GreyMatter, Personal

Black, No Equal

India makes more movies each year than any other country in the world.  Yet, if I had to choose one movie from all the ones made in Bollywood, past or present, it would have to be Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Black’.

‘Black’ is the story of a deaf-blind-mute child who’s on the verge of going insane because she cannot communicate with any one.  Then, an ageing, alcoholic teacher comes into her life.  And, he starts working with her, painstakingly and patiently teaching her words and their meanings… one word at a time.  

If you’ve ever known a physically- or mentally- challenged child at close quarters, you probably would have glimpsed how difficult the simplest task can become. But to overcome obstacles, and grow beyond the limitations that our circumstances impose on us, is the greatest achievement that man is capable.

This is not a subject that Bollywood often addresses. ‘Black’ does not have the usual song-and-dance routines found commonly in typical Indian films – in fact, the entire movie has not even a single song in it!  (And this, coming from a director whose last film (Devdas) was the most expensive Indian film ever made, with a production cost of 500 million!!!)  But, Black has a lot to offer in terms of international quality cinema : Award-worthy performances by almost the entire cast (75% of the movie is actually in English!), cinematography and production quality par excellence, and integrity.

Above all, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has integrity.  If the story requires glitz and glamour, it will have it.  If the story cannot accomodate a song, it won’t.  Whatever the story needs is of utmost importance… No more, no less.

‘Black’ is an exceptional film. Go see it.