Comment, Film Review

Film Review: Bareilly ki barfi

A simple love story told from a fresh perspective is one way to describe Ashwini Iyer Tiwari’s Bareilly ki barfi. Set in small town U.P the story follows three young people in an unexpected, comical love triangle.

I don’t want to the ruin the film for you by giving away any spoilers – it’s that good so you should definitely watch it. I’m going to focus on the narrative style, the music and cast instead.

The film is narrated by Javed Akhtar who provides witty commentary as he tells the story of Chirag (Ayushman Khurana) , a young publisher who moonlights as an occasional, lovelorn writer. The story focuses on the feisty Bitty (Kriti Sanon) in the fisrt half and on Chirag in the second. For example, in the beginning the story focuses on the restrictions placed on Bitty because she is expected to live in a conventional small-town Indian girl, something she deeply resents. The film then shifts focus to Chirag’s romantic interest and eventual pursuit of Bitty. Although some reviewers might see this as a weakness I think this allows viewers to experience a range of perspectives and emotions which is one of the film’s strengths.

The music is very average with no memorable tunes, which I found disappointing.

The cast, on the other hand, is brilliant. Ayushman Khurana and Kriti Sanon do well as the two leads but the man who steals the show is Rajkumar Rao. His sometimes-timid-sometimes-salty act is delightful. The parents (Pankaj Tripathi and Seema Pahwa) are paired very well as the liberal, fond father and the judgmental, conservative mother. Pankaj Tripathi’s perfomance, however, stays with you- his monologue which is addressed to a fan is particularly hilarious.

I would give the film four out of five stars.

Comment, Satire

Collaborative collapse

Every time I step out on to the street in Mumbai my inner sociologist marvels.

A city teeming with people in every nook and corner, Mumbai has much to offer to the observant eye. I am, however, going to focus once again on the traffic in the city. Only this time I want to share what it tells me about the prevalent individual and collective mindset.

The first thing one sees in the city is the lets-get-this-done attitude which many before me have witnessed. This is evident in the scores of people pouring onto the streets to get to work even when it is, literally, pouring outside.

As someone who has grown up in Mumbai I find the level of rage on every other face on the roads, however, alarming. This is because such a collective attitude can result in a total breakdown of law and order.

And it does. It is evident in the screeching cacophony of car horns on a road where traffic has not moved for hours. It is seen in the critical mass of people needed for an individual to safely cross the road. It is visible in the crass consumerism abundant in the city as the country rediscovers its wealth after the shattering  economic impact of colonization and decolonization.

But most frightening, and criminologically engaging, is the blatant disregard for any rules that inconveniences an individual, rich or poor. Almost everyone turns a blind eye to the traffic signals, crossing the road can occasionally turn into mudslinging matches between drivers and pedestrians and the mob appears to cherish a chance to display its might.

Its almost as if every individual has signed a social contract with the state to disregard the law in return for its protection.

Excuse the deliberate, alternate application of Thomas Hobbes’ ideas,will you?