Barfi – Matter of fact and earthy!

It is an almost indisputable fact that films often  use life’s misfortunes to lure their audience to connect with their protagonist and their story. In most cases filmmakers use disabled leads , contrived misfortunes , jilted lovers and self-sacrificing heroines almost always leading to loads of melodrama and bags of soaked tissues. Barfi uses all of the above plot tools yet stays so matter of fact and so real that you can’t help falling in love with it.

Barfi is all about three characters who form a love triangle – Barfi , Jhilmil and Sruti played by Ranbir , Priyanka and Ileana respectively. That Barfi is deaf and mute, Jhilmil is differently abled and Sruthi is married , does not affect the story arc and does not manipulate the audience into rooting for/against a particular character. Strip away the handicaps and what you have is a standard done to death love triangle and this is where Barfi as a movie succeeds. Anurag uses a very common story template , adds the above mentioned plot devices and includes spectacular moments to create a heady mix which appeals to one and all.

Often , when one has characters with disabilities or emotional burden , one tends to highlight their angst and plight so heavily that one ends up creating saint like two-dimensional characters. Anurag tosses this out of the window and ends up creating real , believable characters who do what they do , yet regret / resent doing it. In one of the first moments in the film , where one is Introduced to Shruti , one sees her room filled with photos of her and Barfi –  capturing what you assume as their life together.Much Much later into the film , at the fag-end , you end up realizing that the photos were not of hers and Barfi’s alone – they also include jhimil , who has been folded into invisibility by Shruti  – this despite the fact that but for Sruti , Barfi and Jhilmil would not have had a happy ending.

It is moments like these , that make you root for Anurag Basu the film maker , be it the moment where Jhilmil tries to check out if she’d look good in a Saree like Sruti which indicates her subtle jealousy or the tears in Sruti’s eyes accompanying her bright smile as Barfi marries Jhilmil indicating her heartbreak and happiness. These moments when they occur , makes you forgive the occasional dragging that happens and gives you additional insight into the characters , layer by layer. Jhilmil’s possesiveness  towards her man and her fear of Ileana is so subtly indicated as she comes forward , and forms a barrier of sorts with her hands . Much later  chronologically , she consoles a broken Sruti patting her arms lightly , letting the audience know that Jhilmil has accepted what has to happen whereas Sruti has not.

Yet for all the spectacular moments , brilliant acting  , soul-stirring music – rerecording included and captivating cinematography , Barfi is not without flaws. The movie drags at times and could have very well avoided the kidnap , robbery and mystery angle to the story.The ending , so notebookish also seems a tad contrived. But one forgives the flaws when one comes out of the theatre as what stays is Ranbir’s brilliant acting , Priyanka’s lovely outing as Jhilmil ( which is at Par with Sridevi’s act in Moondram Pirai) , the  lovely lovely Darjeeling brought to life by Ravivarman and the music which is undoubtably Pritam’s best till date.

Watch Barfi atleast once – for it is good cinema which appeals to a very wide palate. Watch it because , it brings a smile to your face , a smile which is due to the fact that the experience of watching this movie takes one back to a place where life is beautiful and real , despite the occasional brutality and unhappiness.

Barfi – A sweet treat , fit for a dessert

Barfi is a favorite dessert of folks at home . Its sweet , sweet and sweet making one go awww at the taste and the musical album sharing its name with the sweet , ends up the same way.

The Album begins with Ala Barfi. Mohit Chauhan Pwns the song which has a very interesting orchestral arrangement which takes one back to the late fifties / early sixties of the Hindi Music timeline. The song is very easy on the ears, the lyrics kinda giving an insight into the lead character of the movie, especially the second stanza. Swanand wins with his lyrics , with the mentions of Murphy Radio and Ceylon station. There’s also a second version of the song by Swanand with some changes in the arrangement . It’s quite good but Mohit is way ahead of Swanand when it comes to singing, however better the arrangement might be in Swanand’s version.

Pritam is no stranger to having multiple versions of the same song recorded and this album is no exception. However , both the versions of phir le aya dil are delightful, Rekha Bhardwaj and Arjit Singh nailing the brief to a ‘T’. Rekha’s version of the song does remind me of ‘Bahara’ at places , but that’s just due to the feel you get out of listening to the song.The orchestral work on Rekha’s version is also very light , with the gorgeous string sections acting as embellishments to a classic tune. Surprisingly Arijith’s version pips Rekha’s version for me. The tablas , the electric strings ( I think) in the background and his lovely voice scream melody. The piano and cello (I think) in the interludes are gorgeous.One of Arijith’s best songs by a mile , though his best is yet to come. On the flip side , I sense a faint resemblance to may be other songs , but  again that might just be me.

The next song is Main Kya Karoon , which is the most Pritamish song in the album.I haven’t heard Nikhil Paul George until now but he has a voice kinda similar to that of Ash King’s and has aced this song. To me this is one of the weak links of the album , not taking credit away from the arrangement and the lovely interludes.

Kyon is a winner from the starting string interlude . Papon gets behind the mike and bewitches one and all . At the risk of sounding repetitive the arrangement is kickass.The song reaches its zenith with the string interlude kicking in and the violins and cellos (I think) accompany Sunidhi into the second para. I also wonder if someone has messed up with the credits as Papon almost sounds like Mohit Chauhan and yes I wonder if I did hear an accordion somewhere. This one will be on a loop , until I find answers to this question and even if I don’t.

Aashiyan starts with a superb hook and queen Shreya starts off in magnificent form , singing itni si khushi. Nikhil Paul George accompanies her on this feel good number and once again Pritam has nailed the arrangements.It appears to one that aashiyan is all about the wishes of a couple to build their home  and to my limited knowledge , the lyrics convey that exactly.

Last comes Saawli Raat which is the best song of the Album. Arijhit sounds so different in this song , that you end up wondering  if it this was the same guy who sang phir le aya dil. Listen to this song on a dark night , standing by your balcony watching the trees dance and it will take you to heaven.The lyrics are splendid. Sample this “Saawli si raat ho , Khamoshi ka saath ho . Bin kahe bin sune , baat ho teri meri.” whimsical Stuff embellished by splendid string work , this is quite a lovesong cum lullaby and I’m completely in love with it.

So , to put it in a nutshell , Barfi is high on the melody quotient with splendid orchestral work. Pritam is spot on with his choice of singers and the lyrics are just beautiful.Pritam Da is back to form and How !!!!!!!!!