Cine Goers In Delhi Divided Over ‘Barfi’s Selection For Oscars

(By Aastha Jain) Director Anurag Basu’s Barfi is creating quite a buzz in the movie world.  Its impressive run at the box office, surmounting all the doubts it had initially generated since the first trailer of the movie aired, is incredible. To top it all the movie became India’s selection for the Oscars to be held next year but the selection raised many eye brows. Many believe that the jury ignored movies like ‘Kahaani’, ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ and ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ and many others from regional cinema which were much better works in comparison to ‘Barfi’.

‘Filmi Files’ decided to take this issue in public domain. We stumbled onto some very interesting reasons and varying opinions. A student from DU Swati Sharma gave it a thumbs up and described the movie as “nice and sweet”.

“I did not expect my favorite actor Ranbeer Kapoor who until now was my favorite only for his looks could come out with such a lovely performance. I couldn’t have been more wrong for this time as he even topped his previous best performance in Rajneeti”, she added.

Seconding her opinion, a housewife from East Delhi,Sandhya Jain said that not only was she was spell bound by Ranbir’s performance but she was completely bowled over by Priyanka Chopra’s portrayal of an autistic girl. “I never expected Priyanka to be capable of shedding her glamorous image and take up a role that was a big gamble in every possible way”, she quipped.

Ranbir and Priyanka’s performance has been the USP of ‘Barfi’ because they did not play roles which were closer to their onscreen image. It is something that would make the actors go out of their comfort zone. Priyanka Chopra has won many hearts with her portrayal of a girl who is autistic. Not only was she was comfortable in her skin sans makeup but also shown willingness to step out of her star status. Many cine goers felt that the manner which both these actors performed screen gave them accurate understanding of physically challenged individuals.

Another cinegoer Radhika Mehta found Barfi to be refreshingly appealing with its unconventional direction and character sketch. And she feels that this movie is different since it doesn’t just limit itself to the Indian audience and has a global appeal to it. Thus she feels that it is the perfect choice for Oscars. A doctor by profession and a movie buff Dr. Shruti Lal also voiced similar opinion. “The best part in Barfi was its different flavor unlike other Bollywood movies. Lovely story and wonderful performance by lead actors made Barfi an absolute delight.” She thought if Indian jury selected the movie there would have been certain reasons behind it.

Viewers like Mukta Singh had a different take on it. Though not displeased by anything she saw in the movie she wasn’t entirely convinced about it being the right choice for Oscars. She felt that it did not offer the viewers enough depth to engross them. “Probably there should have been more of a mystery in it to engage them and force them to use their minds rather than serving it simply on a platter, solved and sorted. Thus for her it was too simplistic and uncomplicated to be considered for Oscars, “she added.

The most interesting and insightful observation came from Delhi Cine Goers Association (DCGA) General Secretary Nakul Malhotra who said although ‘Barfi’ was a good movie but it would have been better if the selection committee had selected a movie which was uniquely Indian.

Elaborating upon his view he said, “Since ‘Barfi’ does not give us a peek into Indian society and its challenges the movie has lesser chance to impress the ‘Oscar Committee’ because while selecting the best foreign film they always look out for something in the movie which reflects the society and its issues. On both the fronts ‘Barfi’ does not score enough points.”

Film critic Akshat Sharma believes that ‘Barfi’ was selected by Indian jury because to lobby for movies at the Oscars is an expensive proposition and you need deep pockets for it. ” Barfi is not a bad film as it deserves credit for trying to be ‘different from the run of the mill stories but was it the best available choice I have my doubts” he added.

Controversy on ‘Barfi’ selection to Oscars has generated a debate but it has not deterred people from watching it. Many of the respondents had seen the movie but they were willing to watch it soon. Nalin Solanki, a resident of North East Delhi is one of them, who is yet to see the movie, but from what he has heard from his friends he believed it could be a “cute” movie. He was also very much willing to watch the movie at movie theaters as early as possible.

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