Article by Film critic and trade analyst Joginder Tuteja
You can’t catch him in a regular film where he simply serenades his girl, fights off the baddies and then walks away in the sunset. You won’t find him in remakes either, something which is considered to be a safe formula at the box office and that too for all the right reasons. However pick up some of the most experimental films being made in the commercial mode as Ranbir Kapoor is the one who is waiting to be picked by the biggest in the business.
The trouble lies in the fact that while each of these outings has fetched him critical acclaim, commercially there is a lot waiting to be gained. Whether it is his debut film ‘Saawariya’ or the one that did in the interim period, ‘Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year’, Ranbir did miss out on setting the cash registers.
Thankfully he has seen big moolah with far more quintessentially commercial films like ‘Raajneeti’ and ‘Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahaani’. On the other hand ‘Rockstar’, which again didn’t quite walk the routine path, opened quite well but couldn’t settle down into becoming a clean hit.
This is the reason why one sees ‘Barfi!’ as a crucial film which is arriving at that juncture of Ranbir’s career where he won’t be satisfied with critical acclaim. He needs good commercial success to his name as well and this is where the ‘experimental’ nature of the film comes into picture. First and foremost he is playing a deaf and mute character which means while there are opportunities waiting to be explored from performance perspective, there are also certain perceived limitations as far as commercial returns are concerned.
In all fairness though the promo has done the trick and at least amongst the class audience ‘Barfi!’ should find its bearings. Moreover Anurag Basu has demonstrated certain sensitivity in his earlier films as well and now with ‘Barfi!’, even he too would have a point to prove that ‘Kites’ was merely an aberration and when given a free hand, he can definitely deliver goods.
In the times when films like ‘Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum’, ‘Jism 2’, ‘Jannat 2’ and ‘Raaz 3’ are taking massive box office openings and exciting audience by the dozens, nothing less than spectacular would be acceptable for Ranbir and his team once ‘Barfi!’ hits the screens. The million dollar question though is – ‘Whether his experimental streak would fetch him good returns this time around?’