In the old times, simple and plain comedies like “Chupke Chupke”, “Golmaal” or “Angoor” bought a life in our laughs. In her second film, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari weaves a sweet and slice of (life) comedy. Javed Akhtar is the narrator here and he is fabulous. He proves as a boon to the setting, for a man narrating the story with the quirky, rusty yet simply local dialect and tone. At a crucial point, he says “Ab Bareilly Mein Jhumka Mat Dhoondo, Barfi Bhi Dhoondo” (Now don’t just search for earring in Bareilly but also the sweet milk-cake). And the director takes us through an entertaining and simple journey of Bitti, Chirag and Parag.
Bitti Mishra (Kriti Sanon) is the loving daughter of her parents, who works at the electricity board- she is a causal smoker, watches English movies and loves breakdance. Bitti’s free-spirited does not translate in finding a suitable groom and she resigns to being a misfit in this small-town – Bareilly. The complexities of getting married and feeling pressured, impulsive Bitty decides to run away from home. At the railway book stall, she stumbles upon a novel called ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’. Surprisingly the female protagonist of the novel reads exactly like her. Is there someone like her too in this closeted town or someone who really knows and understands her? Chirag (Ayushmann Khurana) is the original writer of the book who had written for his first love but afraid of revealing the truth with his name, he forges Pritam Virodhi’s (Rajkummar Rao) name as the writer.
Though the setting is quite familiar to “Tanu Weds Manu”(2011, 2015) and “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”(2017), while having many similar elements with the latter, what make the film stand out is quirky – honest writing and the phenomenal treatment. The writers Nitesh Tiwari and Shreyas Jain (also the writers of Aamir Khan’s Dangal, 2016) bring a life into the character of the three and the small town. The tickling dialogues filled with local dialect and metaphors of some kind bound you throughout. With well-written characters which are captured beautifully especially the nuances, there is some invisible breeze flowing throughout the film making you fall in love in its world. The secondary characters are also written with due respect especially Bitti’s Father, a loving and support father or for that instance, even a man in the boat who is playing the film quiz. It’s been there and seen that film, but the newness and the treatment didn’t make me feel so- with so many clichés playing: a girl, a boy, unrequited love, love triangle, tussle between the men, typical best friend- but many people in the audience including me choose to enjoy it. Kind of a tribute to the old comedies and typical clichés, may be.
Gavemic U Ary, the Cinematographer captures the exotic locales of the small town beautifully. While he manages to paint a colorful canvas, it is too simple unlike his last “Nil Battery Sannata” (2016). The editing gets choppy as few scenes are chopped quickly or the transitions and cuts interrupt the viewing. Though the songs interrupt the film’s narrative but they didn’t bother as the timings were odd and not calculated, “Bairaagi” and “Nazm Nazm” are soulful. The climax was quite expected but hell yeah, so what it should have been that way it did leave me satisfied. But such minor flaws, don’t affect the film majorly. The Screenplay has detailing and so does the Sound Design, we often hear the basic everyday routine ambient sounds like an old film playing, hawkers, mosque, etc. In a scene, Chirag gives Pritam advice to hear Altaf Raja; such scenes give a glimpse into the small towns stuck between its true self and the development. With the growing development, we also notice the language Chirag’s character speaks a mixture of shuddha Hindi, local dialect and English. Even the background score has a layer of mixture ranging from dubstep to the acoustic guitars to the local swag.
Kriti Sanon effectively carries the film on her shoulders though she is quite glamorous for the role but manages well. Ayushymann Khurana is charming and steals it, though he often looks low and also goes overboard. It was Rajkummar Rao who stole the show, have you seen him dancing on a typical Bollywood song? He does it here. With his versatility and innocence, he breathes freshly a different life when he is on screen. And so is Pankaj Tripathi, what a fabulous performance! Both are essentials of the film and rooted in their skills.
It’s a sweet film with commendable direction, phenomenal performances, brilliant writing (based on a novel “Ingredients of Love” by Nicholas Barreau) and engaging screenplay. These two hours were one rare “thoroughly enjoyed moment” in theater. And hey, I watched the film on a Wednesday evening with an almost packed show where the film had an audience appraisal. Go watch and savor it!
Release: 18 August, 2017
Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari
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