Written by Manisha Lakhe
Ji Hero Heroine Ko Chhodo, Baki Sab Super Duper A-1!
In a small town called Bareilly lives Bitti, a girl who can break dance, is outspoken and someone who smokes. Things which make her ineligible for marriage. After reading a novel written by a local lad, where she’s been described to a T, Bitti pursues the author with a view to marry him. The author’s friend is made to pretend to be the author. Comedy ensues when the friend seems to win the girl!
The director catches the small town flavour wonderfully by first casting Pankaj Tripathi as the father of the heroine and Seema Bhargava as the mother. Pankaj Tripathi’s presence in any film today is a guarantee of success. He just has to shake his head and he speaks volumes. Now Pankaj Tripathi is the owner of a Mithai (Indian sweets) shop, and his wife (Seema Bhargava whom we still fondly know as Badki from the first TV soap Hum Log) have a daughter Bitti (Kriti Sanon) who loves to break dance, smokes and is quick tongued. Three qualities which make her rather ineligible for marriage in a small town. Her parents love her but understand that she is not going to take a dumb question like ‘Are you a virgin?’ from a prospective groom.
After shedding tears at the dwindling possibility of marriage, Bitti decides to run away from home. At the railway station, while waiting for the train she buys a book called Bareilly Ki Barfi written by a certain Pritam Vidrohi, and is shocked to find the author has described the heroine in the book as if he were describing her. Cancelling her plans to run away, she returns to seek out the man who did not judge her, but appreciates her wild ways, at least in the book.
Now the book has been written by Chirag Dubey (Ayushman Khurana in a yet another sad sack role) who works in his father’s printing press. The book is written for a girl who was married off to a rich lad. But Chirag realises he cannot use his own name as the author because everyone would know who the girl is. So he and his friend Munna (brilliant actor!) bully their stammering, shy friend Pritam Vidrohi into posing as a the author. Bitti seeks out Chirag to find out who the brilliant author of the book is. Chirag promptly falls in love with Bitti, but is unable to reveal the truth.
He promises to introduce Pritam to Bitti. Munna and Pritam bully Pritam again. But this time, the bullying backfires. Bitti seems to be falling in love with Pritam Vidrohi! Kriti Sanon is good, but she looks too urban to fit into a role of a small town firecracker.
That Rajkummar Rao is talented, you have seen. But here, he is amazing as Pritam Vidrohi who turns into a macho monster from the dithering shy lad the Chirag and Munna have grown up with. Every time he appears in the frame, he will make you wonder what he’s going to do next. Is he going to whimper and be shy, or is he going to be the tough guy with attitude?
The problem with this film, is that the hero fails to endear us to him. We have no logical reason to want to root for him. And that makes the second half feel longer than it is. In fact, Chirag is so nasty, you wish Pritam Vidrohi would get the girl instead. But it’s a Hindi film after all, and the hero must ride away into the sunset with the girl…
(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)