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3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Not Red ..not Blue....Be BLACK

10/10
Author: d1uw from India
11 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Good movie With Good Star Cast...excellent Performance by Big B...And in plain words Rani is Supeb...

Black focuses on a part of life that every human has to go through. A dark phase of despair that every human has to overcome*

Black is based on a real life character, a legend so to speak in Sanjay's words.

The budget is 15 crore. The story of Black is set in Shimla and the cold snowy weather will be shown on screen to its full affect. The film 'BLACK' seems to be set in the Winter early last century Other shooting spots are Kufri, the Ridge, a 120-year-old building, Mall and other surrounding places of this erstwhile capital of the British Raj. A large cross has been constructed on the set at the hotel where the mahurat was shot. There is a Christian angle to the story and the Church of the Ridge, has also been apart of the shoot. BLACK was to be shot in both English and Hindi but now it seems only Hindi version will be released initially. With "Black" Hindi cinema has turned a corner. And it will never be the same again.

Veering passionately away from the norm - creating an entirely new definition of entertainment and giving us a work of art that transcends every given qualification of the motion-picture experience - Sanjay Leela Bhansali has created a work that freezes all superlatives.

From the opening when the blind-and-deaf Michelle (Rani Mukherjee) runs into her old blind and dying teacher Debraj (Amitabh Bachchan), "Black" clamps its emotional tentacles around our heart and refuses to release us until its last dying breath exhales on screen, permeating the film's fragrant and irradiant aura with fumes that we have never smelt before.

"Black" unleashes a fury of never-felt emotions. Master-creator that he is, Bhansali peels away layers and layers of passionate pain. The characters stand stark naked on camera, their souls exposed for us to see. We can't turn away. Bhansali doesn't give us that choice.

It takes a while to come to terms with the awesome and overpowering emotions of Bhansali's world. Getting a fix on Michelle's world isn't easy.

What is this twilight zone of resplendent suffering where every hurt is felt like a whiplash? Indeed the quality of cinematography by Ravi Chandran and the background music by Monty is so steeped in the ethos of anxious yearnings, we feel the characters' hearts are forever on the verge of bursting open.

We first enter little Michelle's pitch-black world with Debraj. The relationship that grows between the impossibly difficult little girl (debutante Ayesha Kapoor, playing Rani as a child) and the equally difficult teacher is underscored by an immense and acute irony.

As Debraj makes Michelle 'see' into the light through her blindness, he goes blind and finally loses his mind. In the best most heart-wrenching moments of the film, Michelle rattles the chains that are put on her guru to prevent him from causing himself bodily harm.

That frenzied chain rattling becomes symbolic of everything that Bhansali's incredibly grand cinema attempts to do. The darkest most inexpressible thoughts acquire shape in Bhansali's tortured and yet incredibly beautiful realm of self-expression.

Credit for giving shape to his vision goes in no small measure to Bhansali's technicians who miraculously find just the right voice for the director's anguished feelings.

A special word for Bela Sehgal's editing. Incredible as it may sound, she gives to this tale of dark visions and deafening silences the same tempo of time-on-the-run as Bhansali's "Devdas". As the narrative follows Michelle's progression from darkness to light, we move along in a choked and suffocated numbness, as though life in all its darkest shades had suddenly opened up in front of our eyes.

The film actually belongs to Amitabh Bachchan. It's impossible to imagine any actor playing Debraj, the tutor of manic proportions raging into the darkness like a Shakespearean tragic-hero.

To say this is Bachchan's finest ever isn't enough. For, what he has done with his character in "Black" is to endow Indian cinema with a flavour of flamboyant excellence, unparalleled by anything we've seen any actor from any part of the world do or say...I say 'say' because the way Bachchan has used that well-known baritone has to be heard to be believed. Dropping his voice to a whisper he raises it again to challenge destiny, and toast immortality.

Rani Mukherjee as the blind and deaf protagonist looks and acts as though she was born specially to do what she has to in "Black". Bhansali is no stranger to performing magical tricks with his performers. But what he has done with Rani is immortalise her, entomb her in a shimmering shrine of glorious revelations. Michelle's unseeing eyes become the window to the actress' untapped potential. Under Bhansali's direction, Mukherjee opens the petals of her histrionics to give one of the most nuanced performances by a female actor.

Every actor big or small creates an impression of imperishable excellence. Shernaz Patel as Michelle's agonised mother and Nandana Sen as the jealous but kind sister, are just flawless. But the little girl playing the young Michelle steals many a critical scene from the players. Besides its many other unheard-of virtues, "Black" gives us an extraordinary little actress in Ayesha Kapoor.

There are innumerable moments of the purest, most classical cinema in "Black". Moments such as the ones where Michelle expresses sexual yearning or when the old and dying Debraj breaks into a jig with Michelle, tear a hole in our guts.

"Black" isn't a film that we can categorise or classify. It creates a new genre, which can tentatively be called Pain-Sublime. Rays of light pierce the black darkness of the protagonist's life and permeate into our lives to bathe us in a feeling of rapturous contentment rarely experienced in cinema before.

