Barfi! gives India's disabled a voice 0
Actress Priyanka Chopra plays a role as an autistic girl in a new bollywood film Barfi!. (REUTERS)
Film is often used to explore serious social problems. From the haunting condemnation of racism in To Kill a Mockingbird to the humorous exploration of bullying in the more contemporary Mean Girls, movies allow for the exploration or critique of behaviors while accessing the masses through the guise of entertainment.
Likewise, Anurag Basu's heartwarming new film Barfi! explores India's attitudes towards disabled people. The plot of this rom-com centers on a love story between an autistic girl, Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra), and the hearing-and-speech-impaired Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor) - the story's namesake.
India may be an up-and-coming star on the world stage, but it still faces multiple challenges as it struggles to meet the demands of its billion-plus population. Most public buildings, even in the major cities, lack accessibility for the handicapped, and, in many cases, India's disabled still face the stigma of being second-class citizens.
Barfi! explores these attitudes through Kapoor who begins the story in a relationship with Shruti (Ileana D'Cruz). Pressured by her parents and society, she leaves Barfi for a life with a "normal" man. When they meet up years later, Barfi is searching for his new love who's gone missing. Shutri helps Barfi search, all the while analyzing her ideas about people and love.
In The National, Kapoor explains the film's takeaway: "Love needs no language, and you don't need to be a certain kind of person to experience love. You can be able-bodied in different ways, you can speak completely different languages, or not be able to speak or hear at all, but you can still love, and that's what the film is about."
"We are very excited about this film," adds Chopra. "This is a special movie. Well, at least for me. It's got a very positive message and you come out of it wanting to do something great with your life."
Barfi! is scheduled for release Friday. So far, critical reviews have been resoundingly positive. With a terrific cast, universal message, and solid plot the film successfully reminds viewers there are no disabled people - there are only people.
Answers to Blind Gossip Items will be revealed next week on RJ1200's Mornings with Paras and Sharanya, on AM1200.
1. Why did a mob in Kanpur, India, pelt random big cars in anticipation of meeting a famous superstar?
2. Why is newbie lIeana D'Cruz having sleepless nights, in spite of getting a huge launch with Barfi! opening this week?
3. When did Bipasha Basu, in her own words, give up her sexy image?