The moment one hears the word "barfi" in India, images of the humble yet mouthwatering sweet is what comes to mind. There may be variations in color and taste but it is the square/diamond shaped sweet nonetheless. There is a new addition to the long list of "barfis" but this time its not a sweet but a movie(sweet and simple one at that). Last weekend I watched my first Bollywood movie in the theaters of US of A with my hubby S. By then "BARFI!" had already been nominated as India's official entry for the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category. I had decided to watch the movie without allowing any hype to cloud my opinion.
Ranbir's role as the guy condemned to silence (deaf and mute by birth) but one who always manages to perk things up for anyone whom he chances upon is very likable. The best part is the gusto with which he lives each moment, it is infectious and something I liked to bring back home with me.
Ileana does justice to her role as the initially confused and finally determined lady who breaks the shackles she bound herself in. She has brought out the emotional dilemma of her character(Shruti Ghosh/Mrs Sengupta) quite well. Priyanka as the autistic girl (Jhilmil )who is only hoping that people understand her and not mock her unfortunately doesn't quite measure up to the character. She does go a little over the top at times to emphasize her medical condition and this takes away some of the sparkle from the movie.
All the other supporting characters namely the police inspector, Barfi's dad, his childhood friend, the founder-caretaker of "Muskaan" have been sketched out well. The cameraman captures the scenery of Darjeeling and the chaos of Kolkata well. The songs seem to blend well into the movie and the tunes are non-intrusive and hummable.
The attitude of society towards autism largely due to ignorance of the people is highlighted. It would have been better if the filmmakers had also used this opportunity to create awareness regarding the kind of care and facilities that would make the world a better place for such people. The special care center does provide a glimpse of it. There are quite a few scenes in the movie which remind you of the "origin of their inspiration" but overall it is a sweet movie that does touch the tear-glands a bit but the one that really tickles your funny bone and makes you feel good about life, teaching you to enjoy the simple pleasures that are strewn all along the path of life :-).