So whose love story is it?
I re-watched Barfi! today. I remember in 2012, I was eagerly waiting for it. Just like I wait for all Basu’s films. I was super excited as Barfi! was supposedly a love story and the magic that Anurag Basu creates with ‘love’ for me has been incomparable.
I watched it thrice in the theatres, on a Friday then Saturday and then on the immediate next Sunday. I cried all three times, and funnily, each time for each one of them. I cried again today. For all of them. But mostly with joy! I am so happy right now. It’s such a lovely feeling when a movie still lingers and stays, and makes you laugh and cry and laugh some more on a rewatch after a little more than 3 years. I shut my laptop and realised I had a HUGE grin on my face.
Such writing. Much wow!
So whose love is justified?
Barfi and Shruti – A man who cannot hear and speak. Disabled? Yes. But only and only physically. Barfi is confident, charming and convincing. He believes in and lives little things to the fullest, most of which we having all 5 senses, overlook. He doesn’t only steal things, he also steals your heart away right at the moment when he pushes the ‘offer tray’ towards Shruti’s friend, when she refuses it.
He’s an ethical theif – he only asks for a ransom of 7000 Rs, the amount required to get his father’s treatment at the hospital started.
But most importantly, he’s a lover. The truest of his kind.
Shruti, pampered and protected. Overprotected at times. Beautiful and weak. She cannot protest for her love for Barfi. Shruti’s character shows some significant shades of Tagore’s Charubala. ( from The Broken Nest.)
My heart cringed when Barfi went to Shruti’s house to meet her father with a proposal letter his bestie wrote on his behalf. When he sees Shruti with Ranjeet he wishes them good luck in his sweetest gestures. Shruti walks him out, that’s when Barfi erupts. He compares his fortune to Ranjeet’s and tries to justify this ill-fate to himself. He protests on being deaf and dumb and incapable of supporting his love monetarily. All this while, Shruti stands and sobs.
They meet again but as Shruti puts it – ‘humara waqt toh aaya magar derr se.’
Barfi and Jhilmil – Autistic and rich Jhilmil is looked after by some with love and some with greed. For Barfi at first she’s a mere means to save his father but never ever does he ill-treat her. Infact, Barfi handles her with utmost care and he’s the only one who never does anything that makes her uncomfortable.
Well, untill Shruti comes back into their lives. Jhilmil evolves from a girl to a woman. Her care and reverence for Barfi evolves into possession and love. And it evolves so beautifully. She tries to wear a saree and show off a little stomach. She fans him while eating, and she waits for him every single day after his work to scare him. There’s this adorable moment when Barfi enters their home and Jhilmil makes an attempt to scare him. Being deaf he doesn’t hear her, he turns around, notices her and gets frightened after 5 seconds. Things they do to make each other happy!
All their love is justified.
Shruti’s attraction towards Barfi, while being engaged to Ranjeet. Her reasons to give him up and yet hold onto love. That love which she never felt again, is justified. Her being happy on Jhilmil’s disappearance is justified.
There’s this delicate scene in which: Jhilmil calls out to Barfi from a window, while Shruti and Barfi are walking in the opposite direction. Only Shruti can hear her. THAT moment. Shruti is in a major dilemma, if she turns around Barfi will be gone forever but she’ll do the right thing, but if she doesn’t, she may still have the chance to start over again with him.
But as they say true love wins. Or as she says – ‘Main Barfi ke paas thi, par usska mann toh hamesha Jhilmil ke paas tha.’
Jhilmil’s anger is justified. Shruti had her chance with him and she blew it. Now he’s Jhilmil’s. She earned him. She didn’t leave his side. She followed him against his will. She even passed his ‘lamppost trust test’. She cooks rotis in the shapes of teddys for him, she fans him while he eats and holds his little finger tightly at night while sleeping. She even touches his forehead with hers as her own gesture of affection. Deep affection. Barfi is hers. And rightfully so. This is what Shruti says, why Jhilmil deserved Barfi more than her – Ussne soch samajhkar pyaar nahi kiya, aur na hi ussne pyaar ho jaane ke baad kuch socha samjha– ussne sirf pyaar kiya.’ Although for me, Jhilmil proved that she deserved Barfi more, the moment she let him go to Shruti. She thought Shruti was a complete woman and maybe she was being a hinderence in Barfi’s normal perfect love story. She let him go. But did he? 🙂
When Barfi sees Shruti after 6 years at the shop he works at, I was nervous more than anything. I didn’t care much for Ranjeet, though I wished for Shruti to go back to him because I cared a lot for Jhilmil and I didn’t want Barfi to break her heart.
And he didn’t. He longed for her. He kept her things and kept revisiting her memories. It didn’t matter to him that she was incapable of normal human emotions, it didn’t matter to him that a beautiful woman he loved once has his back now. All he cared was to be himself again with the person who’d never break his trust.
And she didn’t. They breathe their last together, holding each other’s little finger. Just the end they wished for. And I wished, for them.
Their old age moments are adorable and of course – their glorious wedding!
I must add that I laughed along with Barfi alot more than I sobbed. That guy is capable of creating magic. I mean who keeps a comb in his pocket at all times? 😀 (Tempted to add an SRK reference.)
I felt pity for Shruti. But Barfi belongs with Jhilmil. True love always finds its way back to where it belongs. (I believe.)
This movie has been criticised for being replicated etc. Honestly, there are these 2 prominent references to ‘The Notebook’ that I couldn’t miss but notice. But I’d cut a considerable amount of slack to it, as the story, the background score, the performances and smile inducing innocence of Barfi was overpowering my senses. There’s a thin line between writing poetic dialogue and not making it seem preachy. Gulzar saab and Basu do it effortlessly, according to me.
Also, I feel deriving from inspirations isn’t ethically immoral.
You’ll see my favourites in my work too, and that’s only fair because all the things we love have made us and we remake them, in our own way.
After 3 years, this one hasn’t aged a bit for me and that is the true sign of an amazeballs writer.
P.S: 1) Ranbir Kapoor is genius!
2) The Art Direction of this film deserves a standing ovation.
3) I will blabber about my eternal love for Barfi!’s songs in a later post.
Trivia – Every Anurag Basu film has a ‘Shruti’. 🙂