Movies

Bareilly Ki Barfi -- Insipid

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Small town Uttar Pradesh love stories are the in thing, quite a few having worked at the box office to varied degrees of success. Last week’s release Toilet- Ek Prem Katha, was one such film. The advantage with basing a film in this region is that the subject can take all the liberties it wants, the making is economical and, the major attraction is the subsidy doled out to films shot in the state of UP.

Bareilly Ki Barfi is inspired from a French movie, translated in English as The Ingredients Of Love. It raises some expectations as it comes from the pen of Nitesh Tiwary, who wrote and directed the much acclaimed film Chillar Party; and the blockbuster, Dangal. The director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwary, herself has the film, Nil Battey Sannata to her credit.

Despite these names on the roster, Bareilly Ki Barfi is a typical love story, rather a love triangle, created by the protagonist Ayushmann Khurrana, with evil designs to win the love of a girl, Kriti Sanon, whom he could have won over easily anyway.

Kriti is a tomboy kind of girl in the laidback town of Bareilly, the only daughter of Pankaj Tripathi and Seema Pahwa. Pankaj, a sweet shop owner, has always treated her as the son he wished for. He borrows a cigarette from her when he needs one, lets her be on her own, and has full faith in her decisions.

Kriti is romantic, loves break dance and English movies. She just seems to have been born in a wrong place. However, that does not deter her from living life by her own rules. But her lifestyle carries a price tag. She is rejected by all suitors when it comes to marriage proposals.

Fed up of rejections by her suitors and taunts of her mother, Kriti decides to run away from home when, at the railway station, looking for a cheap read, she picks up a book titled Bareilly Ki Barfi. To her surprise, the girl described as barfi is her alter ego, with the same traits and characteristics. Thinking that the girl in the book is her, Kriti gives up eloping and returns home to look for the book’s author.

The book, as it turns out, is the offshoot of Ayushmann’s failed love. He loved a girl who had all the fun with him but when it came marrying, she went along with her parents’ choice. Devastated, he writes the book but, fearing the backlash of his family, picks on a weakling, Rajkumar Rao, to credit as the author.

Kriti wants to now meet Rajkumar who has so aptly scripted her life in a book. Ayushmann, who has fallen for Kriti but cannot confess to being the author of the book, agrees to be her conduit delivering Kriti’s letters to Rajkumar and his replies to her.

Ultimately, Ayushmann decides to call Rajkumar back, plans to discredit him in the eyes of Kriti so that she is out of his spell.

Whatever interest the film generates is in the second half after the entry of Rajkumar on the scene. The love triangle so developed turns into a battle of wits between Ayushmann and Rajkumar. But, Kriti is the one who rolls the dice.

Looking at the film, save for the background of Bareilly, it has nothing small town about it. All the characters are well versed with the life as it is lived in metros. They dress, think and act like any other city dweller. The screenplay is okay. The direction remains in the parameters set by the writing. Production values are average while technically, the film is just about passable. Musically, the film has one popular number in Sweety tera drama….. The film has no high moments as it maintains its set mediocre narration throughout.

The film scores on casting; Pankaj Tripathi, Rajkumar Rao excel while Seema Pahwa makes her presence felt. Ayushmann Khurrana is good.

Bareilly Ki Barfi is a contrived romcom that fails to tickle.

Producers: Vineet Jain, Renu Ravi Chopra.

Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari.

Cast: Rajkumar Rao, Ayushmann Khurrana, Kriti Sanon, Pankaj Tripathi, Seema Pahwa

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