlantic” of their love.
As for performance, Ranveer as Barfi has been tailored to the role. Though deaf and dumb, he is very much”vocal and verbal” by virtue of his gestures, poses, postures, physical movements, and , of course, optic articulations. When his body stands static, his eyes become dynamic. He has not aped Charles Chaplin, but inserted Chaplin within. His physical flexibility has proved it. By marking a few stars, his performance cannot be rated. The second is Priyanka Chopra, Jeemli. She has come out of the cloister of “ Fashion” and fleshy exposure of “ Dostana” or flamboyancy of “ Saat Khoon Maaf”. Of course, she has made herself literally upside down to portray this character that almost speaks nothing, but conveys everything as the portraiture demands. Iliean D’ Cruz, in her Hindi film debut must arrest attention of all watchers . As a “ go-between” her psychological interactions are brilliant. Sourav Shukla as the overweighed cop has left a lasting impression. Others have done justice to their assigned roles. Ravi Varman has given to the Indian cinema a lesson that only tricks are not enough in a movie. Cinematography ought to be in relevance to the plot, time and place. Since the story of Barfi dates back to early 70s to mid 70s, startling technical tricks have been deliberately skipped. Close-shots have been given prime priority to catch or capture the exchange of emotions of the protagonists. Mid-shots and long-shots are given according to situations. It is the film, in which the two principal characters are mute, songs composed by Preetam have brought new dimension. Back-ground music is always on to take us away to the bygone decades right from Chaplin’s silent movies, in which orchestrations were added later. This is the most musical movies made by Anurag Basu. As for direction, Anurag’s “ anurag” to the true essence of life has been reflected at best. The on-set of the theme has its locale in “ the Queen of Hills”, where Barfi of Nepali/ Gorkha origin has its rapport with Bengali belles. So the characters have to come down to the plains—Kokata. The spot repeatedly focuses the Howrah Bridge over the river Hoogly. Some political-minded men may smell something political. But the film is thoroughly apolitical. Anurag Bose has never handled such delicate subject earlier. “ Muder”,” Gangstar”,” Life in a Metro” were the films for the sake of film-making. “ Barfi” has been made for life-making.
There can be no rose without a thorn. “ Barfi” is no exception. The real flaw of the film lies in its narrative technique. The crisscross editing sometimes appears obfuscating. The old cop who has been a chaser after Barfi almost throughout his tenure, gives interview. But who is the interviewer? There is lack of balancing between the first half and the second. The second half has been stretched more than it is necessary. The acts of kidnaps could have been scripted more carefully. The mystery that has been attempted to create in immersing the car into water is not solid but fragile.
All the same, “ Barfi” is a landmark in our film history. The sensible audiences are not concerned with the film’s gross on “ First day”,” Second day”, but they are apt to watch a LOVE STORY, that has surmounted the typical love stories of the time-borne convention. It is not a film of AUTISM or of physically challenged people, because physically sound society is challenged by the “ physically challenged” with one and only attribution—genuine love. So Barfi is a love story of its class.