By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | August 18, 2017
Rating: 4 / 5
The essence: The story is ordinary, but treatment extraordinary. It’s a love story which looks simple at first but gets complicated later. The entire mood of the film is celebratory: It’s celebrates a father’s relationship with his daughter; a daughter’s desire to be what she wants to be; a forlorn lover’s delight when he chances upon a new love. It also celebrates the reluctant ‘writer’s’ need to celebrate life!
This one is Kool & The Gang. Ensconced in Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh) the foursome rip out a riot of emotions on screen. Intermittently, I find myself breaking out into laughter at the stark emotions expressed with ordinary charm. At every turn, there is a surprise in store which is simple, everyday life happenings captured with the minimum of fuss and executed brilliantly by the artistes on screen.
Every character adds a layer to the script which at the core is a simple love story. But complications creep in with the hero not wanting to reveal his identity to the girl who has fallen in love with a nondescript book that has found its first reluctant buyer, five years after it has been published!
Bareilly Ki Barfi is a book Bitti Mishra (Kriti Sanon) buys at the railway book stall one night as she has plans to run away from home. The sleepy stall owner gives her a heavy discount on the book and pushes it into her hand.
Bitti is amazed at the similarity of the character in the book and wonders how the writer could have known her so well. Truth is, the writer, Chirag Dubey (Ayushmann Khurana), has been dumped by Babli, the girl he loved and he pours his heart out into this book, while Babli’s photograph finds a space into his wallet. Not wanting his name as the author (for obvious reasons) Chirag and his friend Munna (Rohit Chaudhary) bulldoze Pritam Vidrohi (Rajkummar Rao) another friend, to pose as the writer and give his name to the book.
Needless to say, Bitti returns to the bookstall owner in search of the author. He takes her to Chirag (a printing press owner) who in turn helps her meet Vidrohi, but not before explaining to Vidrohi that he has to break Bitti’s heart so that he (Chirag) can marry her.
What Chirag feared most opens up before his very eyes as he sees Bitti and Vidrohi getting on like a house on fire. The Babli chapter seems to be replaying itself again. Good for Chirag, because he has been looking for a Babli in every other girl ever since she broke his heart!
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwary has a firm grip on this beauty of a script, written by Nitesh Tiwari and Shreyas Jain, detailing the characters as they make their presence on the screen and into your heart.
Pankaj Tripathi and Seema Pahwa who play Bitti’s parents are adorable. The mother is on the lookout for a boy for her firebrand girl while the father shares a special bond with her. Every single boy she meets is asked the question, “Are you married?”
Kriti Sanon has finally found a script worthy of her talent and she embodies Bitti without so much of an effort! There’s grace in every scene and no anxiety even when she has to perform in a crowd. Supremely confident, she marches from one scene to the other to steal the heart of Vidrohi whilst Chirag suffers a heart-break!
Rajkummar Rao is a riot. From mumbling to unsure to putting on an act of a bhai all within a space of a few seconds… he is a study in emotions second only to Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Ayushmann Khurana too dishes out his part well but he has to guard from too much familiarity in his body language which is a repeat of his previous films. He needs to start anew with every film, with every character. Rohit Chaudhary as Munna is effective and makes his presence felt powerfully.
The story is ordinary, but the treatment extraordinary. It’s a love story which looks simple at first but gets complicated later as Bitti loves the ‘author’ and the author makes matters worse for him by not revealing his identity.
The entire mood of the film is celebratory: It’s celebrates a father’s relationship with his daughter; a daughter’s desire to be what she wants to be; a forlorn lover’s delight when he chances upon a new love. It also celebrates the reluctant ‘writer’s’ need to celebrate life.
Bareilly Ki Barfi is one of those sweet films that you don’t mind taking a double helping of!
Producer: Vineet Jain, Renu Ravi Chopra
Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari
Star Cast: Kriti Sanon, Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Seema Pahwa