Bollywood Film Review “Bareilly Ki Barfi”



First, the Recap:

Be yourself. We’re told this countless times in life, yet how often might we feel the need to try and assume the nature of another in order to potentially win the notice of someone? But, is it ever truly worth the potential costs to perpetrate a lie? It is the small town of Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, and in it lives a small town girl named Bitti (Kriti Sanon). Happy to live her existence on her own terms, especially when it comes to the concept of marriage, she artfully and frustratingly dodges the attempts of her father Narottam (Pankaj Tripathi) and mother Shenali (Seema Bhargava Pahwa) to get her set up with a suitable husband-to-be, much to their consternation as well.

However, when a freak occurrence at a local train station connects her with a book whose main character she directly relates to almost description to description, she sets her mind to seek out and meet the author. In doing so, she meets local printing press worker Chirag (Ayushmann Khurrana) who immediately falls for her.  Yet, due to the circumstances of him being the book’s actual author instead of the one credited, Pritam Vidrohi, Chirag hatches a clever scheme involving his wimpy and exiled friend (Rajkummar Rao) to take on the identity of Vidrohi instead. However, what seemed like an astute charade soon begins to severely backfire, threatening to make Chirag lose Bitti forever. Will he be in time to fix the falsehood?

Next, my Mind:

Not sure what it will take to stop the Bollywood romcom train from rolling on, but this reviewer never wants to see it occur, and this film certainly didn’t even come close to slowing it down! Thanks to some wonderful direction by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, this totally engaging feature effort about love, lies, and facing the ramifications of your choices once again showcases some of the best traits Bollywood has to offer in their chosen art via impactful songs and dance sequences, affecting drama, playful humor, and top level acting rounding out the package. The characters here are completely wonderful and believable, the pacing is perfected, which kept the runtime at a brisk (by Bollywood standards) 116-minutes, and even when you’re pretty assured of how you think it will all end by the finale, it leaves you with enough sense of doubt to capture your heart once it’s fully revealed. Plus, I love the fact there really is a solid and quality moral to the story so you end up taking something away with you beyond just the sheer entertainment of it.

Sanon is the total belle of the ball here as Bitti, a nice, normal girl from a humble home that really just wants to roll with life as it comes along, not really worried about the conventions of society or the wishes of her parents that she get married now, now, now. However, watching her navigate the complexity of finding her true love through the tangled web she’s unknowingly ensnared in by Chirag is very stirring, because she’s finally letting her guard down and realizing what love can be for her. Sanon’s insane beauty just radiates here and it’s one of those “I dare you not to fall for her” to the viewer as well as Chirag. Khurrana also excels in his performance as Chirag, also just a normal everyman who took a stab at creating something he believed would sell and ended up faltering. But, once we’ve understood the backstory behind his book’s inspiration, we can totally see why he falls for Bitti so quickly. Yet, with the dilemma he’s found himself in, he chooses a lie rather than being up front with her, trying to make the situation manifest to his desire, to his detriment. Khurrana exudes a natural charm and charisma that works well for the romcom-style leading man. Bollywood’s answer to Matthew McConaughey perhaps?

Rao, however, is a scenery-chewing (and stealing) shining star here in playing the character of Chirag’s friend/Pritam Vidrohi, having to literally switch personas from his usual, uber nice guy/weakling into the ultra self-assured tough guy/author of the book, sometimes on a moment’s notice and do it convincingly, creates huge amounts of hilarity throughout the screen time the character’s given. It’s an acting masterclass on so many levels, and Rao’s comedic timing and delivery is spot on, a further tribute to the actor’s skill. Supporting turns are solid as well, from Pahwa and Tripathi as Bitti’s overly involved parents, along with Rohit Choudhary as Chirag’s friend Munna and Swati Semwal as Bitti’s best friend Rama. In total, “Bareilly Ki Barfi” is yet another triumph for the Bollywood romcom machine in the best possible ways, light and airy in its execution, but with enough heartfelt drama to bring at least one tear (of joy) to the eye.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!

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