King of offbeat movies Rajkumar Rao and Prince of catchy sad-songs Ayushmann Khurrana bring you the newest addition to a long line of non-mainstream and new-concept movies of Bollywood. Barielly Ki Barfi comes as a welcome respite in the apparent drought that Indian cinema has been suffering for some time now. Other than Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Dunkirk there had not been any substantially good movies in the past few weeks, forcing the audience to settle for less.
But no more.
Kriti Sanon starrer Bareilly Ki Barfi takes the old Bollywood concept of a love triangle and mixes it up with the right amount of good-hearted comedy, hilarious one liners, and some soulful music. Not to forget, of course, some unbelievable Oscar-level acting by Rajkumar Rao. If you, like me, are searching for a good movie to lift you up from your monotonous routine and make you forget all about how you’re getting pressed between office and home, watch this movie. Trust me you won’t be disappointed.
The movie starts with a brief but spicy introduction to the protagonist Bitti Mishra (Kriti Sanon). Bitti is a small-town girl who has always been confined to her small rootless existence. She dances and rules the whole town of Bareilly with her sparkle. She smokes cigarettes and watches English movies in hiding with her friend. In short, she is pretty much happy in her life. But like a typical Indian and small-town girl, she secretly longs to get out of there. How that’ll happen is not known to her, and as such, she is searching for a guy who can take her out of her supposed boring life and accept her as she is.
In comes Chirag Dubey (Ayushmann Khurrana), a heartbroken lover who still sulks in the night for her past love and writes stories in her name. When she gets hold of his book cum expression of unrequited love, she sets on finding the writer. And herein lies the twist. Even when the book has been written by Chirag, the book shows someone else as the author. A certain Pritam Vidrohi (Rajkumar Rao) who had been forced by Chirag to print his name on the book cover.
Even when Bitti is head over heels for him, Chirag doesn’t tell her that he is the real writer of the book. He is fearful she might break his already broken heart and wants to test her first. So what could’ve been a peaceful love story gets turned into a love triangle. Vidrohi comes with his own intentions and predilections. He is shown as a tough man with a playboy, when in reality he is anything but that. At no point in the movie, you are sure who among the two will get the girl in the end because you don’t know who to root for. Each man has his own qualities and his own demons. Whose demons will win and who’ll lose the girl you’ll find out when you watch the film.
I don’t know who you’ll root for or whether you’ll like the result. But I guarantee you will laugh all the way. Epic one-liners with impeccable comic timing are what sets this movie out from a typical mainstream romance. That and some impressive acting from the two actors Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkumar Rao. You might like them both or neither of them. But you’ll like the movie. Of that I’m sure.
Who’s the good guy?
In movies especially Bollywood, the makers always try to strike a balance between the two guys (or girls) when it comes to a love triangle. They try to make it hard for the audience to guess which one would the girl choose ultimately by making both the options viable. But at the end, the girl always goes for the good guy.
This movie, however, flips this concept on its feet and directly challenges the notion of being a good guy. It asks through an individual focus on both the characters of Ayushmann and Rajkumar Rao to ask the most fundamental question of romance: Who is the good guy?
The difference between a love triangle of reel life and real life is that in real life a girl is not able to decide who is the right guy for her. Infact let me ask you, my readers, this question. Most of you would have been in love. Quite often than not -even if you didn’t notice it- you would’ve part of a love triangle. Even if your beloved tells you otherwise, he/she is always on the lookout for a better alternative than (s)he has already got. So tell me, my fellow love-stricken readers. Who is the good guy?
Is it the silent admirer who doesn’t tell the girl about his feelings for fear she would say no, but constantly gets jealous of the next person who comes in her life? He writes poems, love letters, and stories in honor of his beloved, but doesn’t confess his love because he has long been comfortable in that illusion of love which he gets from his misery. He drinks the nectar of solitude but never tries to get out of it even when the opportunity presents itself. On the contrary, he tells her friends and his own friends about how much he loves her but never confesses to the girl herself. And if someone tries to woo the girl he desires; he plots and schemes like a bad guy until the boy leaves the girl. Even if it ends up hurting the girl ultimately. He believes if his heart breaks every heart in this world should break.
Is he the good guy?
Or is it the one who openly expresses her love? He does not fear rejection because he always has one other option up his sleeve. But just because he doesn’t take the time to get over one relationship doesn’t mean he doesn’t love that one person to the fullest. He doesn’t write poems for his beloved, but the same feelings flow through his veins. He chooses to bury those emotions deep inside and doesn’t allow them to come out. He doesn’t stand up for his love, nor does he plot or scheme. Infact, in the end, he is the one who loses the most because the constant flings leave him truly alone.
Who is the true writer? One who puts all his dread on the paper or the one who silently lets the feelings of same anguish extinguish the fire of his love?
The two types of lovers shown in the movie are similar in many ways and dissimilar in many. The question is who the true lover is? And hence who should the girl choose?
Kinds of lovers: Ek rangbaaz nahi, Ek chaalbaaz nahi
There is a dialogue in the movie that I think relates to real life quite precisely.
“Pasand aya to aye haye, nahi to bye bye.“
It aptly demonstrates how quickly girls change and how they keep options for themselves. They might have a short term fling or two, with men they might not want to marry but who ignite their passion from within. Nonetheless that doesn’t stop them from keeping an option for the long term. If it works out with the former in the long run, well and good, otherwise they’ll always have the option of the gullible lover.
I reckon in love nowadays, it doesn’t matter how good or bad you are. It matters how desirable you are to your love. If the girl loves you, she will ignore any and every flaw that you have even if it hurts her. And if she doesn’t love you from the core of her heart you may comfort her day and night, but she won’t accept you as her lover. You might carve out your heart for her, and she won’t bat a second eye.
The choice is hers, not yours. You simply can’t make the choice for her. So it is best to walk away. Or not. The question is what do you do with people who are confused about what they want in life?
In the end, the movie lets all these questions linger in the background and rightly so. Ayushmann gets his girl, and so does Rajkumar Rao. Bareilly Ki Barfi doesn’t favor one type of lover over the other. It only says without words that there are, infact, different kinds of lovers. Many girls and many boys for that matter might prefer the supposed bad guy in the start. But the truth is neither is the other option any less good, nor is the bad guy as terrible as he portrays himself to be. It depends on you. It depends on who you choose.
Do you want your love to be wanting you until his last breath and building his life around you?
Or do you want him to be independent who takes you in his warm embrace and comforts you from the world’s worries?
Do you want to comfort someone or be comforted?
You might get one of them, both, or neither of them. But the decision will always be yours. I have made my choice, and I wish my readers that whatever choice they make keeps them happy in life. In the meantime, however, watch Bareilly Ki Barfi and let loose some happiness from inside. Until next time.