Saturday, October 6, 2012

Barfi: Commitment Despite Challenges!

Abha Khetarpal, President Cross the Hurdles and member, Enabling Unit, University College of Medical Sciences reviews the movie Barfi:

No wonder Barfi is all set to be sent as India’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film nomination for the 85th Academy Awards in February 2013.  Anurag Basu, the director, deserves much applause for making such a sensitive movie.

Though a romantic comedy, the movie deals with all the shades of human psychology and behavior. The plot basically revolves around the story of a man, the protagonist, Barfi, who is deaf and mute by birth. He is shown to be involved with two females at different points of time in his life. Relationship with both the girls, gives him two different perspectives of life.

The first one Shruti Ghosh/Sengupta, is shown to be amused by the antics of Barfi, amazed by the way how he copes with his challenges playfully and ultimately falls for him because of his out and out romantic nature. Like any other teenage girl she is infatuated by his endearing and happy-go-lucky nature.  She is stunned by the way he lives his life to the fullest and even despite of his disabilities he is able to take care of his old father. But this girl herself plays mute when she has to bow down to the pressures of her mother who thinks her daughter’s life would be destroyed by marrying a ‘’disabled man’’. The girl Shruti is shown to be submissive, doubtful and prone to fall for superficial abilities of a Bengali babu, whom she marries. She succumbs to the lures of the so called physical and monetary capabilities of another man. This man has a perfect body but has a disability of lack of emotions!

Though she likes Barfi, she could not gather guts to open her mouth and say even a word. Barfi is shown to be deaf, but this girl, with her actions, proves that she is nothing less than ‘’a dumb’’ human being. She is shown to have a greater disability of character when she says, ‘’Sach puchho to mujhe Jhilmil ke kho jaane ka dukh nahi tha, balki khushi thi ki ab Barfi mera hai’’ (She was not sad that Jhilmil was lost but rather happy that now she would be able to possess Barfi). She is shown to be envious when she says, “Barfi adhura tha, lekin uska pyaar poora tha’’. Now she, after having a nightmarish marriage with her chosen one who is an abled bodied man, realizes that how much able Barfi was and how incomplete her ‘’normal’’ man was! But still she could not develop that sensitivity to understand how much pain she has inflictedon him. When she meets him in Kolkata after six years, she could not even utter a single word. While Barfi is shown to have no complains and grudges against her. He is not at all bitter.

Aaah! The so called ‘’abled’’ world, how selfish you can become!  How easy it is for you to show your cocked up ‘’compulsions’’.

Relationship is a matter of convenience for the this normal group of people. This is skilfully shown by portrayal of the character of Shruti and through the characters of Jhilmil’s parents. They want their daughter because they want money left to her by her grandfather. Otherwise the treatment given to this autistic girl by her own parents is emotionally shocking. The parents are shown to be ashamed of the disability of their daughter. They themselves are not ready to accept. Nor do they believe in including the girl in social gatherings taking place in their own home. And this is not a fictitious revelation. This happens all the time around us. Anurag has just shown courage to bring out such heinous behavioral practices. The society too is shown insensitive which all the more disables a person. The people in the party do not hesitate to laugh at a girl who is enjoying the music, a girl who so innocent, a girl who does not even know the ways of this selfish and cruel world.  By making fun of this autistic girl, Jhilmil, they prove that it is the society that does not let people come out of the stigma of disability. And she shows her anger by yelling at them and crying out, “Chup karo’’( stop laughing).

The so called civilized and sophisticated group of people are shown to be nothing less than beastly creatures.

And the best part happens to be the second half of the movie. I must say it is has the best dialogues ever written, best dialogue delivery ever heard and the best music ever listened to! You must be wondering what I am talking about!

The conversations between the mute Barfi and autistic Jhilmil do not need any language nor are dependent on the ear catching love phrases. They both talk heart to heart.  Their expressions have greater verbosity. The love and relationship which they stand for echoes far away with higher decibels than we human beings can hear. They understand each other by looking into each other’s eyes. Love has no boundaries, no disability, no sham, no manipulations, no strategies…Its purest forms dwell in the hearts of those who believe in it. Barfi has his own ‘’trust test’’. He cuts the branch of the tree. First he stands with his friend under it. Then he stands with Shruti under it who gets scared being hit by it without trusting his love and affection for it. And when he stands with Jhilmil under it, Jhilmil just holds his shirts and  shows her trust. She knows she is safe with him. True love trusts and protects. It is not scared of the burdens, responsibilities and hardships coming its way. True love does not need ceremonies and rituals. When Shruti asks Barfi if they had exchanged rings, he tells her in sign language that when they had exchanged hearts, exchanging rings does not matter!

Barfi and Jhilmil, lived together. They were shown to be with each other till their old age caring and sharing all through their lives. Together they symbolize Commitment Despite Challenges!  They have the biggest ability in them and that is they are able to find happiness in togetherness.

A great movie, great performances by the actors and great music, Barfi deals with the complex mazes, darkest tunnels and brightest spots of human psyche!

Source: Mindful Cogitations (think differently)

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