Friday, September 14, 2012

Barfi: More than Ranbir

 There are still some people who think counting Bollywood in the same genre as French Cinema or European art is stupid. My heartiest thanks to them. You saved me a ticket today becoz you would never watch a movie like Barfi. Keep starving.

I am sorry Ranbir. But for a change I would have to be fair. Trust me; my fingers are itching to write a long ode about your talent, eyes, smile, depth, evolution curve and contagious ‘what next can I be’ curiosity after watching another of your masterpieces.

Words and applause pour out almost involuntarily like the beating of heart, when you surprise your fans, movie after movie. I guess it was somewhere between ‘Rocket Singh’ and ‘Wake-Up Sid’ that this ‘Duh! Another star-son to torture us in Sawariya’ became the top reason to stay glued to Bollywood for many fans like me.

You never stopped torturing though. Leaving us zapped, dumbfounded and numb with your brilliance and versatility that no one has ever even attempted so far. For your contemporaries and even your seniors, that’s a sad truth that probably hits them in the heart as they silently crawl under their skin watching utterly-impossible roles that a Ranbir pulls off like Barfi’s bicycle.

Barfi! Oh yes, that’s what I am supposed to write about. See that’s exactly what I was referring to. But time to restrain the itch and be objective. More so because Barfi just entered the profound pantheon of Siddharth, Jordan and Harpreet by stirring another pure, brave and adventurous soul to life.

Not just because it did not disappoint. That’s true but grossly underwhelming the character. (True because, whenever a movie goes high on hype and promotion-decibels, audiences like me flinch, hoping against hope that a ‘much-anticipated-story’ does not bite the dust of disappointment. Exceptions like Barfi, keep the flicker alive.

And while we have hit this spot, let me take the liberty of advising all marketing machinery at UTV – Why the heck did you spend so much TRP time and money on spinning the Barfi spiel? Are you nuts? Movies like these are the last ones to lay their backs on promotions. An Anand or a Munna Bhai never need crutches called sales brochures. When a good note touches the frequency of heart, it echoes on its own.)

Like the crescendo we heard from a deaf boy's story. Truly moving music is all about some spaces left untouched. Most of us noticed them today.

While we were listening to a deaf and mute boy, that, by the way, came out as a sound more profound than the ringing of cash-registers and the noise of daily grind. 

Yes, we saw them. The many layers beneath the obvious Sweetmeat of ‘Love’. The movie beats you in the very first settling-down-with-your-popcorns string of minutes if you expected it to reek off legends like a Sadma or a Koshish.

That’s precisely why I am forced to spend these few minutes writing aloud some questions instead of shutting myself in a Darjeeling world with its songs.

Yes, Anurag, we got the song you were trying we could hear. That ‘Love is still the most rarefied miracle’, and it can still be the free-winged bird that has no time or radar for boundaries that dumber mortals are fettered with. That ‘to be born’ is a proof of all possibilities, happiness and adventures irrespective of one’s handicaps, social posture, or IQ. Yes, we agree: It’s all about chasing the butterfly called heart, and knowing much beforehand that though you will never catch it, it’s so so much worth it.

The song you strummed with this movie cuts deep. But the subliminal melody that runs underneath this phenomenon called Barfi, is an incision on its own. It unravels many spots that only Barfi could bare. And so many questions I am still scratching my head about:

1.      How can someone capture the essence of someone’s sadness and joy without any dialogues? Wait, forget that. How can sadness and happiness even be on the same plane? Aren’t they anti-polar?
2.      How can the nostalgia of the 70s and 80s be so splendidly woven together with the heavenly fog of North East, and embroidered over an atypical story and so seamlessly?
3.      Were the cameras from Mars? Is this cinematography of this era or borrowed from the future?
4.      Was anyone from this era? Selfless, floating-without-baggage kinds of relationships: servants, masters, caretakers, fathers, sons, friends, enemies, broken-hearts, re-discovered lovers.
5.      The promos said that the cast includes Priyanka Chopra. Where was she? Where was that irritating-shallow-beauty-pageant winner (You got it, I am not a fan of hers, as an actress)? Who is this lovely girl who convinced her of Jhilmil’s innocence and simplicity-soaked love in every scene?
6.      How in the world does Ranbir manage to buffoon-dance so very endearingly? (Anurag must have spotted this talent in  Chillar Party)
7.      The theatre was punctuated with the usual crowd of hooters and mocking-comment-passing party-poopers. They managed to spoil many scenes with their crap-vomit. But what made everyone go silent in the scene when Barfi emotes his despair and angst after trying to meet the girl’s parents? Did I hear tissues coming out? He hardly said a word and only punched his cycle?
8.      Why do people with challenges (financial, physical or social) always come out with outlandishly ace Jugaad ideas? Socks’ drying, tyre-puncturing, cop-escaping, doorbell-ringing, shoe-throwing for a Hello, friendship-lamp-post-testing or using pockets and shirt sleeves for hand-holding?
9.      How can a mute, rejected, almost orphaned character not evoke pity, drama, sitar-music- sympathy but warmth and ‘wish-he-was-my-friend’ feelings instead? Why does one want to slap the girl for being blind in seeing him as dumb-and-deaf?
10.  How can any director finally manage to handle a story that transitions between different time-windows so smoothly? There are no supers or background narrations to guide the audience about a change in time-frame or sequence of the story’s scenes, and yet it doesn’t feel uncomfortable.
11.  Can a simple, heart-tugging, plain love story along with a few actors and a hill station silhouette make such a rich mise-en-scene?
And since when has music and background score become part of the script? In a way that imagining the movie is impossible without the dreamy, happy universe they stitch around the characters.
12.  Is it possible to create scenes where people are running, laughing and behaving like idiots on the surface while they bring yummy tears to your eyes?
13.  Is it possible to challenge someone who has already etched his name in history’s notebook with Rockstar? To watch him take another huge leap and jump along? Is it possible to not be amazed at the wonder called Ranbir Kapoor as a Director? But create someone that will outlast him too – Barfi.

A sweet hangover like this calls for a cheesy line. “There are some things that will make you laugh. There are some things in life that will make you cry. But very rarely, destiny will let you bump into things that will make you smile with tears.”

‘Rarely’? Umm, Let’s take ‘that’ word off.

For Ranbir has just incarnated Barfi.

I wish I could talk about the actor and not his character, but may be some other day. As I said, 'Sorry Ranbir!'

Pratima H

P.S.: It feels great to have been born in the same age where talents like Anurag and Ranbir live. If our parents say 'We grew up watching Amitabh'; we can stop being jealous.

1 comment:

Jaimin said...

This tribute to Barfi and Ranbir is better than what an Oscar would have given. Good job!

I was impressed with Ranbir's talent right from Wake Up Sid. He was paired with Konkona, who is a great actor. But never once does the audience see any disparity between the two actors' performances. Ranbir more than just leveled up in that movie. And as you said, he does have the ability to 'talk silently.' Barfi was perfect for him. It made you laugh and weep at the same time with very few dialogues. :-)