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Bareilly Ki Barfi Movie Review: This Barfi Is Yummy To The Last Morsel!

Bareilly Ki Barfi,

Bareilly Ki Barfi

Starring: Ayushmann Khurana, Rajkummar Rao, Kriti Sanon

Directed by: Ashiwini  Iyer Tiwari

Rating: ****(4 stars)

Movie Review: Early in the plot, we are told that the film’s heroine Bitti is no SatiSavitri.Thank God for smalltown mercies!  In fact she adheres to another  kind of stereotyping that Hindi cinema has  lately embraced.  You know, the smalltown girl who is hip and happy, sassy and sexy, rides  two-wheelers and  smokes whenever  she can get her hands on a cancer stick, and when a prospective groom asks her if she is a virginBitti retorts, “No I am not… are you?”

Ah, long live the virgin bride.

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Bitti is from the same feisty school of small-town rebellion as Kareena Kapoor in Jab We Met, Kangana Ranaut in Tanu Weds Manuand Alia Bhatt in Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya. In fact what Bitti thinks  to be streaks of rebellion(breakdancing, watching angrezi films, etc etc) is nothing but a sign of decadent feminism.

And the director  Ashwini Iyer Tiwari knows it.She lets  Bittu fly free .Even  if it’s just a flight of limited coverage , it is still worth that soar towards the sky.

Before Bareilly Ki Barfi ends Bittu, played with endearing vivacity byKriti Sanon, must choose her life partner. It’s a toss-up betweenChirag , the nakedly selfish  foxy suitor who  can’t bring himself  to say those three magical words to Bittu(no, not ‘What the fuck’)  in spite of his overweening brashness,and  Pritam Vidrohi  the  timid kind compassionate loser who sells sarees to bored housewives and lives his life on the crushed dreams of his existence like  a daredevil walking on glass.

That Chirag and Pritam are  played by Ayushmann Khurrana andRajkummar Rao is  an exceptionally happy circumstance for the film. Akin to Farouq Sheikh and Naseruddin Shah playing Deepti Naval’s suitors  in  Katha. A seemingly routine romantic  triangle which has its antecedents in Sai Paranjpye’s Katha and Basu Chatterjee’s ChitChor and even the Sanjay Dutt-Salman Khan-Madhuri Dixit potboilerSaajan,  is transformed into  a magical  journey into smalltown whims and habits and romantic quirks in the bylanes  of Bareilly.

Director Ashini Iyer Tiwari who earlier directed that endearing  film on female literacy Nil Battey Sannata carves a charming tale of  a fey self-declared wild child and her two suitors. It is a film strewn  with splendid moments framed  in  vistas of unrehearsed  bustle  by  cinematographer Gavemic U Ary who shoots the characters , major or minor with equipoise and empathy.

Iyer’s storytelling is simple  and brimming with uncluttered emotions.  She doesn’t try to impress us with her knowledge of human feelings and failings. Instead she  allows the three main characters to lay down their own feelings which they put down  piece by  piece exposing more of their personality than  they would want  us to  know .

The writing and the dialogues sparkle with warmth  and sunshine. Though the narrative pace slackens considerably after a point, we  never lose interest in  this oft-told tale that acquires an all new vigour through the terrific dialogues and performances.

While Rajkumar Rao’s double-identity heroics  bring the house down,Ayushmann has the tougher role as he emerges a slimy opportunist  most of the time until he undergoes an  abrupt and unconvincinghriday parivartan. Kriti is spunky and in-character even in the scenes where she  is not the centre of attraction. And Pankaj Tiwary andSeema Pahwa are absolutely delightful  as her parents.

There is a sequence where Tripathy, a diehard supporter of his daughter’s dumbed-down rebel act, laments that parents spend half their lives craving to see their daughters get married and then dread their going away. The sequence threatens  to grow emotional. But is quickly taken off the tearful radar.

That  is the spirit in which this film moves. The director allows us to  invest our feelings into the characters without demanding an emotional attachment  from us.

Yes, there are  potholes in the romantic journey. But at the  end  you will come away with a smile as Bitti walks into the sunset(in  a manner of speaking) with….

Ah now that is  the question.

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