Bareilly Ki Barfi movie review: A spicy Rajkummar Rao balances Ayushmann’s sweetness
Bareilly Ki Barfi
Cast: Kriti Sanon, Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkummar Rao
Director: Ashwini Iyer Tiwari
When Chirag Dubey (Ayushmann Khurrana) tells Pritam Vidrohi (Rajkummar Rao), “Thukraaye huye aashiq ki kabhi haay mat lena (Never hurt a jilted lover),” he seems emotionally drained in a love story that has two guys competing to look more masculine in front of a heroine whose character flaw, as per the society, is that she acts like boys. Two, out of the three, will be able to take their love to a logical conclusion, in this case marriage, and the third will excuse himself to more important matters like crying in a corner or delivering a long, heart-felt monologue in the end.
Watch: Our Facebook Live discussion on Bareilly Ki Barfi
Bitti Mishra (Kriti Sanon) is a sharp tongued, mostly agitated Bareilly girl whose break dance is some sort of an event at local weddings. Fed up with the society and her nagging mother after a few rejections in the marriage market, she runs away from home only to find a novel that has a central character similar to her. In the pursuit to meet the writer of the novel, Bitti meets two guys who start wooing her.
This love triangle soon includes more dimensions like her family, friends and families of guys and above everything, a desire to show the small town milieu in a loving way.
Such directorial decisions give a mild-mannered Pankaj Tripathi, Bitti’s sweet shop proprietor father, a chance to mumble hilarious one-liners. He keeps talking to a mostly-still ceiling fan thanks to Bareilly’s regular power cuts. Consider his reaction on his wife’s hyper ventilation, “Thyroid me mood swing hota hai, isiliye kich kich karti hai, (She blabbers because of her thyroid issues).” Or when he is rid of a stiff neck, “Sushila se sandaas tak sab dikh raha hai (From Sushila to toilet, I can see everything).”
His school teacher wife Sushila, played by Seema Pahwa who has become the first choice for such roles, knows her priorities and the top among them is getting Bitti married. She is blatant enough to tell her guest, “Toh chai kyun banwaye, dudh 52 rupaye kilo ho gaya hai, (Why did you ask for tea if you didn’t want it? Don’t you know a litre of milk costs Rs 52?).”
Now when most of the primary characters look comfortable with the language and accent, the focus shifts back to the three leads. As a result, Kriti Sanon also mouths dialogues like, “Tum kaahe liliya rahi ho (Why are you anxious?).” It’s interesting to see Kriti Sanon shed her urban image and try something out of her comfort zone. She carries the weight of the story on her shoulders initially as a bubbly, straightforward girl, but Bareilly Ki Barfi becomes really interesting after a terrific Rajkummar Rao enters the frame.
Here’s a guy who has been bullied by Ayushmann’s character to act like a ‘rangbaaz’, slang for street-smart people with a leaning for drama. In reality, he is a soft-spoken salesman everyone scolds. But his transformation will leave you in splits. Rajkummar and Ayushmann make up for the predictability of the story.
Another problem rears its head once actors are settled in their roles. By now, all these characters have revealed themselves to us, so there’s nothing more to explore other than waiting for the resolution. Most of the tactics used by the director fail to distract the audience from anticipating the climax, and when it starts we all know how it can end.
Despite this, Bareilly Ki Barfi is sweet and delightful. Its hilarious one-liners like, “Ye toh aastin ka anaconda nikla” and “Ye Bitti raat bhar kahan ghumti rehti hai, ladki hai koi chudail thode na hai,” totally work. This light-hearted comedy refrains from being slapstick and slowly weaves its charm. Worth a watch.
Interact with Rohit Vats at Twitter/@nawabjha