Sunday, December 02, 2012


I saw the film 'Barfi' recently. Its a beautiful movie - flawed, but beautiful. The director of photography has done an outstanding job - some of the scenery is quite simply, breathtaking. But the director himself has shown remarkable finesse in his use of slow motion and unusual camera angles. The script is lacking a logical flow and there are a lot of holes that you'd later notice. I say later because Ranbir Kapoor's acting will carry you through it - with every role he is turning into a true actor - someone who acts so well that he becomes the role and when you see it on screen the performance seems effortless. But this post isn't about Barfi - nor is it a film review. This post is about the magic of beauty and youth. This post is about 'Ileana' . 

There are people who look beautiful when they dress up for it. There are people who look beautiful because of the range of their expressions or because of a specific aspect of their face, Julia Roberts's smile, Kajol's eyes .. you get the idea. But I consider truly beautiful people separate from these - true beauty is intrinsic and complete in itself, these are the kinds of people that you can look at them any time of the day, any place, in any attire and you'll stop and admire their sight. Ileana is of this rare kind - truly and purely beautiful. In fact calling her beautiful is not nearly enough. Ileana isn't so much beautiful as she is Absolute Beauty - as in beauty purified, then re-purified a thousand times over.

[Image credit - ]

Because of her, you have to watch Barfi twice - once to really see the movie and once so you can tune everything out and just see her.  You really have to pause the scenes and then look, no, stare and let it sink in - let your eye wander around her face - observe how the light reflects off her hair - really take your time to savor - because if you look carefully - there is just so much to her to see. 

It is almost like her DNA cheated - the way students cheat on an exam.  Like one fine day it snuck out in the middle of the night and figured out mechanisms of the brain governing our perceptions of beauty then snuck back in and emerged - as her. I am really not exaggerating - there are places in the movie when you don't really see her face completely, its a reflection in the mirror at an angle or a twisted image through a thick glass and it will still astound you. Stunning I believe is the word - but not the way we use it every day - not as a cavalier adjective, but literal - when you really allow yourself to see her - she will find your heart - place it in front and stun it. 

If I were a king, of the times of old, I would find a sculptor from Florence and commission him to capture Ileana in stone. Then erect those statues as part of city fountains to preserve  her for the people - to crystallize her beauty undimmed before the passing of time. And may be some day many years later a boy would wander across it - but then sit down and look at it and in his heart begin to understand the definition of beauty, then go on to find it in the rest of the world. If only ..

And then there is her youth.  Its not so much that she is young - its as if - youth was allowed to pick a time to represent itself - and it picked this specific month of her life. Her beauty isn't one to wax and wane with time. But if there ever  was a personification of youth - of what youth should be - its her in this movie.  She is perfect. Like the morning sun - not at the horizon, red and half formed - not yet the sun starting to yellow - but caught in that perfect moment - not too infant nor quite adult. Beautiful - but more importantly carrying the promise of beauty - of tomorrow. A face that tells you - if you think I look gorgeous today - wait until you see me tomorrow. 

Anyway - if its Ileana you are concerned with, you should be watching her and not be reading about her - and certainly not be reading my ineffectual attempts.  

Yet this one goes out to the artists of the world, to the painters - the poets - and the sculptors - take heart for our muse has arrived - for the Goddess of Allure has chosen a font and its name is 'Ileana D'Cruz' !! 

- Sanket

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