Lessons Barfi! Teaches Us

Barfi!’s posters are highly misleading. They show funny tactics done by mute Barfi giving the impression that this movie is another Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani. Fine, this movie has its fair share of humour and wit; makes the audience laugh till they clutch their sides in pain and wipe happy tears off their faces but underneath the daftness is a brew of emotions – pain, love, grief, joy. The movie demonstrates some genuine emotions that are rarely felt or seen in the world today.

Barfi (played aptly by Ranbir Kapoor) is this happy-go-lucky mute guy who falls in love with a pretty Bangalan and is heartbroken when she opts for marriage with a wealthy guy (only to regret the rest of her life). Barfi is not your usual unhappy, sedate handicapped guy. No. He is like lightning – aggressive, quick and flamboyant. He is proud, confident and happy. Though on the face of it, one sees that Barfi believes in deriving happiness through small things in life, it is clear that Barfi has lot of pains in life – about losing the ones he loves.

Amid lovely songs and Darjeeling’s charming beauty, Barfi sails through on his bicycle doing odd jobs and troubling the local police officer. You tend to fall in love with his simplicity, clear heart and selflessness. Despite being less gifted and carrying various burdens in life, he is confident and happy. Makes one stop and think whether his/her life’s troubles are really that big?


Another reason why Barfi!’s posters are misleading is absence of Jhilmil, the autistic character (played brilliantly by Priyanka Chopra). This character melts you. She is pure, innocent and soulful. Her path crosses with Barfi accidently and leads to a heart-warming life-long relationship. Barfi saves her from kidnappers and takes care of her till she is dropped back to her home (where her drunken mother and greedy father reside). Barfi tries his best to get rid of her but she starts liking his company and refuses to let go. She runs miles after the bus Barfi rides on, calling out his name, asking him to take her back. So pure was she, she liked him, she went to him and asked for his companionship. Simple. Today, can we keep our egos aside and go to the one we love, without fearing about consequences?


Barfi and Jhilmil ultimately go away to Calcutta, stay together and do odd jobs together. They share little moments together and laugh, cook and play. Jhilmil plays the adoring wife (without being actually wedded) by cooking for him, helping him get ready, fanning him while he eats and waiting for him with a big smile on her face when he returns from work. All this done selflessly without asking for anything in return. Seeing them together brings a warm glow to your heart.


Jhilmil teaches us that one quality that is probably totally missing in today’s world – selfless love. Giving all that she could give – companionship, joy, love – for just little care and attention in return. Once, when the Bangalan returns to Barfi’s life, Jhilmil sees him ignore her and drift away yet waits for him to love her back (until she couldn’t take the hurt any longer and goes away without giving any inkling). Some years back, when I was a little more innocent than I am today, I had been selfless too. I gave without asking for anything in return. But today, its mathematics for me. What do I get in return? How much should I give, given the situation? Why should I take the first step? Why should I let down my pride? The younger generations I see are much less emotionally attached and are more self centred. The spirit of relationships has changed totally. Purity is rarely seen.

Barfi and Jhilmil had enough pains in life to deal with. Barfi saw his father dying because he didn’t have money for his treatment. The girl he got to love left him for money. Jhilmil’s parents didn’t care for her. They left her in a Special Kids Home and brought her back only when her grandfather left his entire property to her. These two anguished individuals had seen enough betrayal to stop trusting mankind in general. And yet, they kept giving and loving. With all the perfect communication and physical ability we possess, we are unable (or unwilling) to express love to our family, friends or partner. We hesitate to take the first step, our egos, fears and imaginary obstacles like lack of time coming in the way. And this couple, one cannot talk or hear, one cannot move or talk properly, learn to communicate and make their relation special. For example, Jhilmil manages to teach Barfi English alphabets. Every time Barfi comes back home, Jhilmil blows a whistle, jumping out from behind the door, and Barfi jumps up and shows mock surprise. The same routine followed everyday to make Jhilmil happy.

The movie has hundreds of such ‘Aww’ moments. They make you laugh, they make you cry. They make you want to go back to childhood, when things were simpler and relations purer. When falling down, getting hurt and getting up was much easier.


7 thoughts on “Lessons Barfi! Teaches Us

  1. I watched Barfi today and was compelled to write a review. Your review is beautiful and you have captured some points very beautifully, points which I seems to have missed. Great job ! 🙂

  2. I have read three reviews in the past fifteen minutes, so yes, I know the movie would be touching, as expected… but it’s this very review that makes it almost indispensable to watch it. A brilliant critique!

  3. NS : u write sooooo well….i was in tears when I saw this movie….the purity and simplicity of d characters just wins u over….the concept of live together n die together love….I have to say this…that u brought those tears back with ur writing….its so heartfelt….n true about ” forgives our past misdoings”

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