There's Ranbir Kapoor. There's Priyanka Chopra. There's Ileana. Yet I chose to watch Barfi. Mainly because of the rave reviews it got from all kinds of people.
The movie started with a funny song during the credits roll, making me sit up and look forward to what's coming next. Within 10 minutes into the film, a Chaplin-esque routine of Ranbir followed and I recollected his grandfather trying to do the same in so many of his movies. I didn't want to give up yet, and hoped to see the brilliant performances that people were talking about in the later scenes. But the Chaplin scenes continued in Ranbir's chase sequences. First half was full of them, and lengthy... a bit drifting away from the story line.
Also, considering the kind of scenes Ranbir had, he needn't have been a deaf-mute guy at all. I don't mean to say that a deaf-mute character shouldn't be like any other character and have fun, but just that it felt more like a silent movie than a deaf-mute character. The only 2 scenes that justified this were the one in which his father falls down and the one where the inspector rings the 'bell' - the light flickers and the fan moves. Ranbir-Ileana romance was fine, and her mother's objections to the marriage was also predictable. His disability doesn't come in the way for romance, but comes in the way for marriage.
I have similar qualms about Priyanka's character too. For one, the director took so much reel-time to establish that she's autistic - with repetitive scenes about her fetish for reflections and masks. I think the only scene which justified her being autistic is the one where Ranbir asks her to stand with him and cuts the pole (his standard test for friendship), and thus falls in love with her.
A film stays with me if the characters and situations blend well and the story just flows without effort. I felt that lacking severely in Barfi. It felt like a forced attempt to convince the audience that the lead characters had to have their disabilities for this kind of a story, while IMO, it's not. Ranbir did a good job and the ladies were decent enough, but that's not enough to make the movie memorable. Maybe I missed seeing the goodness that everyone else seems to be touched by! But then, I prefer to watch movies that are sweet AND well-made.