Barfi! – A movie with multiple personality disorder

In Movie Reviews on October 10, 2012 at 3:09 am

Barfi! is a mixed-genre movie. To name a few of the genres this movie mixes: Romance, Comedy, Fantasy, Musical, Reality and Thriller.

To add a touch of realism, the cute-as-hell, deaf-mute-autistic protagonists go through extended feelings of puppy-love, steeping like tea bags in a saccharine sweetened cup of music. Wait, that’s not realistic enough?

Why go for the mixed-genre?

It is believed that the audience is bored to tears with the constant churning of Bollywood masala and is massively attracted to formula-breaking genres. Thus, mixing primary genres, creates a bold new genre in this endless palate of creativity.

What’s wrong in mixing genres?

The storyline, the character development, the revelations and other structural features of storytelling get diluted when genres are mixed.

1. As in this case, the massive editing, shuffling and flashbacks that a thriller genre requires comes in the way of a simplistic lineal romance genre film.

2. The comical escapades come in the way of serious reality and portrayal of say, autism

3. The loopy and thickly layered blob of accordion music continuously shatters the world of deaf-mute protagonist and hence there is absolutely no concept of *his* Point of View.

4. The protagonist keeps excellent timing for all the song & dance numbers, defying the deaf-mute role given him, thus shattering the reality genre and switching into either comical farce or pure fantasy.

5. It is difficult to splice reality and fantasy together if you truly want to highlight the rigid firewall separation between the two and underscore the *futility* of that fantasy. If that’s not your intent, then it becomes a reality-fantasy farce. Barfi! borderlines on this genre where the message of reality is much less important than the fantasy you escape into.

6. The cameraman does a fantastic job of capturing a misty Darjeeling from an era gone by. It’s a fantasy we escape into very comfortably. Where the toy train stops for accidental pedestrians and does not kill jay walkers. Where the comical hero never gets injured no matter how many resounding metallic lamp-post head-knocks he has had.

There are two fundamental Indian tests that the movie successfully clears: ‘time pass’ and ‘paisa vasool’, for which undeniably, the movie is a must-watch. I could clearly watch my steps on my way out of the dark theater, simply lit by the audience after-glow!

This is possibly the only critical movie review you will read, as it is against national pride to critisize movies that have been selected as representations of Bollywood creativity for an Oscar!


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