3 out of 5 stars
Box Office: TBA
A young woman from a small town in Uttar Pradesh who smokes the occasional cigarette, drinks alcohol straight from the bottle and binges on Hollywood films on the sly sets the parameters for being progressive in the romantic comedy Bareilly Ki Barfi.
It’s certainly myopic to think that smoking or drinking alcohol equals progressive, but there’s a lot to enjoy in director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s movie, if you can discard this reductive analogy.
It’s a romantic quadrangle that’s fuelled by a superlative performance by Rajkummar Rao as the classic underdog gone rogue.
Actor Ayushmann Khurrana and Kriti Sanon are his perfect foil, but they don’t hold a candle next to Rao’s impeccable comic timing and his hilarious two-sided personality switch.
We have Bittu (Sanon) from a typical middle-class household who’s frustrated by the patriarchy and sexism around her.
Her conservative mother (played superbly by Seema Bhargava) is India’s answer to Mrs Bennett, the literary figure from Pride and Prejudice, who wants to marry her daughter off to a decent gentleman.
The rotund matriarch is irked when her spirited daughter spurns off her suitors, one of whom wanted to know whether she was a virgin or not.
She feels misunderstood by society at large, but feels a kinship with novelist Pritam Vidrohi after stumbling upon his book. It was a failed literary debut, but it transforms Bittu’s life.
The comedy of errors and garbled identities is unleashed when she sets out to meet Vidrohi in person.
Khurrana plays the wily Chirag Dubey, the seemingly affable guy who promises to help Bitti meet her dream author.
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“Watch this if you are in the mood to unwind with a romantic comedy filled with an endearing set of flawed, but sweet individuals.”