Movie Review: Kriti, Rajkumar Rao wow in Bareilly Ki Barfi

Last Modified Friday, 18 August 2017 (11:32 IST)
Mumbai: The small town seems to be the flavour of Bollywood. Hindi films have come a long way from days of the elegant Romance between the 'strait jacketed' hero and coy and well mannered heroine in a metropolis or in the Swiss Alps as reflected in films like 'Chandni', 'Kabhi Kabhie' and 'Dilwale Dulhanian Le Jayenge'. In sharp contrast are characters of films released in recent years like 'Tanu weds Manu', 'Shuddh Desi Romance', 'Fukrey', 'Behen Hogi Teri' and 'Badrinath Ki Dulhanian' which are seen to display an increasing realism in their behaviour and candour in their expressions of love. Ashwini Iyer Tewari's 'Bareilly Ki Barfi ' in another triangular love story between Bitti, Chirag and Pritam, residing in the small town of Bareilly. 'Bareilly Ki Barfi 'is the story of Bitti Mishra (Kriti Sanon), the daughter of Mishra family residing in Bareilly.

A bohemian girl, Bitti Mishra works at the electricity board, is a casual smoker, watches English movies and loves break dance. Her parents have brought her up like a boy, which explains her free spiritedness. However, for all her bohemian nature, she is unable to find a suitable groom. Having resigned herself to being a misfit in this small-town, Bitty decides to run away from home. At the railway book stall, she stumbles upon a novel called 'Bareilly Ki Barfi' , the female protagonist of which reads exactly like her.

The book that she grabs is ghost written by Chirag Dubey (Ayushmann Khurrana) who had written a book in memory of his unrequited love Babli. However, Bitti finds the character of Babli a carbon copy of herself and approaches the publisher of the book to get in touch with the author. The publisher turns out to be Khurrana who gets smitten by Bitti as he sees shades of Babli in her.

The hurdle, however, is the picture of the author on the book, which is that of Pritam (Rajkummar Rao), a friend of Chirag who he had convinced to masquerade as the author in order to hide his love for Babli, as she's now happily married. While Chirag serves as the postman of Bitti and delivers her letters to the author, he realises that Bitti has actually fallen for the author, and not the publisher. Chirag has convinced Pritam to do him a favour yet again and sets up his meeting with Bitti. But he trains Pritam to project himself as an embodiment of everything that Bitti hates -- all her misogynistic prospective grooms rolled into one. The film is about the love triangle between Bitti, Chirag and Pritam.
 
A slice-of-life romance in the backdrop of a small town, 'Bareilly Ki Barfi ' bowls you over with its refreshing candour and its 'matter of fact' feel that comes across from the interactions between its characters. Bitti, who indulges in smoking and breaks into a 'break dance' at the drop of a hat, is unlike any of the women characters one has come across in mainstream Bollywood. In this context, it seems an extension of the female protagonists in films like 'Tanu weds Manu' and Shuddh Desi Romance'. The screenplay and dialogues by Nitesh Tewari (of Dangal' fame) bring across the flavour of the small town Bareilly.

He has also etched out the characters of Bitti, Chirag and Pritam brilliantly, lending a life like feel to them, which adds to the vibrancy of the film. Like his earlier film 'Dangal', he manages to impart an 'earthy' feel to 'Bareilly Ki Barfi ', which will make the audience identify with lives of the three protagonists. After 'Nil Battey Sannata', Ashwini Iyer Tewari again manages to draw us into the charm and the vibrancy of small town life. There is a refreshing honesty about the characters of the film, which makes one identify with their lives. She also manages to extract brilliant performances from the cast. As the bohemian girl next door Bitti, is effortlessly entertaining.
 
Her transformation from the stylish diva of films 'Dilwale' to the bohemian Bitti is amazing. She brings to life the character of Bitti, which is thanks also to the excellent script. It is easily one of the best performances of her career so far. As Chirag, who writes the book 'Bareilly Ki Barfi ' out of his unrequited love for Babli and who tries hard to ensure that Bitti does not fall for his friend Pritam, comes across as cute and endearing. The surprise of the film is, however, Rajkummar Rao as Pritam.

He comes up with another ace performance both as the reserved Pritam as well as his 'loud mouthed' avatar in which Chirag asks him to meet Bitti. Another award worthy act from the actor after 'Aligarh', 'city lights ' and 'Trapped'. Among other actors, Pankaj Tripathi and Seema Pahwa impress as parents of Bitti. They add humor to the proceedings. Another highlight of the film is its music. 'Bareilly Ki Barfi ' is an excellent Romcom, which wows you with its refreshing screenplay that brings across the vibrant hues of small town life, and its outstanding performances. Rating: 3.5/5: one for screenplay and dialogues, one for direction, one for the performances by the cast and 0.5 for music. (UNI)
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