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.