Anurag Basu believes that the casting of Priyanka Chopra in “Barfi” is a mistake: “I find the way this film was made strange.
Priyanka Chopra had said in an earlier interview that she and her co-star in Barfi, Ranbir Kapoor, had to create their characters and scenes from scratch because there were no reference points. She revealed that director Anurag Basu was not initially convinced that she would play the role.
In an interview with film critic Anupama Chopra for Film Companion, Priyanka revealed that when Anurag came to her home and saw her in a glamorous avatar as she returned from an event, she said, “I don’t know if it can happen, I think I’ll go. I think I made a mistake. I think I should hire a real autistic girl. It’s a stupid idea. How can I expect Priyanka Chopra to do that, look at you”. He said he wanted someone very innocent and credible.
So the actor convinced him to give her five days and run a workshop to see if they could do it. “We did a four-day workshop. I spent a lot of time with autistic children, did a lot of research and reading. There is such a variety of autism that we had no references for Jhilmil. In the beginning we decided to do the pyjamas because autistic people are like children”. He said they had to create the scenes from scratch because they had no lines and it was completely improvised.
“I find it strange the way Barfi was made. I don’t even know,” she says, referring to the way they created a scene where they touch each other’s foreheads to show the link between Jhilmil and Barfi. Priyanka said it was her idea, as any other couple would have done to show their love for each other, but autistic people don’t like physical proximity. She added that after the first two days of shooting, “everything was like a flight” for her and Ranbir as they got into the rhythm.