By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Bareilly ki Barfi”; Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari; Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Kriti Sanon, Rajkummar Rao, Seema Pahwa, Pankaj Tripathi, Rating: ***1/2
“Bareilly ki Barfi” is a sweet and delectable romance which begins on a predictable and somewhat placid note, but takes on an interesting hue owing to the sudden twist the tale embarks upon and turning into a love triangle.
Bitti Mishra (Kriti) is the only child of her parents Narottam Mishra (Pankaj) and Sushila Mishra (Seema). The apple of her father’s eye, she is the quintessential tomboy, who works in the electricity department, smokes, drinks, does break dance, stays out late and watches English films all of which her mother disapproves of.
Being rejected by boys who come to see her for marriage, becomes her pet peeve as that causes her mother anguish. Dejected, Bitti sets out to leave home.
By happenstance, she picks up a book, ‘Bareilly ki Barfi’, from the book stall at the station, which changes her life. She returns home and begins her search for the author, Pritam Vidrohi, as she feels the protagonist in his novel is her carbon copy and he is thus someone who would understand her.
How she uses Chirag Dubey (Ayushmann Khurrana), the publisher of the book, in her quest, forms the crux of this two hour film.
The characters and their lives are introduced to the audience through a narrative by Javed Akhtar in the beginning of the film. The characters are well-etched and developed thoughtfully with consistency.
Nitesh Tiwari’s sharp writing laced with humour encapsulates the simplicity and warmth of a small town, which is evident in each scene through his characters.
Director Ashwini Iyer Tiwari keeps the characters and their milieu real. It is the ace writing coupled with the strong performances that elevate the viewing experience further.
Rajkumar as Pritam Vidrohi is spectacular as he is every inch the small town, timid, boy who leads a basic life. He slips into the aggressive gunda avatar with equal ease and aplomb, altering his body language and mannerisms perfectly. He steals the thunder from every other actor in the film and is immensely endearing.
Ayushmann delivers with sincerity and the metamorphosis of a heart-broken boy to a boy madly in love and finally a guy who has lost his love is palpable and praiseworthy. Yet, he pales in comparison to Rajkummar.
Kriti portrays Bitti with confidence and honesty. She is charming and holds her own although she is pitted against two good male actors.
Seema Pahwa as the gregarious mother, desperate to get Bitti married, if only to comply with societal norms, is a treat to watch. Pankaj Tripathi, renders an equally stellar performance as her subservient husband, who supports his daughter, but maintains a silence to keep the peace in the house prevailing, venting out his feelings to the ceiling fan at night.
Rohit Chaudhary who plays Munna, Chirag’s devoted lackey is a competent actor as well and shines.
The film is well-mounted and is true to its setting. The music is melodious and “Sweety tera drama” is well-picturised and energetic.
The screenplay and dialogues are what take this film to another level. Else, the basic tale is fairly ordinary and cliched. The actors do justice and deliver, mouthing the well-written lines with conviction and panache, enhancing their characters all the way.
Overall, “Barielly ki Barfi” is a tasty sweet treat to rev up your weekend.