SPOILERS WILL BE WRITTEN IN A PALE YELLOW COLOR, HIGHLIGHT TO READ SPOILERS.
So I just watched Barfi! today and I HAVE TOO MANY EMOTIONS AND EVERYONE NEEDS TO WATCH THIS MOVIE.
Warning: I'm biased. I have this thing where I don't always know if I like a movie the first time I watch it. I need to watch it at least two times before I can really make a decision. I often find myself not liking a movie the first time around and then liking it the second time around. Happened with I Hate Luv Storys (that's how they spelled it, right? Sheesh, I never thought I'd have to memorize bad spelling). And sometimes I love a movie the first time around but then don't like it later on. It's currently happening with Kal Ho Naa Ho. I don't know why but I don't think I like that movie anymore. It was such a pointless story. I need to watch it again to figure out what I didn't like. Anyway, I'm indecisive and biased, I know.
Barfi! - This movie is sent in as India's official entry for the Oscars. I can't say I'm surprised. This is officially my most favorite movie ever. This movie is brilliant. It's beautiful, breathtaking, uplifting, adorable, heart-breaking, and a riot. My face didn't know what to do. I was crying, laughing, awwwing, all at the same time. I was definitely pulling some ugly faces during this movie. There were two things (trust me, there are more, but I'm narrowing it down to two) that I loved the most about this movie. 1.) The focus of this film was on two people with special needs, but their disabilities didn't define who they were. They didn't become caricatures or stereotypes, they became what they are: human. You didn't fall in love with them because they're different than "us." You fell in love with them because they're exactly like us: human. It's a story of two people who seemingly don't have anything, are disabled, people we would generally feel bad for. But their enthusiasm for life, in the big and small ways they choose to celebrate life shows us that maybe we should be envious of them instead. This concept is actually portrayed wonderfully through Shruti. You'll (probably) understand what I mean if you've seen the movie. 2.) The fact that there is hardly any dialogue in this film. I also loved the scenes in which the sound would fade down to a low hum, to show us the the scene through Barfi's point of view. When it all comes down to it, the noise coming out of our mouths and reaching our ears is just that; noise. Sometimes silence resonates louder than noise ever will, and gestures convey so much more than words ever could.
The cinematography was especially breathtaking. The scenes were slowed down to show us the beauty of every day life that we normally miss. I'm a wannabe photographer, so I know how it is to slow down, lean in, crouch down, reach up, take a step back, all so that I can capture the beauty I'm surrounded in on my camera. Barfi does exactly that, slows down to show us the beauty that can be infused in moments we'd never find beauty. For example, the scene in which Jhilmil (Priyanka) has just woken up in a place that's unfamiliar to her. She's been kidnapped by her childhood friend, but he's still a stranger to her. We're supposed to panic, right? But we don't. One, because we know Barfi isn't going to harm her, but two, because of the way Barfi handles the situation. He captures fireflies (those were fireflies, right?) in bubbles, and it isn't just one firefly, he does it a few times. There's no rush at all, the scene takes it's time to unfold. Then Barfi slowly backs away, letting her make the decision of following him up to his house. He treated her with understanding. He did the same thing again when she wakes up to find a stranger staring at her. She's screaming and yelling and trying to run, but he holds her and he lets her bite his hand without making a sound. She calms down a little bit and hides in the corner. Then they both play with the mirror. It's such a quiet and peaceful scene. Especially after such an intense scene.
The only thing that I probably didn't like about the movie was how it romanticized Jhilmil's kidnapping. She was pretty much manipulated by Barfi and lead into his house, then she was kept their against her will when she tried to leave, and then manipulated again into staying with him. And afterwards, when she's set free, she wants to stay with her kidnapper. Stockholm syndrome, if you will. I understand why it was done, but it could have been set up a little differently, given them a situation in which kidnapping isn't romanticized. Things like this happen way too often in films, and sometimes people aren't aware that they're finding the situation endearing when it wouldn't actually be treated the same way in reality. Like stalking. Stalking is romanticized in films all the time, but having an actual stalker is not romantic at all. It's downright scary and dangerous. But, when it all comes down to it, it's easy to overlook that when the rest of the movie is so perfectly executed.
