Bareilly Ki Barfi Review (Spoilers)

I haven’t written a review in a year so I may be a bit rusty, I apologise.
Now that the year is coming to an end i’ve decided to make a conscious effort to catch up on the Bollywood movies released this year which I haven’t watched and been telling myself, I want to watch that.
As you know I upload a list of movies I’ve watched throughout the whole year of both Hollywood, Bollywood and regional movies, and saw that by Bollywood list for this year was very short.
So just the other day I watched a few movies (which were short, hence why I could watch 2 movies consecutively) and thought I should be reviewing this. So here’s to the start of many to come out which some of you may find old and useless, but maybe a few who haven’t watched these movies might give it a go.

Now onto the review which may be why you’re reading this, bare with me it is long.

Bareilly Ki Barfi

Directed by: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari (some people may know from directing the South asian film ‘Amma Kanakku’ then remaking it to Bollywood film ‘Nil Battey Sannata’).

The Plot

  • Narrated by Javed Akhtar this film is set in a small town of Bareilly. Bitti (Kriti Sanon) is a carefree and strong minded young girl who’s being pressured to get married. Her parents, her dad who’s a mithai shop owner Narottam Mishra (Pankjaj Tripathi) and her mum a school teacher, Sushila Mishra (Seema Bhargava) are stressed because she’s become ‘of age’ to get married, and has been rejected a couple of times by suitors. Bitti refuses into being forced to marry any random guy, when she is asked an inappropriate question and declines the proposal. Her mum being a typical asian mum who feels the society’s pressure, says some hurtful comments which Bitti hears and decides to run away.
  • At the train station not sure where she wants to go, she picks up a book from a small book stand, where the title of the book is ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’. She reads through the story and thinks the author has written about her, because she resembles all the traits in the female character of the book.
    After reading the book she cancels her plans to run away and decides to go back home.
  • Obsessed with this book she tells her best friend Rama (Swati Semwal), so they both decide to find the author for Bitti, as she feels this writer is her soul mate, and he seems to understand her so well.
    She takes the book back to the book stand at the station, and asks the seller Munna (Rohit Choudhary) if he knows the author Pritam Vridrohi (Rajkummar Rao). Munna says he’s not sure but he can try to get in touch with him.
  • Here we’re introduced to Chirag Dubey (Ayushmann Khurrana), who’s actually the real writer of the book and Munna’s friend. They both discuss how to deal with Bitti, then Munna suggests mentioning Chirag’s dad’s printing business which he runs, as the book was pressed there so they can both meet and interact.
  • Bitti visits the small business and enquires about Pritam’s address because she wants to write to him. Chirag agrees to pass on her letters, so they both write back and forth and Chirag slowly starts falling for her.
  • Throughout this back and forth Bitti has asked to meet Pritam face to face. Unsure what to do Chirag and Munna decide to finally contact Pritam Vridohi. They both had bullied him into being the face of this book. Ashamed at what he had done he ran away from home, leaving his family behind and no one knew where he went.
  • Chirag and Munna visit his mum who is living pretty well off because Pritam sends money from his new job. They get the address and set off to find him.
  • Pritam is a shy and timid guy who they bully again, into returning back to Bareilly but as a ‘gangster’, because Bitti hates guys who act like a thugs. This will break her illusion of being in love with him. Then Chirag will swoop in and Bitti will fall in love with him instead.
  • They change everything about Pritam to make him stand out, and they all go back to Bareilly to break Bitti’s heart. Bitti finally meets Pritam with Chirag and making her best friend Rama tag along as well. It’s an awkward meeting where Pritam acts rudely towards the waiter, Bitti is confused and put off Pritam Vridohi.
  • The next day Pritam turns up at her house to meet her parents. Sushila likes him instantly when he gifts her a saree, he fixes Bitti’s dad’s neck which has been hurting for days and now both parents like him, and Chirag’s plan is failing.
  • Chirag and Munna belittle Pritam and tell him to fix this mess. Hurt by the comments he heads to a street food stand where he meets Bitti and has an emotional breakdown. The next day Pritam visits Bitti who’s is waiting with Chirag, Pritam goes off script again. Frustrated with his behavior Munna and Chirag forcefully dunk his head in a bucket of water to try and get him back on track, he then blurts out he doesn’t like Bitti but her best friend Rama. Relieved Chirag hatches another plan.
  • They all go for a boat ride with four of them in the boat, and instead of proposing to Bitti, he tells her he doesn’t like her but likes Rama instead. Rama declines the proposal because she heard he’s a divorcee, which Chirag had made up and told Bitti’s parents and not Pritam.
  • Hurt by the decline and betrayal Pritam finally confronts Chirag, and tells him to get revenge he’s going to take Bitti away from him, from right under his nose. Chirag goes to comfort Bitti thinking she will be hurt by the rejection but instead she say’s she doesn’t mind a divorcee.
  • Bitti and Pritam get to know each other better and start hanging out more, where Chirag ends up being the third wheel.
  • The engagement date is set. Pritam visits Chirag with sweets and the invitation. Chirag is angry and threatens him Bitti will find out the truth, and if he can’t have her then no one can. Pritam calls him selfish for everything he’s done to him and for only thinking about himself in this situation and walks away.
  • Chirag reminisces his moments with Bitti and tries to be there for her as a friend but is heartbroken. He finally realises his mistakes and apologises to Pritam and has written a letter for Pritam to read out declaring his love for Bitti at the engagement.
  • On the day Pritam’s voice is broken so he asks Chirag to read it out on behalf of him.
    PLOT TWIST – While heartbroken Chirag is reading the letter without even looking at the paper, an emotional Bitti tells him to stop pretending and how long he can keep up this facede, and  just say he was the writer all this time. Bitti tells him Pritam had told her the truth a long time ago. Chirag asks why she didn’t say anything before, where she admits she was seeing if he liked her for her, or because she resembled his first love Babli, who he wrote about in his book.
  • Chirag and Bitti get engaged. Pritam and Rama get together. Chirag, Pritam and Munna become stronger friends. The end.

