Bhansali unveils ?Black? magic
Scheduled to open in December, and not as a niche art house film but a full commercial venture, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black is arguably the most eagerly awaited film of the year.
It's the maverick moviemaker's first film since the much-extolled Devdas in 2002. The magnum opus fetched Bhansali every critical and commercial award in the country and established him as the most magical movie creator in Bollywood.
So what level of magic has Bhansali moved to now?
Having made three films – first, the critically acclaimed but commercial unsuccessful Khamoshi: The Musical followed by the super-duper hit Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (considered by many Bhansali fans as his best work to date), it was the his third film Devdas that designated Bhansali as the epic storyteller of Hindi cinema with a vision to match his emotional depth.
Bhansali's next project was meant to be another grand musical period film. However, the historical Bajirao Mastani, which was to star Salman Khan (a very close friend of Bhansali who played the lead in the director's enchanting love triangle Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam) and Kareena Kapoor, got delayed for various reasons including Salman's dates.
The creative restless spirit that he is, Bhansali decided to make a small bilingual non-musical that would allow him to break free from the epic mould of
But Black turned out to be neither small nor a bilingual. Budgeted at nearly Rs. 200 million ("This is as small as I can get," laughs the director) and made only in the Hindi ("I dropped the English version because the emotions sounded right only in Hindi"), Black is expected to take its director to an altogether new plane of passion and perfection.
Originally designed as an intimate epic depicting the unlikely but passionate relationship between a physically challenged girl, played by Rani Mukherjee, and her volatile teacher, Amitabh Bachchan, Black has turned out to be historical on many counts.