The premise of two men around a good looking woman is often titled as love triangle – when it comes to stories on big screen. To be honest, Bareilly Ki Barfi, directed by Ashwini Iyer Tiwari is far from that. It is just an endearing love story of Bitti and Chirag Dubey, played exceptionally well by Kriti Sanon and Ayushmann Khuranna.
After directing Nil Battey Sannata in the streets of Agra, Tiwari has very well explored the setups of Bareilly, capturing the right climate and complexion of this small town. There are films where you are hooked right on from the first frame – however, it took me about 15 minutes to settle in this one, taking the graph only much higher post that.
Bitti is a character we have seen in many other films. She is a small town girl, tom-boyish (as everyone thinks so), rebellious with a cigarette in hand and dance moves in her feet. She is not someone who’ll let go if a local launda shamelessly shouts out to her from a moving bike. Trust me, we have seen Bitti. However, I think nobody could have played her as good as Kriti Sanon. It’s her fourth Hindi film and it’s her best work on screen. She is extremely likeable and her presence on screen is extremely raw and real.
From the young lot of actors in the Hindi Film Industry today, I think Ayushmann is one of the best in business. The conviction with which he did Prem Prakash from Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Vicky from Vicky Donor, Abhimanyu from Meri Pyaari Bindu and now Chirag Dubey from Bareilly Ki Barfi – one is always left in the awe of the emotions he carries in his eyes. He is heartbroken, funny and kind – all at the same time.
Rajkummar Rao as Pritam Vidrohi was exceptional in both his roles – a nervous salesman who wraps sarees around his body and a local desi goon – who likes to dress up of course. It was nice to see him do something different in the latter character that he took up. Pankaj Tripathi and Seema Pahwa have never lowered their game and they never will. They get as important as the leads and they do it really well. Personally, I think Pankaj Tripathi is one of best actors in our industry today – look at him in Gurgaon and Bareilly Ki Barfi – and you’ll get to know of the graph he can pull.
A very, very special mention to Rohit Chaudhary for his exceptionally well done Munna – who was merely not just Ayushamann’s sidekick but brought layers and nuances to his role.
Comic timing of all the above said actors is to watch out for and is one of the biggest victories of the film. You are mostly laughing, trying to share that moment with someone who is sitting with because you relate to so many things that they say. The film is so well written – that no dots went unmatched. Background score just sets the mood, accompanied very well by some addictive tracks with Nazm Nazm being my personal favorite, composed by Arko Pravo Mukherjee. A special mention to costume department, styling Ayushmann Khuranna – he looks like a dream in some frames.
Coming down to my favorite bit of the film – it’s direction. The narrative was so unique that I was hooked on to it. I was disappointed when the film went into the interval – because that was the only time my attention was broken. In the first 15 odd minutes – I was scared that they’ll get into Bitti’s dancing passion and unfold it but I loved how that was just left aside as her characteristic and was not touched within the story.
The second half, to be honest, is predictable, but not for once did I try to get into predicting because I was enjoying what was happening – and that is where a film really succeeds. To be doing what one may think can be done, but not giving a chance to think about it.
Definitely, one of the best films to come out this year. It may not stay with you for long – emotionally but you are definitely watching it over and over on TV, even years later.
Bareilly Waale Jhumke se Bareilly Ki Barfi.
Iresh Gupta works as an Assistant Director in the Indian Film Industry.