Directed by Ashwini Iyer Tiwari and starring Kriti Sanon, Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, and Seema Bhargava, Bareilly Ki Barfi is definitely a fun watch, worthy of at least one view if you are a fan of Indian romantic comedies (rom coms) that are placed in the context of a small town with all its unique appeal, charm, and quirks. As a film it clicks all the right boxes. You have the peppy girl whose parents have the usual quirks that you might find in people from this part of the world. There are a couple of boys, each of whom is shown to be good enough to win the girl. Last but not the least, we have some fantastic one liners as well as dialogues.
The problem with one liners
The problem with one liners is that at times you create entire scenes just so that you can accommodate them. This can come as forced and risk disappointing the audiences and as a film Bareilly Ki Barfi runs that risk as well. At times, the momentum tends to fall flat because of this. This is why also at times it might seem to you that the film may be stretching just that little bit extra.
Acting chops on show
The fact that the film does not look forced is largely because of the superb work put in by the support cast. It includes Pankaj Tripathi, who in spite of looking too young to play the girl’s dad plays it with an aplomb expected from an actor of his calibre. Known mainly for negative roles, he comes across here as a total darling, who often talks with his ceiling fan. In fact, he owns some of the best lines in the film. Obviously, no praise is enough for Seema Bhargava, who has films such as Aankhon Dekhi in her kitty. She continues her superb work in this film as well and also provides much of the humour in the film.
The lead characters too have been fleshed out really well thanks to some good writing in addition to competent acting from the leads. Kriti Sanon is the lead over here and she carries the story ably on her shoulders. Shedding her urban image she tries something she has not done before and comes up trumps, to say the least. Rajkummar Rao, one of the best actors in India right now, is the one who turns the film on its head and his transformation is easily one of the highlights of the film.
The aspect of characterization and story telling
The characters have been created in such a way that you can identify with them quite clearly, especially the leads as well as the girl’s mother. The girl is a contemporary individual trying to break out from the shackles imposed on her by a restrictive society in the form of a series of questions about what she does with her life and rejections from prospective suitors. She seeks solace in break dance, English films, and an occasional puff of a cigarette or two.
The mother is always worried about marrying the daughter off and also bothers about the price of goods while serving the customary food and drinks to the prospective grooms who she knows are going to ultimately reject her daughter. The main suitor here is trying his level best to woo the girl and that includes engineering a turnaround in his favour by rebuking Rajkummar Rao’s character to act as a hooligan, which ultimately seems to catch him cold.
The story is predictable in the end but it is not so bad that you would not be able to watch it – in that sense it is nowhere near the usual Bollywood potboilers. Finally, the music of the film is really soothing with Tu Nazm Nazm Sa Hai the best among all.