"Barfi" is a simple, earnest and more often a non-talkie attempt to make audience laugh. The film has an innate comedy factor coupled with a heartwarming aspect - notably missing in recent comedy flicks. The filmmakers seemed to have won hands down in delivering the right punches in terms of humour and selfless love.
Director Anurag Basu has employed mime, slapstick into "Barfi" keeping romance-drama as its base. His decision to cast Ranbir Kapoor paid off, given that he has the skills to essay a character like "Barfi" in his DNA (think Raj Kapoor in "Joker")
The film starts on a narrative note with a group of old people recalling Barfi's antics and silliness in his youth, while he (Barfi) in his death bed is counting the last moments of his life.
Major part of the story is set in Darjeeling, 1978, when we get introduced to the village charmer known as Barfi. His parents named him Murphy, supposedly inspired by Murphy poster baby.
Owing to his disabilities, the protagonist winds up introducing himself as Barfi over the years.
Barfi's deaf and dumb traits add more to his clownish quality. With pranks always up in his sleeves, Barfi often turns out to be a pain in the neck for the police, particularly for officer Saurabh Shukla, who ends up losing kilos around his middle in the course of chasing Barfi.
Barfi falls in love with already engaged girl, Shruti (Ileana D'Cruz), who eventfully becomes his "best-friend."
During the course of the film, Barfi succeed in impressing Shruti and even scores a peck on his lips from her as a complementary token. However, Shruti's mother convinces her to choose an affluent man and to bury her desire for Barfi, given that he can neither talk nor hear.
Dumped by Shruti, Barfi finds solace in Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra), a mentally-challenged rich girl who happens to be his childhood friend.
With parents who stay away out of awkwardness by their daughter's handicap, Jhilmil craves for love and affection.
After a series of twist and turns, Barfi decides to kidnap Jhilmil for ransom from her parents to save his ailing father, who eventually kicks the bucket before his son arranges money for a life-saving operation.
Although Barfi fails to execute his plan in abducting Jhilmil, fate brings her into his arms. Jhilmil takes away Barfi's loneliness, and at the same time is immensely loved by him.
Barfi and Jhilmil get lost in their innocent love and leave the village to lead their own life. As most fairy tales go fate has other plans in store. Shruti crosses path in their lives and comes between Barfi and Jhilmil's love.
By that time Shruti would have realised her mistake in leaving Barfi and gets into an unexhibited emotional conflict with Jhilmil, who now owns Barfi's heart. Amid all the drama, Jhilmil vanishes from Barfi's life thinking that he cares more for Shruti than her.
Where did Jhilmil go? What happens to Shruti's love? And who does Barfi actually love with all his heart? All these uncertainties will lead to a dramatic end.
No doubt, Ranbir steals the show with his mime acts. Barfi's character crafted by Basu has given Ranbir enough scope to push himself on the acting front. His acts and pranks have indeed drawn genuine laughter from the audiences.
On the other hand, Priyanka is also impressive as Jhilmil and has played her mentally challenged role with much conviction and the mannerisms of differently-abled people.
Goan beauty Ileana, who carved a niche in the South Indian film industry, couldn't have asked for a better role to make her Bollywood debut. She has enough lines and space in the film to show off her acting skills beyond the glam factor.
On those lines, Ileana looks fabulous both in her vintage outfits and in saris.
On a concluding note, unlike other comedy genres this movie has not offered a double-entendre, loud screaming or violent-laced humour, but has instead delivered simple yet heartfelt jokes that often tickle the funny bones.
Director: Anurag Basu
Star cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ileana D'Cruz, Rahul Garg