Thursday, June 23, 2005

Shades of Black

When I saw Black, I quite enjoyed it. I especially liked watching a mainstream actress take on an unconventional role and do her homework. However, I hesitated to conform with the rising popular sentiment that this is one of the greatest Indian movies ever, without being able to explain my dissatisfaction. A friend passed along an interview with filmmaker Sudhir Mishra, in which he articulates my feelings quite well:

"I don't like hamming in films, and it's a film where everybody's hamming, including the cameraman. Everything is setup for effect -- 'look how sensitive I am.'

It's not really a film about the girl who's blind. It's like you make a film about a guy who's lame, then you take the crutches away, then you hit him on the head, and he falls and you point and say, 'look how he's suffering.' When everything is for effect, it becomes boring. As a filmmaker, you start predicting.

For me, it's a very manipulative film. It's always manipulating me to cry. It's asking for too much sympathy, and I don't have that much sympathy to give. It's like emotional blackmail all the time, and I find that very unattractive. Some people might really like it, but it's not for me."
It also doesn't show well on the director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, when he doesn't acknowledge the true inspiration for the movie Hellen Keller, nor does he give credit to the original movie The Miracle Worker.


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