New Delhi: There are moments in 'Barfi!' that take you back to the glorious days of the masters of silent filmmaking of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and D W Griffith, when the sense of freedom in physical expression prevailed dialogue.
Director Anurag Basu has revived expressionism and packaged it with an ethereal background score while actor Ranbir Kapoor has proved that his talent is, indeed, unparalleled at the moment in the industry.
Kapoor, who was praised for his role in 'Rockstar' as well, though the accolades came with brickbats as well, one of the main being - he hammed it up. As a desperate, disconsolate and tormented rock star, Kapoor was all about raw attitude. It gave his craft a range that was missing. He was, after all, playing the addled, romantic hero at the moment.
'Barfi' brought Kapoor dangerously close to the point where he was most susceptible to go over the edge and over act. But what he did with the role was something quite extraordinary. The life and soul of a film that has a hearing and speech impaired person as its protagonist, Kapoor as 'Barfi' is endearingly unapologetic about his disability. He turns it around to make it his biggest strength.
Normally full of joie de vivre, Kapoor's heartbroken and angry outburst against Illeana D'Cruz for turning down his marriage proposal is a moment of pure brilliance. Even if you did not follow sign language, you would have no problem understanding what the furious hand gestures meant. There are moments like this throughout the film that makes you believe in great filmmaking - like his reluctant praise for Illeana's fiancé when Kapoor meets the handsome Jishu Sengupta for the first time.
Kapoor's outrage at his wedding proposal being misunderstood as a request for fund collection and being offered money by Illeana's father, his bemused frustration at the autistic (and brilliantly played by) Priyanka Chopra following him around like a faithful puppy - the moments that make a good film great.
Ranbir won all the awards there were to win last year for 'Rockstar'. It looks like this year will be an encore. But his greatest contribution to the art is his unfettered joy at finding himself facing a camera and giving it all he has. Yes, you are looking at tomorrow's superstar. He's standing in a class of his own.