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The story of six young Indians who assist an English Woman to film a documentary on the extremist freedom fighters from their past, and the events that lead them to relive the long forgotten saga of freedom.
Based in Simla, the McNallys are an Anglo-Indian family consisting of Paul and his wife, Catherine. Both are full of joy when Catherine gives birth to a baby girl, Michelle, but their joy is short-lived when they are told that Michellle cannot see nor hear. Both attempt to bring up Michelle in their own protective way, as a result Michelle is not exposed to the real world, and becomes increasingly violent and volatile. Things only get worse when Catherine gives birth to Sara, and Paul considers admitting Michelle in an asylum. It is here that Debraj Sahai enters their lives. Through his eager involvement, Michelle blossoms, grows, gives up her violence, even gets admitted in school with normal children. The years pass by, Michelle does not succeed in getting her graduation, and it is time for Debraj to bid adieu as he is having his own health problems. 12 years later, at the age of 40, Michelle does succeed in graduating in Arts, and it is shortly thereafter she will be re-united with...Written by
An unending darkness... A world of shadows... A ray of light that found its way... A teacher's dream... A student's miracle... A valiant journey... From ignorance to knowledge... From darkness to light... An extraordinary story of an ordinary life
Sanjay Leeela Bhansali's Black is definitely a good film. It is brilliantly scripted, made and executed, and it is also profound and complex. Many have called it a pretentious show, and indeed, that's something very obvious and annoying. I'm sure Bhansali from the very outset had planned to get many awards, five-star reviews, and "the-best-filmmaker-in-the-country" titles, but that said, nobody can completely begrudge him since this movie is as impressive and well-invested as it is ostentatious, and it deserves the hype. Let's start with saying that technically and visually Black is a treat. It boasts of fantastic sets and wonderful costumes, and the cinematography is incredibly good. All these, along with the superb background score, create a beautifully dark film. Having said that, this may be the exact reason why many viewers found it hard to relate to, and that's something I can easily understand, particularly after having seen his best feature to date, Khamoshi: The Musical, in which everything was kept simple. Here there's no simplicity: everything is lavish, big, grandiose - and that's why it's often labelled pretentious. The film is emotional yet unsentimental, which is good, but then, one of its main flaws is the fact that more than once it resorts to emotional manipulation, trying to forcibly wring tears.
Well, one thing is sure and it is that you can always expect good acting in a SLB film, particularly when it has an Amitabh Bachchan. Bachchan's performance is out of this world. His character goes through many phases, and each time you feel he's sinking into it more and more, so much that no words can be found to describe it. Seeing an actor of his calibre still being there, and playing a part with such passion, intensity, emotion, anger and hunger, makes one believe that the sky is the limit. Along with Yuva, Hum Tum and Veer-Zaara, Black is a film that constructs Rani Mukherjee's transformation from an average performer to a mature actress. She plays the character brilliantly. The scene which had her crying on the phone to her mom, is one of her career-best acts. It's cruel that she is cast opposite Bachchan, as she can't take the whole credit to herself, and well, frankly speaking, in my view her role is not as powerful as his, as it is a technical part that requires extensive training rather than soul. It's still a memorable performance, and in her case, if the sky is the limit, Black was probably the sky. Without taking anything from Mukherjee, I was more impressed and amazed by the far more superior performance of Ayesha Kapur, who played the young Michelle to perfection. Kapur is simply flawless in this role.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a crafted filmmaker who knows his work and his goals very well. In spite of its flaws, Black remains artistic and it is overall a moving movie experience. The words hope, love, dedication and success always come to the mind while watching it. It might not be original, it may be extremely manipulative at points, but the effort that was put into it by the entire cast and crew is evident and appreciable. Black is definitely better than most of the films made in the Hindi film industry. Though for me too it is a mixed bag, I admit that the first time I saw it, I kept thinking of it after the show had ended and for quite some time. This is an achievement few films can achieve (for me), and here's why my high rating.
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