Barfi! – a review

The magic of cinema is so overwhelming that it captures all of us in a trance and deposits us into a world of utter incongruity and we say nothing. We never protest. And after a point, we even start believing that this ridiculous world is real. Barfi takes us into one such world. Here, train tracks run through markets, lamp posts are pillars of friendships, advertisements just inform, people are simple, and even the big city is noise-less despite its trams and a larger-than-life bridge. Such a world does not exist. It is not real. Yet we believe in it as we see it through the antics of the protagonist, Barfi. The fun of the first ‘chase sequence’ is a laugh that few recent Hindi films have managed to gift the audience. The hues of yellow and blue are ephemeral add-ons to the surroundings, and indeed moods. The film is so much fun and ‘feel good’ (as TOI reviewer puts it) that it almost becomes what it set out to, a masterpiece. But good things come to an end, certainly so in the context of Hindi cinema.
After a brief passage of interesting transitions from one period to another, the film loses its own track. The narrative is not the problem here; it is fairly easy to comprehend despite the frequent shifts. It’s the plot that lets the film down. The magical world created so adeptly and skilfully is shattered as soon as logic seeps in. There is no need to be too informative. When the film tries to answer hows and whys, it really becomes cumbersome. A film that started off by trying to explore the simpler side of humanity is forced to finish somewhat like a whodunit. How? Why?

The Hindi film audience is seen as one which does not really get a film until everything is laid bare in as many frames as it takes. But is it really necessary to get a film, more so a film like Barfi which is meant to be all about the feel of it rather than the plausibility? And to top it all, the dilemma of continuing with the humour amid all the tense situations that arise due to logic, overkills the Chaplin/Keaton act (The word ‘plagiariasm’ is being thrown around in social circles).

The master of suspense, Mr. Hitchcock, famously said, “Logic is dull”. Well, if it is dull for suspense then it surely is dull for a ‘feel good’.

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2 thoughts on “Barfi! – a review

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  1. But you know what, anurag basu is sorted of vindicated. I mean like you said , Indian audiences like things on a platter, he did that and people are going gaga over the film. Sad but true.

  2. This is exactly when a story becomes an advertisement!! Sad, true, good or bad – people with power can’t help but advertise in the adverse times. Beyond good and evil lies the truth that still remains hidden under the shadow of icons for the power to prosper. It make me feel how shabbily superficial things, even the simplest of them, can get if one lacks a belief. So we buy superficially sweet things to escape into a chashni of lies that just attract flies. Logic has lost its sexuality and organic nature to these visualizations that are nothing but terrorist attacks targeting the deepest layers of our senses to derive sensationalist pleasures and box-office cash. It’s nothing but pissing off. I feel deaf, dumb and paralysed seeing this laugh ride on humanity itself. But, don’t worry be barfi and die of diabetes.

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