It’s been nine years since Barfi came out, but his magic and innocence continue to bewitch audiences. With a simple story of human emotions at its heart, the film by Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Ileana D’Cruz is a captivating watch. Today, as Ranbir turns 39, versatile actor Saurabh Shukla, who played a police inspector in the film, revisits Barfi and the people who made the film such a memorable experience.
Shukla says it got caught in an uninspiring role loop when Barfi and his lead actor Ranbir brought him back into the match. The magical scenes between Saurabh and Ranbir de Barfi can make you smile on a gray day and that’s how he also remembers the shooting of the film.
Excerpts from the interview:
What is this scene that you shared with Ranbir that separated you?
My favorite scene has to be the one where I run to chase Barfi. People have wondered how I run so much given my body structure. I was so happy that Anurag made it so believable because I was only running on a machine.
What worked for Barfi! is his innocence – the story, the whole unit, the way it was shot. This is what I immediately felt when I started shooting for the film and the feeling remained the same until I saw the final product.
There are some really funny moments like magic that you and Barfi share.
Barfi! came at a time in my life when I was losing interest in acting. After Satya and a few other films, I wasn’t getting roles that would turn me on as an actor and I was losing interest. But then came Barfi! and it revived my acting life. There are two people absolutely responsible for this – Anurag Basu and Ranbir.
When I met him Ranbir on the very first day of filming in Calcutta, he came up to me and said “hello sir”. There was so much heat and I found working with him so exciting. I had a great experience at Barfi. It made me want an actor again and I started making good films. I had Jolly (LLB), it also made me a lot.
Ranbir was responsible for getting me back into acting life. When I met him, I felt so much warmth and so much innocence. He is very lively, very bright, I really found a friend in him. Although we have a huge age difference, I never felt like I was talking to a younger person or someone from a different generation. So what do actors do in a movie other than act? They have plenty of time and they talk. So when you get a great business it makes you happy. We talked a lot about art and other things. There is always a lot of food on the Anurag plateau. He used to come to the sets and the first thing he wanted to know was what was for lunch. So that mix of great food and great company was what Barfi was! was everything.
When you see Ranbir’s work today, what strikes you?
Ranbir is a natural actor and there is so much truth to his performances. In fact, I think that’s his strong point as an actor. I always told him that “whatever happens, don’t lose that truthfulness in your job”. He is blessed that way. Every time, no matter what he does, you believe in him, and that’s the best thing for an actor.
As a senior actor yourself, have you ever given him any advice while filming Barfi !?
I don’t think I am worthy of giving advice to people. But, yes, I shared a lot with him and vice versa. He was in New York and it was from there that he took his acting lessons. I have done theater but I am not a formally trained actor. So we talked at length about his training. I learned a lot from him, and I’m sure he must have taken away some things from my experiences as well.