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3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Sheer Class

10/10
Author: ns5682 from India
9 February 2005

This movie may be about color (or the lack of it), but to me and I am sure to many others who have watched it, this movie is a statement of the fact that Indian cinema can produce more than the banal stuff it churns out everyday. "Black" is about expression, a tale that would make you smile and cry at the same time. Bhansali has done a masterly job and combined with flawless acting by all members of the cast(Big B at his best), this movie is one of the best to come out of the industry in years. If this movie does not get Bollywood an Oscar, I can assure you that no other movie would. At least not for another ten years. "Black" is way ahead of its time.

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3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A movie made 'dil se'

10/10
Author: Rakesh Singh from India
9 February 2005

Movies like BLACK come once in a decade and may be 3-4 such movies come over a century. Its really a masterpiece of a genius, which stands tall among the mediocre films of bollywood.

I haven't seen many of Satyajit Ray, Gurudatta or Bimal Roy works, who are called the greatest of greats in bollywood. But I am sure that with this movie SLB deserves a place equal to them.

This movie, I think is very different from the all other SLB movies. Its like "Mera Name Joker" of RajKapoor. A movie very different from his earlier movies (except may be Khamoshi), at the same time containing that very special signature of SLB.

OK coming to movie... I don't know much about the technical details like screenplay or cinematography and things like that... but in a pure layman's language... The story was very touching... The scenes and picturization were too good.. the absence of colors (not exactly) and th e powerful use of shades of white, black and gray makes every scene wonderful.

The acting of all the actors were superb. The acting of Ayesha Kapoor(young Mitchell) and the Rani Mukherjee(mature Mitchell) is very enchanting. I always knew that Rani is a good actress but this time her acting was far superior from all of her earlier works. She was like living the character of Mitchell in herself.

Amitabh as usual has done gr8 but this time his role as an teacher (Devraj) is very very different and challenging, I don't think anybody else could have equaled his performance. Anyway I found him a little overacting in the later part where he acts an Alzheimer patient and also the make up of Amitabh for this part sucks.

There are some scenes in the movie which I can't forget. Like the one where young Mitchell learns the meaning of words.

The speech what Rani makes when sister is getting engaged and also when finally she completes her graduation.

I don't expect this movie to be financially successful and I guess even Bhansali didn't make this to make money. I have never seen the blind and deaf people so closely before this movie. This movie shows us that they are also humans and they too have feelings. Its indeed a very brave effort from the director. Great work Mr Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

I think this movie is made totally from 'Dil Se'. So just watch it, if you like listening to your heart.

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4 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Good Movie, but.............!!

1/10
Author: kmukh_73 from Michigan, USA
30 April 2005

Before commenting on the movie let me give my scores for the actors' performances. Baby Michelle: 6/10, Michelle: 7.5/10, Teacher: 6.5/10, Father: 7.5/10, Mother: 8/10, Michelle's sister: 7.5/10. Screenplay: 7/10, Art Direction: 8.5/10, Cinematography: 9/10, Music: 9/10. Direction: 7/10.

Well, that's the summary of the whole movie BLACK. Good try, from Leela Banshali. But if you ask me about ingenuity, I would rather go for RAINCOAT, by the contemporary film-maker Rituporno Ghosh. Black's weakest character I think was baby Michelle, I was mid-way confused whether I was watching a scary-movie or Hellraiser kind. There was no need to make faces like that (ghost movies) for young Michelle, that was not a blind girl's acting. Till date the best child actress from India was the one who acted in Anjali (my rating-wise).

The strongest part of the movie was cinematography and music score, simply brilliant, and even the art direction too along with few acting performances.

In fact the cameo role by Sen and parents role was superb. Rani's role was very nice, but not a 9/10 role! Amitabh was nice too, but the main fault of the movie, I think was the haphazard screenplay, which effected the overall quality as well as direction of the movie. Despite all its hype in India (may be because it's one of the first times a movie is without songs and all of sentimental flicks here and there), I can't rate this movie at par with Italian, French or Spanish classics. Even not with THE AWAKENING, stellar roles by DeNiro and Williams. This year too Hollywood came up with Finding Neverland, Sideways, Closer; Black doesn't even comes closer to them.

But still, I will rate this movie good, because it is of one of the first and boldest attempts to revolutionize the trash-can Bollywood stories and movies.

For Bansali, "..Still Miles to go before you Sleep..."! Don't work for getting awards, make a nice movie, just 15 steps ahead lies the success (the line taken from your movie)...GRAB IT! In fact, the most intelligent Bollywood movie I have ever seen (not copying from any Hollywood or European movies) is : MOKSHA...though it went flat amidst Indian audiences.

Still I feel, Rituporno's movies are better than Bansali's.

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6 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Big 'BLACK' Bachchan!!!

10/10
Author: b-u-b-b-l-e-s (bubbles@india.com) from India
14 February 2005

Have you ever listened to a symphony of Mozart while seeing a masterpiece by Van Gogh?

Have you ever seen the glow of darkness while listening to the sound of silence?

Have you ever been shaken by the voice of a dumb? Or by the piercing gaze of a blind?

