Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Black & White



Rating : 4/10
Running Time : ~120 Minutes
Release Date : 7th Mar ‘08
Director & Writer : Subhash Ghai ; Music : Sukhwinder Singh
Starring : Anil Kapoor, Anurag Sinha, Shefali Shah, Habib Tanvir


There is something about religious fundamentalism which is so alien to my constitution that this movie made me uneasy – it wasn’t pleasant watching. It traces the story of Nuwair, a muslim fundamentalist, raised in Afghanistan, who has come to India to be a suicide bomber at the Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort on 15th August and stays with some sympathizers / ‘relatives’ in Chandini Chowk (area in Delhi, near Red Fort).

One day, in a chance encounter, he meets Professor Mathur, renowned professor of Urdu in a university and a well respected and well connected personality of the area. Due to various reasons, Numair realizes he has to make friends with the professor and needs his help to make his plan successful. What happens, how does his plan fructify and how does his relationship develop with the professor and his firebrand wife, is the focus of most of the movie.

One thing that comes through quite clearly is how lucky we are that most Muslims living in India are not fundamentalists. Numair, shown to be a quiet, intense and very narrow minded in his thinking is quite perturbed to find music, dancing, drinking and even mixing with Hindu’s, quite common amongst his support group. I was lucky to experience this close-hand in Bangladesh as well – to find most Muslims there very chilled out, relaxed unlike the rabid fundamentalists of the Gulf.

I think where the movie really lets itself down though is in its overall amateurnishness. There is a lack of slickness, its jerky, the acting of most of the people is either over the top or very B-grade. And the sets are almost laughable (especially the Afghanistan bits). The dialogue is quite ordinary, again doesn’t flow smoothly with very few exchanges sticking in your memory – there was a real opportunity missed here to have some philosophical exchanges between the professor / his wife and Numair. The songs are good, some quite hummable.

So, a movie which makes you squirm, made me uneasy for most parts. The ending is quite irrational, a bolt from the blue. Something interesting conceptually but it fails to fulfill its true potential. Noble intentions, but there was something amiss in the overall package…

3 comments:

Abhimanyu said...

Appreciate ur review, but the feelings he had for Shefali Shah in the end of the movie was appreciable as living with them, he understood the meaning of relationships and that was the turning point coz it made him change his mind for what he had come to India. So to control terrorism, v should not kill the person but kill his soch (thoughts).
Raashi

Anonymous said...

Well, I do not have plans of watching Black and White after I read your review.. Was on my must watch list until I read your reviews.. Thank you as i wouldn't have enjoyed one bit if I had attempted to watch it.. Rgds, Bee

Anonymous said...

Well, I do not have plans of watching Black and White after I read your review.. Was on my must watch list until I read your reviews.. Thank you as i wouldn't have enjoyed one bit if I had attempted to watch it.. Rgds, Bee