BAREILLY KI BARFI
It is refreshing to see a new breed of creative personalities who have migrated from the Indian ad world and are making their mark in Bollywood. Their work is a clever blend of the arty and the filmy considerations dictated by commercial cinema and delivered without any compromises on the creative front. And the delight gets doubled when we have a husband-wife team with similar backgrounds and foraying into the world of commercial cinema. First we had the TamBrahm R Balki (CHEENI KUM, PAA) and his wife Gauri Shinde (ENGLISH VINGLISH, DEAR ZINDAGI) and then we had Nitesh Tiwari (DANGAL) and his TamBrahm wife Ashwini Iyer (NIL BATTEY SANNATA, now renamed as THE NEW CLASSMATE). Both Gauri Shinde and Ashwini Iyer had won the Best Debut Director FilmFare awards and the latter had won it for her 2016 effort NIL BATTEY SANNATA which was critically very well acclaimed.
BAREILLY KI BARFI is directed by Ashwini Iyer and written by her husband Nitesh Tiwari. Based loosely on the 2015 novel THE INGREDIENTS OF LOVE written by Nicolas Barreau, this Barfi remains fresh from the beginning till the end. And unlike the recent crop of Bollywood comedies, which begin well in the first half, but become trite in the second half, the husband-wife efforts in BAREILLY KI BARFI keep the proceedings sweet till the end. The small town cameos and culture are captured well, and the performances come across as very life-like.
While one has come to expect superlative performance from Rajkummar Rao (TRAPPED, QUEEN, ALIGARH, KAI PO CHE to name a few), Ayushmann Khurana (after sterling performances in VICKY DONOR and DUM LAGAKE HAISA amongst a string of also-rans) comes back to deliver excellently. But the surprise in BKB is Kriti Sanon, who fits her role so very well that I could think of only another actress who could have done the role just as well, Kangna Ranaut. And the supporting cast of Pankaj Tripathi and Seema Pahwa collude comically to create the small town atmosphere.
The end product that the audience is served is not the cloying Gulab Jamun or the dripping Jalebi, but the relatively bland Barfi. Unlike the Gulab Jamun, which comes in various shapes and sizes, and quite unlike the Jalebi, whose contours are irregular and perhaps intricate, the Barfi is a fairly standardized offering. BAREILLY KI BARFI has no surprises, no unpredictable twists and turns and no over-the-hill melodramatics. It should be taken just as a simple feel good dessert. But because, I felt it was refreshingly different from the current crop of offerings, I am giving it a very favourable rating!
RATING: 4 out of 5
August 18, 2017