Actions speak louder than words, and Barfi manages to pull it off rather well. At the very beginning of the movie we are introduced to Barfi (originally named Murphy, but pronounced Barfi by the protagonist) a deaf and mute individual who lives his life filled with mischief and mayhem despite his physical disabilities. But Barfi is not a story about the tragic life of a physically disabled individual, but more of a love story that delves so deep into the characters that they become devoid of their disabilities.
The movie revolves around Barfi falling in love with the beautiful Shruti (played wonderfully by IlleanaD’Cruz) who also happens to love Barfi in spite of already being engaged to a wealthy man. After a few outings and romantic moments, Shruti decides to carry on and wed her wealthy fiancé, leaving Barfi a heart-broken wreck.
Watch official trailer, "Barfi"
Enter Jhilmil, a young autistic girl belonging to a wealthy family, but is completely ignored by her parents as well as society. In the time Barfi is getting over his heartbreak, his father suffers an attack and Barfi has to desperately raise the capital for the operation. He decides to kidnap Jhilmil and ask her father for ransom to pay for the operation. But in a bizarre turn of events Barfi and Jhilmil realize that they are perfect for each other and learn their physical disabilities are no longer nuisances.
Barfi brings to memory the magnificent escapades of Charlie Chaplin portrayed brilliantly by the talented Ranbir Kapoor. His entire body language and behavior of the character was simply a delight to watch. From his numerous escapes from the law to the comical situations he unintentionally gets himself into, it was entirely a treat for the eyes.
Priyanka Chopra as well has done a fantastic job of getting into the character of the autistic young girl named Jhilmil. But the scenes of her portrayal that shouted brilliance and proved rather heart wrenching were those of her riveting cries for Barfi every time he left her side. Her performance was outstanding and can easily be compared to that of the autistic Sean Penn in I Am Sam. That role won Sean Penn a Best Actor award and the same could surely be said for Priyanka.
Anurag Basu has managed to capture the beautiful scenery of Darjeeling and Kolkata with finesse and add to that the wonderful music and background score makes the viewing of Barfi a breath of fresh air. All in all Barfi hits the right notes with story, performance, screenplay, sound and direction being above excellence. The movie is proof that a film about the physically challenged doesn’t have to be the conventional pitiful and sorrowful experience, but instead it can be a joyful and charming piece of cinema that will leave you speechless.
By Ashford Fernandez
The writer is a postgraduate student studying Media and Communications and specializing in Television and Video Production.