Thursday, December 29, 2005

Black - Modern Classic or Ponderous Self-Obsession?

Today's edition of DNA reports that Bhansali's 'Black' has made it to the Time list of top 10 movies of 2005. 'Black' has been a much-discussed movie in 2005, be it for the vociferous reviews or for the Oscar nomination controversy.

IMHO, 'Black' had all the potential to be a true classic, but Bhansali messed up in trying to belabor the point in all those black, white and grey frames. Moreover, IMO I consider 'Khamoshi', and not 'Black', to be Bhansali's best movie ('HDDCS' was all-gloss-no-substance, and let us not even discuss 'Devdas' here!!). 'Khamoshi' had an unpretentiousness to it that 'Black' sorely lacked. Everything about 'Black' had Bhansali screaming 'Hey! See how great I am!', somewhat like the kind of movies Kamal Hassan makes nowadays. The Big B was sorely out of his depth in the first half of the movie - eccentricity doesn't necessarily equate to decibel level, as Papa Bachchan amply illustrated in the pre-interval portions of the movie. Ayesha Kapoor effortlessly overshadowed the Big B in what little screen space they shared together.

However, in the latter half of the movie, Amitabh was reasonably good (though I still do not think he was as good as all the reviews claimed. IMO AB is no patch on N.Shah, Om Puri, Kamal Hassan or Mohan Lal). Rani Mukherjee makes the most of an author-backed role. The rest of the cast is competent.

As for the accusations of 'copy-and-paste', I have to confess that I have not seen 'The Miracle Worker'. However, if the book (of the same name) is any indication, Bhansali seems to have 'borrowed' more than a few scenes. However, I am convinced that Bhansali is too talented a director to shamelessly pilfer, like Sanjay Gupta and Mahesh Bhatt do with such aplomb and gusto!

If only Bhansali could have been a little less self-indulgent !!


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