A glimpse of Bareilly Ki Barfi
The much loved romantic comedy of 2017, Bareilly Ki Barfi was a light, funny movie about Bitti Mishra (Kriti Sanon) a bohemian Bareilly girl who falls in love with Pritam Vidrohi, an author whose progressive way of thinking she admires and believes that his heroine is a self-reflection of herself. What follows is a comedy of errors when Chirag Dubey ( Ayushmann Khurrana ) , whose pen-name is Pritam Vidrohi, befriends Bitti and promises to help her find her Pritam. Chirag then ropes in or rather blackmails Rajkumar Rao to pretend to be Pritam Vidrohi. Everyone who has watched the movie will agree that Ayushmann Khurrana trying to “man up” Rajkumar Rao are the most hilarious scenes of the movie. While Ayushmann’s character goes from white to grey effortlessly, Rajkumar Rao, in order to be a man, becomes a gunda (goon).
The idea of “Real Men”
We all have encountered stereotypes and tropes of all genders. We have also come across the ideals society expects us to embody in order to be called a real man or woman. While we have recently been fairly challenging the limits society wants women to conform to; we seem to have condoned the society of setting up this image of a “real man”. Bareilly Ki Barfi hammers this nail on the head with Rajkumar Rao’s character being endlessly taunted and bullied mercilessly for being a saree salesman and for being a shy and soft-spoken guy. With just this trifecta, it is surmised that he isn’t enough of a man. He is then taught how to be one, he should treat others rudely (because, since when has giving respect to fellow humans become a hallmark of a decent human being?), he should not care about others’ feelings or time and he has to constantly keep on threatening to beat people up over the phone. That completes his transformation into a real man.
Expecting others to conform Gender Stereotypes
This is a grave injustice. Why can’t men be emotional? Why cannot they talk about their feelings? When will we let go of this idea of toxic masculinity that has been planted into our head? What befuddles me most is our intolerance and inability to understand that every person is different and they must be allowed to be so. Not every square peg needs to fit into a round hole to be accepted into society. We expect our men to be strong, to provide security to their family, to be everyone’s support; but we do not wish to extend olive branches of peace to their inner turmoil. They are expected to be “masculine”, i.e. they should not cry, they cannot be soft-spoken and god forbids they show any emotion except for anger. If they do, they will be branded as not “real men”.
The harm society is causing to men
We are so caught up in these hidebound ideas that we are failing to see what harm it is causing to men. They bottle up their emotions since they are mocked for even hinting that they have feelings. It is no wonder that so many people are plagued by depression, anxiety and other mental issues. We are failing as a society as we are failing in keeping our women safe, we are failing in keeping our men strong by failing to treat them as fallible human beings. Aren’t those bad stories of modern day feminism enough to proof that too much feminism is also a disaster?
How can we stop gender stereotypes?
We urgently need to change our ignorant ideas about gender roles. It is high time that everyone should be treated equally. Nobody needs to fit into cages of masculine or feminine. It is important to be a good human being. That is all that matters. We need to stop pressuring people to conform to regressive ideas and stereotypes related to gender. It would do mankind a great deal of good if we respect each other for who we are. Apart from this we should watch movies like Bareilly Ki Barfi (and not just Grand Masti or Ragini MMS) to teach ourselves some life lessons.
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