Have you ever got lumps in your throat & tears in your eyes just by watching someone perform on silver screen?

Have you ever revered someone's performance so much that you think of him as nothing less than a GOD?

I've done all these…… and more.

I've seen BLACK.

~ bubbles

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6 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Memorable performances.

9/10
Author: parin-lapasia from India
10 February 2005

Finally we are seeing a truly crossover film from bollywood to Hollywood. "Black" has probably brought out one of the best performances of Amitabh Bachchan even after all these years.Equally moving have been the performances of Rani Mukherjee and Ayesha Kapoor. "Black" has raised the bar for all Bollywood films in terms of the Cinematography, the Direction, the performances and the credit for all of it goes to only one man, Sanjay Leele Bhansali, who first envisioned black and then has so successfully put it on the canvas like a master craftsman.A songless film which depicts the colors of life in all its darkness. Indeed 2005's most memorable film, "Black" is sure to win hearts the world over.

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6 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

there was sholay then lagaan then everything went black

8/10
Author: fcuk_11_8 from United Kingdom
6 February 2005

this is one of the greatest Indian movies i have ever seen.the little girl playing the young Michelle played a performance that blew me away.

Amitabh showed once again why he is the best Bollywood actor of all time.he portrayed the teacher role with such passion,and his English was spot on.great performance.the light bulb scene stole the pick of scenes for me Rani Mukherjee was amazing.never have i seen Rani like this,she has shocked me in all accounts,this movie is an adaption on Helen Keller.but people who want to watch this should see it as how Sanjay Leela Bhansali has portrayed it.

the scenes were emotional,the acting was good,the scene cuts were exceptional,the background music was a treat.another issue,Indian cinema feels they need to have songs,why not change,I'm not saying that song sequences should stop,but in films like this you do not need songs,the 2 hour platform of how long it ran was just perfect.this is one of the greatest movies I've seen.

I've heard its been done in Hollywood in 1962 called the miracle worker,i should be checking that out because there were Oscar nominations.the people who are going to criticise Bollywood for copying again,should know that this movie is portrayed in its own style.the story is a little different.I'm proud of saying the i watched another brilliant movie,it is definitely up there.

check out Ayesha Kapoor,the young girl,she gets all the credit on acting stance,totally amazing.

brilliant on all accounts,i heard its up for the Oscar nomination for international film,i hope it wins it because it deserves it.well done Bhansalli

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7 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Below mediocre and that's a fact

2/10
Author: luvkush2k from India
1 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We in India rarely get to see a decent movie made by Indian filmmakers. Secondly, the filmmakers who are good in India never have to rely on self promotion, especially the shameless lies of Bhansali. Has anyone ever heard Mani Ratnam or Vishal Bharadwaj say "I never make mistakes"? That BTW is an actual Bhansali quote. Even Ramu is more low key than Bhansali, and Ramu is infinitely better than Bhansali. That having been said, Amitabh SUCKS in the film. Who asked him to act like that. I mean Amitabh is not a great actor, agreed. But for God's sake, he's Amitabh. Why Amitabh. Why??? Rani said in an interview, "I told (Sanjay Bhansali) I'm not talented enough for Black". Regrettably she was absolutely right. I wish the Indian viewing public was a bit more film literate. Why else would they imagine that the bad direction and worse acting in BLACK is brilliant? Have a look at some of the other comments on display, then see this unfortunate film. And this is supposed to be deserving of an Oscar? God even the technical aspects are simply unbelievably horrible.

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8 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Sanjay Leela Bhansali's best original masterpiece after Khamoshi!

10/10
Author: sharbina from Singapore
3 March 2005

A movie I went to watch out of curiosity of what can Amitabh Bachchan & Rani Mukherjhi be of each other with that age gap. And I left the theater regretting how narrow minded I can be. A Hindi movie doesn't necessarily need a guy and a girl to be in love & happily ever after. There are other relations that exist on earth .. one of which was beautifully portrayed by Sanjay ... a teacher & his student - both have their handicaps and both are the very support for each other's disabilities. Syabas to the team of BLACK ... beautifully (visual & subject) made film. Above all, Ayesha Kapoor as Lil Michelle ... she'll grab all best debut awards next year ! Amitabh's best, EVER ... & Rani's most brilliant opportunity at proving her acting prowess. And I thought Hum Tum & Yuva was her limit ... how wrong I was.

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8 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

No Movie Can Ever Match "BLACK"

10/10
Author: Harish Singh (harisudan1@yahoo.com) from California, United States
11 February 2005

Black is definitely an Amazing movie. I have to consider myself lucky and privileged to have witnessed such magic before my eyes.

I wish i could thank SLB personally for creating this wonder. I personally feel that Amitabh Bachchan has given his best performance in his entire career. You will be mesmerized when you notice his eye expressions. Rani also gave a magnificent performance.

If anyone has a passion for Cinema, they should definitely go and watch black and enjoy and cherish each and every moment. The photography, screenplay , choice of colors should make Indian Cinema really proud.

I think no movie can match "BLACK" for a long time. Hats off to the team.

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