Everybody’s alphabet begins with “A B C D .” For the protagonists of Black it begins with ” B L A C K “. And for Sanjay Leela Bhansali it begins with ” E X C E S S”. Yes I know his alphabet has repeating letters.
“Black” also repeats itself endlessly. Bhansali lacks the touch of brevity and subtlety—-each of his scenes is overwrought and hyper-dramatic —-initially whatever impact they have is worn out as he keeps on using the same heavy-handed directorial style to squeeze tears from the audience.
“Black” was made for an international audience. It is primarily an Oscar vehicle where all the themes that traditionally please the Academy have been accommodated. It has been set in an Anglo-Saxon context so that the target audience does not feel alienated. It has been made technically compelling.
Nothing wrong so far.
What screws everything up is Mr Bhansali’s direction. His directorial style is very obtrusive so much so that it hampers the flow of the story by distracting from its theme. In Devdas and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, it was the gaudy sets and the excess of color that overpowered the audience. Over here, it’s the over-acting from the protagonists.
Most of the scenes are over-dramatic—people falling, yelling, getting dunked in water, getting slapped, throwing silverware. Amitabh is the worst culprit in the hamming department—-he delivers his dialogues with a Mephistophelean glee———–which though appropriate in a movie like Aankhen stands out like a sore thumb in a somber movie like “Black”. The fault is not Mr Bachchan’s —-it is Bhansali who feeds him over-the-top scenes where over-acting is inevitable.
“Black” is a huge let-down. The reviews had me believe that it was a masterpiece and a watershed movie in Hindi filmdom. It is anything but.
A technically polished weepy is all that I can call it.