Film: Bareilly Ki Barfi
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkummar Rao, Kriti Sanon, Pankaj Tripathi, Seema Bhargava Pahwa
Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s sophomore effort basically mines the hit musical romantic triangular drama Saajan, directed by Lawrence D’Souza and starring Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit, and Salman Khan- though she credits her effort as officially inspired by a French novel, Ingredients of Love. So, there’s nothing new to showcase here other than the subtly mannered treatment.
We’ve seen far too many triangular love stories to be enchanted by that old hat ploy but the thing that distinguishes Iyer Tiwari’s film from the past is the persuasive small-town sensibility, the rustic lure of the vibrant folksy music and the relatively non-glam casting of the main male leads. Of course, Kriti Sanon, though competent does seem like a misfit in a small town where her professionally cosmetised looks stand out like a sore thumb.
She plays Bitty, a misfit tomboy in small-town Bareilly- who drinks, smokes, roams the streets at night and just about does everything that takes her fancy. Her Mithaiwala Dad (Pankaj Tripathi) is supportive but her eager-to-see-her-wed Mom (Seema Bhargava Pahwa) is not amused. It’s not a pattern of behaviour that is immediately believable mainly because the parents are way too liberal in the encouragement of it. And it’s certainly not progressive by any yardstick.
Bitty chances upon a novelette titled ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ in which the central character is based on her life. All the personality traits are a match so she wants to find the author. Of course, like in ‘Saajan’ the author credited for the work Pritam Vidrohi (Rajkummar Rao) is not the real deal. The justification for that turn of events is also quite inadequate. The real author Chirag Dubey (Ayushmann Khurrana) could well have used a pseudonym instead. So, it’s obvious that contrivances have been employed to create enough drama to justify this production of an oft-repeated story.
So, whatever happens after that feels forced and doesn’t seem in the least bit organic.
It’s the energy displayed by both Rajkummar Rao and Ayushmann Khurrana that keeps this eventual quadrangular love story afloat for its 135-min runtime. The characterizationsns are weak and shifty and the logic doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny. The music is vibrant and entertaining and the colourful camerawork allows for some much-needed kinesis to creep in. Iyer Tiwari may not have hit the highs she displayed in her debut work Nil Battey Sannata but she certainly shows us that she has the craft to keep us entertained even if the subject matter is pretty much passé.