Priyanka Chopra- I've always loved Priyanka, but if you don't like her, or if you think she isn't a good actress, then watch Barfi. I DARE you to not fall in love with life she puts into Jhilmil. She is so endearing, so love-able, so impossibly adorable as Jhilmil that I'm sure anyone will find it difficult to hate Priyanka after this performance. In my opinion, this is the best performance of her entire career. The next time she wants to do something big, she's going to have to try to beat this, because this is the bar she's set for herself. She's so positively lively as Jhilmil. It's as if Jhilmil was MADE for her, and her alone. Priyanka is hot. She's sexy, she's sensual. But with Jhilmil, you don't see any of that. She still looks absolutely stunning, of course. But she also looks so freaking adorable and cute and cuddly and just, you want to pick her up and wrap her in your arms and take care of her and sing sweet lullabies to her until she falls asleep in your arms. I'm not even ashamed that that's how I felt because she somehow managed to tap into her inner 5 year old and bring out every ounce of innocence and naivete that she has in her and poured it all into Jhilmil. Her mannerisms as the autistic girl blew me away completely. From a tiny tilt of her head, to the shift in her gaze and the jittery movements of her arms, to the way she carried herself as Jhilmil. She didn't leave open a single area to find flaw in this performance. If she doesn't win all the awards for this role, I'm never going to trust these award shows again. They won't have any credibility if she doesn't get all the awards this year. I don't want to single people out, but she captured my attention in the movie more than anyone else did. I may have possibly just fallen in love with Priyanka. Just. I'm so amazed by her performance as Jhilmil. I just. I'm at a loss for words. I just really love Priyanka and Jhilmil, okay? Okay.
Ranbir- I never doubted his acting skills, but this made me believe in him like nothing else. He OWNS Barfi. It's the same as Priyanka, you don't see the actors anymore, all you see are Barfi and Jhilmil. And I wouldn't have trusted Barfi with anyone else but Ranbir. I really love the way Ranbir speaks, he has a way of mesmerizing you with his tone of voice. But I didn't even find myself missing his voice in this movie because his entire body was his voice. I was really moved during the scene in which he's leaving Shruti after he goes to her house to propose to her. He has dialogues, he has an entire monologue that he spews at her. It's silent, of course. But there's so much there in that scene, so much to hear, to see, to feel. You get lost in his sorrow, in how hurt he has. And then he goes and makes it even better when he so sweetly apologizes to her right away. I was blown away.
Both Priyanka and Ranbir manage to say so much with their facial expressions. They emote so much, you can just literally see every single emotion flash across their faces. It's beautiful to watch.
Ileana- She reminded me a little of Amrita. She looks like her a little bit, doesn't she? Anyway, she's gorgeous, and she can act. She wasn't just background noise compared to Priyanka and Ranbir. She managed to hold her own. Although, I didn't like her older self. The acting was a bit off and it just didn't feel right. I also loved how human she was. She wasn't shown as this morally perfect person. She did what she thought was for the best at the time, she regretted her decisions, she portrayed jealousy, but she made the right choice in the end, the choice that would define her as a person. She let Barfi go, and that showed how good her heart is. I liked her. =)
There is so much more that I can say about this movie, but I've already written an essay, so I'll leave it at that. I have too many emotions, I'm sorry! :/
Bottom line; this is one helluva movie. You'll miss out if you don't watch it. It's brilliant and fascinating and everyone should watch it. And I'm in love with Priyanka Chopra and her portrayal of Jhilmil.
ETA: I really hated the borrowed ideas and similar scenes to The Notebook. Not just because I didn't like that movie, but just because original scenes would have fit the move better.