As always. Because Barfi, the movie about the love between a deaf-mute Barfi and an autistic Jhilmil, is India’s official entry to the Oscars next year. And it won’t get the Best Foreign Language Film award.
A careful viewing by even the amateur cinephile will reveal entire portions of the film liberally lifted from all over. Even the trailer music is startlingly similar to La Noyee from the French film Amelie. Compare this & this.
But then again, Pritam gave the music; what else do we expect? The whole film reeks of the iconic tramp played by Charlie Chaplin; the director calls it his “tribute”. A bit of Singing in the Rain thrown in, parts from The Notebook, and some clever copying from obscure foreign films. What we have is a sleek movie which looks wonderful as an end product, but is heavily ‘inspired’ by various originals.
The decision is made by the Film Federation of India, and I can’t help but suspect the quintessential Indian jugaad at play here. What else explains preferring Barfi over the 5 hour 20 min epic Gangs of Wasseypur? Yes, it has its own criticisms, but at least the Oscar jury will sit through the whole thing instead of writing off, as they are likely to do with Barfi, the film as plagiarised. I imagine the jury members watching the film and marveling at the audacity of the Indian selection committee to send so flagrantly plagiarised a film as this for the Academy Awards!
Watch, listen and feel sorry for Indian cinema.