Four years ago, audiences were left smitten by the small town charm beautifully picturized in Raanjhanaa starring Dhanush and Sonam Kapoor. Then it was Benares and now we have Bareilly – one of India’s most colorful towns. The talented husband-wife duo Nitesh Tiwary and Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari have once again won hearts with Bareilly Ki Barfi starring Ayushmann Khurrana, Kriti Sanon and Rajkummar Rao. While Nitesh’s last venture Dangal broke all records at the box office, his wife garnered a lot of praise for her powerful direction of the Swara Bhaskar–starrer Nil Battey Sannata. From such a gifted pair comes an entertainment package that shouldn’t be missed at any cost.
Bareilly Ki Barfi, directed by Ashwiny, and co-written by Nitesh, is a sweet-sour tale of romance budding in the narrow bylanes of Bareilly amidst worn-out buildings and progressive fathers. The story is ordinary; but what makes the film extraordinary is the watertight editing and crisp yet nuanced scripting with innumerable punch lines that make you roll with laughter.
Javed Akhtar’s narration takes audiences into the Mishras’ (Kriti Sanon) twisted household consisting of her hilarious yet nagging mother Susheela (Seema Pahwa) who wants to see her daughter get hitched, her super cool yet sweetness personified father Narutham Mishra (Pankaj Tripathi) and the casual smoker, English film enthusiast and break-dancer Bitti. Amidst all drama of finding a suitable groom for their daughter raised as a ‘son’, the hypocrisy of our society is portrayed in many layers.
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. Thrilled that there’s someone out there who understands and appreciates her kind, Bitti becomes obsessed with tracking down the author, a fella named Pritam Vidrohi. For this she enlists the help of printing press owner Chirag Dubey (Ayushmann Khurrana). Clearly smitten by Bitti, Chirag forcibly coaches the mild-mannered Pritam into behaving like an arrogant oaf in order to repel Bitti and clear the path to her heart for himself. Hilarious sequences ensue as both of them try their best to woo the not-so-typical Bitti with their ever-so-typical moves.
Bareilly Ki Barfi is a character-driven film where every character is important and contributes heavily towards the plot development. Ayushmann’s endearing expressions and charm juxtaposed with his selfish and bullish behavior will leave you with mixed emotions. Kriti shines in her best performance till date as she pulls off the feisty character with amazing confidence. Rajkummar Rao is the heart of the film and steals the show completely. At one moment he is the shy, gullible saree seller, and he later transforms into an overconfident, discourteous and brash author. The supporting cast especially Pankaj Tripathi, Seema Pahwa, Rama (Bitti’s best friend) and Chirag’s best friend, make this rom-com all the more appealing, with their side-splitting humor. The main highlight of the film is the dialogue penned down by Nitesh Tiwari, which is as colloquial as it gets. There is wit with plenty of anecdotes and analogies. The continuous tug of war between Pritam and Chirag with the song Badass Babua in the background is another plus point. If you are a North Indian, there are chances you might love the film more due to the script’s local essence, simplicity and purity.
The film is also nail-biting in the sense that it doesn’t bore audiences for even a moment but makes them wait impatiently to see who Bitti ends up with. Such is the power of scripting. The music by an ensemble of composers provides the perfect relief at regular intervals. Although, the film’s pace slows down in the second half and the climax gets predictable, it is still packaged differently from all other love triangles and is a sweet treat for the audiences. All in all, Bareilly Ki Barfi is an excellent piece of art and easily counts among the most entertaining films of this year. This light-hearted comedy refrains from being slapstick and slowly weaves its charm. Definitely worth a watch.