Wednesday, February 23, 2005


This weekend I had the opportunity to watch yet another meaningful movie. It was a beautiful Saturday evening on which we (Naresh, Ramasamy, Janani, Arvind Sharma, Parthiban, Anbu and me) decided to watch this epic movie. The adjective in the previous sentence should rightfully set the tone for the review of the movie which follows.
Black is a movie about how a blind, deaf and dumb girl, Mitchell (Rani Mukerjee) faces the life which looms before her. She does this with the help of an old alcoholic teacher John (Ambitabh Bachan). The film essentially reduces to the glorification of the relationship between the teacher and the student.
John’s attitude towards his student is captured most accurately. Mitchell’s parents in their guilt, allow her to run crazy in the house and tolerate her inappropriateness on the grounds of her disability. The way John’s love and respect for Mitchell is shown when he refuses to overlook her indiscipline in spite of her special ness was awesome. That was the way the director showed the difference between the two loves of which one stands loftier. I am sure I experienced only a part of the movie as I clearly missed out those metaphorical Hindi dialogues.
The realism in the movie stands out as clearly as the brilliance in the screenplay. The pressure that a disabled (or rather differently-abled) child brings to the household is shown impeccably. First the inability to accept the reality on the part of the father and then the sibling rivalry which Mitchell elicits is shown as realistically as possible. What is good about it is the fact that there is no finger-pointing here. All the failings of the family members are treated as naturally as possible. The cinematographer has held us spellbound in those moments of vivid imagery.
The film was obviously ‘inspired’ from the Academy-award picture “The Miracle Worker” which originally depicted the life of Helen Keller. From what I have read about the original movie, I must say that the director, at the cost of losing his claim to originality, has done a good job. The director deserves credit for the simple act of courage when he decided to take such an offbeat movie in Hindi. I would have been more appreciative of the director had he openly acknowledged that he was remaking the earlier film “The Miracle Worker”. Or atleast he should have said that the protaganist was inspired from Helen Keller. He did neither to the best of my knowledge. Am i asking too much from Indian cineama? ;-)
It is my opinion that it is simply impossible to understand the world of these special people. Tactility defines their worlds. I cannot comprehend the enormity of task which lies before the teachers. They are indeed miracle workers, magicians and what not. As I was heading home in a car, I am guilty of pitying these special people. I was contemplating on how they would never see the harmony of green, the purity of white and the enigma of the blue. I doubt if they realize the strength of black because how will you ever define black when u haven’t seen white. A world which is silent and dark. And sometimes cold because of the world which refuses to accept them in a way they are.
Warning: Rhetoric Ahead.
I am not glorifying their disability but I guess these special people are made the way they are for some special reasons. Perhaps we need these people amongst us to remind us what we are blessed with. By the way when was the last time we sat in the park bench under a swishing tree enjoying the mellow afternoon sky. Life as John says is like an ice-cream. We should enjoy it till it melts away. We need these people, these beacons of hope to inspire the world that has grown too busy creating its own problems. And here comes the most poignant one. Most of us define the world through our senses. It is a possibility that Reality may not be described in these sensual terms alone. And it is these special people who have the gift to uncover the non-sensual aspect of the reality. (Not that it helps) Perhaps (like what the Matrix says) we are all fooled by our senses and these special ones are the ones who know the real world.


Arvind Sharma said...

I guess Sanjay didn't do the acknowledgement explicitly because he
must have assumed that the fact that the movie was inspired by Helen's
life was public knowledge. Read this interview:

Secondly I feel (though I have never seen the English movie) that the
movie was more a plagiarism of real life than from another movie.

Whatever the case may be, it was definitely a message necessary and
effectively conveyed to the Indian audience...and that is what we need
from Cinema

A.J.Anto said...

I certainly agree with you that the message was neccessary etc. I have
expressed my admirations for the movie in my blog. But that apart, the
reality as it stands today is that the film was a remake of the
earlier english movie and the director does not acknoledge it. I
accept that the director acknowldeges about Helen Keller. But he does
only that. Which means that he is taking the credit for the
screenplay, dialogues etc without giving due credit to the original
artists. That's what i call as blatant plagiarism. And i still do.

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