Sunday, November 22, 2009

Black & White (Review Repost Redux)

And here is my repost of my Black & White review. Black & White is another terrorism film that dealt with Islamic terrorism (and romance) about a million times better than Kurbaan did. Anurag Sinha is miles above Saif Ali Khan in the pained look department and I'm really disappointed that he hasn't done anything since this.

Having now seen just about everything I wanted from 2008, Ghajini is at the top of my list and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na… on the bottom, Black & White falls somewhere in the middle. It’s a sweet, unpretentious film which has more in common with something like Kabul Express than the gloriously overwrought terroromances Dil Se and Fanaa.

Black & White is the story of an Afghani suicide bomber (Anurag Sinha, who was excellent). He is sent to Delhi with the identity of “Numair Qazi” – an orphan who lost his parents in the Hindu/Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002 and is looking for work. He settles in Chandni Chowk, a bustling, multi-culti section of the city where he meets Professor Mathur (Anil Kapoor) and has his black and white outlook challenged.

Haunting the entire film was the forbidding image of the Red Fort – Numair’s target. He obsesses over it, as does the camera, which cuts to the Red Fort every so often, as if to remind us of Numair’s final destination. Surprisingly subtle for Subhash Ghai, Black & White lets the audience take Numair’s reverse journey. As he begins to understand the diverse mixture of cultures that make up India and the compassion and understanding of everyday people, the viewer is given insight into Numair’s world-view. Suicide bombers are not born. They are made.

I went through a period a few years ago when I read everything I could get my hands on about terrorism (I recommend Louise Richardson’s What Terrorists Want) and the mindset still fascinates me. Terrorists are often trying to take revenge for genuine wrongs done to them – not that it justifies their actions, as Numair comes to realize. Anurag Sinha did a wonderful job as the focal point of the film. His expressions were subtle but effective. His quiet underplaying at the beginning only make the ending that much more…explosive (pardon the pun.) I would love to see more from him – and not just because the guy is super-hot.

I was also quite taken with the elderly poet who was so kind and so disappointed by the hatred and greed surrounding him. Anil Kapoor was, of course, also fabulous as the representative of middle-class activism and cultural openness – the type of guy who can afford to get an education rather than a job. It was a bit odd seeing him so dowdy and quiet, though. (We did get a small “Ha-Hey” but I miss the typical Anil LOUD outfits…)

All in all, Black & White is certainly worth at least one watch and I’m really very surprised that it managed to sink as fast as it did – it seems like the kind of film “world cinema” fans would really enjoy.


Haddock said...

I think I will have to see this.

Nicki said...

I like it too and post about it.It's definitely worth watching

j_8WwM5qjIPOJHQZA69BRwAKLwtsVSCI8Iw- said...

How does it compare to Santosh Sivan's "Terrorist" ? I highly recommend that one if you haven't already seen it.

Andromache said...

Honestly, Kurbaan looked kinda like an ego trip for Saif (as appealing as I found Kareena in the promos. :D) This does look much better, hmm...

Filmi Girl said...

@everybody Yes! Black & White is worth watching!

@andromache Hee! Now that you mention it, Kurbaan was a total ego-trip for Saifu (Making yourself "35" years old? Really, Saif? Was that so important to the script?)

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