Last weekend I happened to see the film "BLACK", starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali (SLB).
The story line of BLACK is very simple, depicting the biography of a deaf and dumb child. SLB who is always known for his profound emotions (Khamoshi, Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam and Devdas), had delivered again but this time with unbelievable characterization, lather clearance and with a greatest vision, Yes ! he had aimed at the western awards. One may even say that the oscar for the best foreign film for the year 2005 is under BLACK's belt, unless the Europeans come out with a real ponderer. The fact about his vision is clearly visible on the course of the film.
He had sighted the point at which the rubber should meet the road. The milieu was wisely decided to be Simla. A clear idea justified by the camera work of Ravi K Chandran. Simla not only suits the content but also helps the director to westernize his movie. Climatic conditions, woolen clothings, western looks, occidental domiciliation, sculptures, mirrors, candelabrum and the antiques used to decorate the houses, modelled garden, fountains and the street benches are all not indigenous. The director should be patted for his excellent use of the English Language. More than 70% of the dialogues are in English and is handled effectively.
The names comprising the main casts, Amitabh Bachchan(Devraj Sahay) and Rani Mukherjee(Michelle McNelly) all stands as evidences of the director's motive. The film is without songs, thereby adding to the solemnity of SLB who had already recorded awards and did business with audio sales of Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam and Devdas. The background scores are exceptionally done and the sense of westernization can also be felt there with full of orchestral pieces. Monty(Music Director) seems to have transformed himself from Bhangra to sonata.
The road is clearly laid, but will it lead to destination without any transportation? The accomplishment and creditability can only be felt with good performances from the crew. Amitabh and Rani as known are great talents and have never let directors down. But the first half of the film captures a new but devastating cast, Ayesha kapoor. The pondicherry girl who plays the younger Michelle had thoroughly over swept the performance of others. The glazed looks, the anger with which she slaps Amitabh, her scares with water and the way she drifts down, have overtook the superlatives.
Rani Mukherjee, playing the role of Michelle a deaf, dumb and blind is no good for her competitors anymore. She had silently made it clear that, living to the role is what a film needs and not the spices shown of hip and hurrahs. The way she expressed the flavours of a deaf and dumb is wordless. Shernaz Patel who plays the mother of Rani brought out the love and passion of the holy character. Nandana sen(daughter of Amirtya sen) shows a jealous but genial character of a sister in the big screen. Dhritiman Chaterji playing Rani's father got out well.
The legendary Big B had established himself as the invincible star of indian cinema. After seeing BLACK, Sharukh called up Bachchan and wanted to cry in his shoulders. The depleted walk, expressions of a drunken man, his courtship towards his student are enthralling. To satisfy Rani's sexual yearnings, he kisses her, which only brings tears in our eyes rather than anything seductive. His modalities after being a victim of Alzheimer’s disease throws him above of what we expected out of him. Certainly he had raised his bar.
Everyone will expect that Rani will be litting up the funeral light of Amitabh as the climax, which is also turned down. In the first half Amitabh performs a role of an alchemist transforming Rani from the world of blind to the light of wisdom and knowledge. The film ends Rani litting the lamp of knowledge for Amitabh exactly the way he did to her. A noble and a subtle finish. The film accents why the deaf and dumb are called specials, putting forward their introspection, efforts and determination. SLB was already known for his direction, but through BLACK surely he will be seen among the lights. He had certainly amplified the altitudes of eyebrows with a film of international standard.
As it was told in the climax "BLACK is the colour of achievement and graduation" not only for the blind and also for the indian film industry.