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E-Pao! Essays - Lessons from Black

Lessons from Black

By: Akee Sorok *



I went along with some of my friends for the movie 'BLACK' which is by none other than movie maestro Sanjay Leela Bhansali whose noted accomplishments include 'Devdas' and 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' to mention a few. Most of my friends were keen on watching a Sanjay Dutt-Aishwarya starrer but I was rather bent on watching 'BLACK' because of the rave reviews which surrounds the movie.

It certainly is an offbeat movie which strives to break away from the norms of mainstream commercial Hindi cinema. Normally, in a bollywood movie flick we see Shahrukh and Maliaka dancing precariously on top of a train or Govinda pelvic thrusting in an obscene manner.

But 'BLACK' takes us on an altogether different journey where we are shown a bit of the harsh realities of life. Personally, I feel this movie is a must for all the people who sincerely want to understand and help our less endowed colleagues.

The director clearly depicts the hardship and difficulties of blind and deaf people and our way of thinking and understanding them. The story is about Michelle, a blind, deaf and dumb girl who overcomes obstacles to become a graduate, albeit it took her 40 years to do so.

The character was portrayed by Ayesha Kapoor as a child and Rani Mukhaerjee as a grown up and I must admit that both did a job par excellence. The movie is somewhat like a period film though there is not much indication.

Michelle is the elder of two daughters born in a rich family being handicapped in two of the basic five senses; she led a wild and disoriented life till she was eight years old. Nobody knew how to communicate with her and she did not help matters much with her tantrums. Her mother was in a state of helplessness and her father, frustrated. He contemplated sending Michelle to the asylum.

Michelle's parents came to hear of a place in Dehradun where special children like Michelle were taught to cope and gain knowledge. They attempt to help their daughter and invited Mr. Sahay, portrayed by Amitabh Bacchan, to help their child. Amitabh gives an excellent performance of an alcoholic teacher who later succumbs to the dreaded Alzheimer's disease.

With the arrival of Mr. Sahay and his carrot-and-stick rule of teaching, Michelle gradually began to learn and understand the world she was living in. by the act of touching and feeling, she hungrily grasped at the lifeline that was being provided to here for the first time in her life. It will be important to point out that the first letters Mr. Sahay taught Michelle did not start with A-B-C but with B-L-AC-K. He emphasizes the word to her and tried to make her accept her shortcoming and fear the world all the same without any fear or difference.

Mr. Sahay so infused Michelle with the thirst of knowledge that she began to excel despite her shortcomings. By and by, she got admitted to a regular college and strove to become a graduate with the help dedicated teacher, Mr. Sahay. And eventually, she becomes one though it took her a long time.

It is dark and murky movie but it does not damper the vivacity of the characters. The teacher student relationship has also been explored very deftly. The movie is very authentic and one of its perks is that it does not have the routine bump and grind song sequence that's awfully synonymous with Bollywood movies that means nobody in this movie dances or prances around trees.

I think that everyone should watch this movie and that includes everyone. Most of the dialogues are in English with a few snatches of Hindi. It is true that Hindi movies are banned in Manipur because of their supposed Indianising traits. I would like to point out that this movie is not a about any culture nor does it carry any infiltrating Indian values. It is instead a story about the life, the love and the struggles of people unlike us. The theme of the movie is universal and it can happen to anyone, regardless of culture region or religion.

In my opinion, BLACK should be given a chance to be screened at home. It is a very appealing movie and pretty ethical would harm the sentiments of any group of people back home. It is however a humble request on my part that it should be allowed to be screened.

Likewise, the movie 'Page 3' is also enjoyable. This movie showcases he self-centered fickleness of the so called high-societies, high-status people. It brings oh-so glamorous people and their parties. Though this movie is highly potent in its social message, it does not however reach the eminence of BLACK. But there's no harm in watching as it will be worth your money.

Seeing the movie 'BLACK', I almost cried. It went directly to my heart as it reminded me of some people who faces the same problem. And I'm sure everyone who professes a kind heart would find it a very tender movie. Such movies don't come regularly. Don't miss it. For me, the applause that greeted the end of the movie was reason enough to write this article. Even my friends clapped who insisted me to see the other movie.




Akee sorok writes for the first time to e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at [email protected]
This article was webcasted on February 22, 2005.


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