What really made me watch this movie other than my fave Rajkummar Rao being in this movie and of course the trailer, were actually the songs. I have to admit recently I’ve been more interested in watching these films because I love the soundtracks.
‘Sweety Tera Drama’ is so catchy and is definitely on the wedding party playlist, as well as ‘Twist Kamariya’ which was basically Bitti’s introduction song.
‘Badass Babuaa’ was fun to watch, but personally I won’t be listening to it in my own time.
It was the first time I heard the song ‘Bairaagi’ and it was nice but emotional, it was used in the correct place and it got you right in the feels, I think I’ll have to listen to it a few more times to see if it’s on my playlist. But my favourite song in this movie was/is ‘Nazm Nazm’ and it’s been on repeat for me since the video released. I love it.

What worked:

I really liked both parents, Seema played the typical asian mother. While she was a school teacher, teaching little kids in her classroom, at home it was the total opposite because her child barely listened to her. I can’t think of how else she could have behaved differently. It’s usually the mother who feels the pressure of getting her child married at ‘a right age’ compared to the father I believe. She has great comical timing and really majority of her acting is done by her facial expressions.

Pankaj was more subtle as the dad. He was shown just fumbling along life, taking each day as it came, and being stuck between his wife and daughter when they were have disagreements. He supported his daughter no matter what, even her bad habits of smoking which some people might find a bit problematic, especially for South asian girls. He had basically given her the freedom to do whatever she wanted, just how any Asian son would do which was refreshing to see. He had some good dialogues. I liked when he ended up talking to himself at night while staring at the fan, you’d think he’s talking to his wife but she’s fast asleep and he’s just talking out loud about Bitti. They portrayed this father-daughter relationship really well.
What I also liked about the parents was that they were forward thinking enough to let Bitti choose a partner for herself, even if it was a random guy who’s book she was obsessed with.

Kriti was actually good. I think she stood out more when it was just her in the scenes, before Ayushmann came in. She showed herself to be outspoken and independent, but also show her softer side when her and Ayushmann were hanging out. She was very likeable.

You can call me bias but I love Rajkummar Rao’s acting in general, and this movie is no different for me when it comes to his acting. He switched easily between the soft spoken Pritam to the rough and deep author Pritam, sometimes even in one scene. Now that’s called acting. While the beginning was frustrating to watch him being pushed around, and just going along with it, I loved when he finally decided to stand up for himself. You could see him being hurt and brewing on the boat trip and knew he was about to blow.

I’ve really had to think about how I felt about Ayushmann’s character in this movie. While some people might find him cute and lovable, which in some moments he was especially when Bitti and Chirag were getting to know each other. What frustrated me was how blasé and ignorant he was towards other people’s feelings, especially Pritam Vridrohi. I really didn’t like how obsessed he became with Bitti that he was being violent towards an innocent man, just because he was never brave enough to confess his love for Babli, and she got married to someone else.
Even his apology at the end wasn’t enough for me, especially after torturing the guy which led him to running away then dragging him back into the mess.
Also his best friend Munna was no better, while we saw glimpse of him trying to be decent, 2 minutes later they both laughed it off and basically worked as a tag team to trap Pritam in their charade.

What didn’t work:

The story itself wasn’t too bad, it had some plot holes and some parts of the relationships needed a little backstory. Although the movie was shown as a narration of Bitti and Chirag’s love story. I wanted to find out how Chirag and Munna actually became friends with Pritam because their personalities are totally opposite. While Chirag and Munna think the same and are mischievous, Pritam is more innocent and basically a mummy’s boy who is shy, timid, mature and quiet. They could’ve just spent 5 minutes developing this relationship. The male characters needed more work on their character arc.

I would’ve liked to see some parts of Pritam and Rama getting to know each other. Other than them both saying out loud to their friends that they liked each other, Rama to Bitti after the first meeting, and Pritam shouting it out so the others would stop dunking his face in water. We didn’t get to see them interact. I would’ve liked to see him making Chirag jealous when hanging out with Bitti, but secretly meeting Rama, but I guess that would’ve given away the plot twist very early on, or the perception of Pritam’s innocent character would be tainted in the audiences’ mind.

While the narration told us that Chirag never got his first love, which is why he decided to write a book about his heartbreak, and use his dad’s business to publish the book. We were never told about his family. Why is he on his own? We’re just left to assume that his parents are dead. Why hasn’t he moved on if he doesn’t have any family left? Why is he still working in this printing business if he hated it?

Overall I didn’t mind watching it but I don’t think I will be re-watching it anytime soon. While the songs are catchy and will make you get up and dance, there was just something lacking for me. Also soon enough it will be airing on TV in the next couple of weeks.

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