Two actors and their 'blind' powergames

Michelle, her body twisted with helpless longing, asks her teacher, “Will you kiss me, please?” His age does not matter to her. He is the only man who she has known at such proximity, the one who has taught her – a blind, deaf, mute girl – to understand words by feeling them on her hands and through those tortured breaths that throw up disjointed sounds when fingers touch her mouth.

Her life may be the colour of a moonless night, as Sanjay Leela Bhansali has shown so brilliantly in the film Black, but within her the storms have shades and layers that she is trying to grope with. “Will you kiss me, please?” she pleads with the one man who understands her suffocation. He turns his face away only to return his gaze and see her bundled up in the chair, knowing that no man will give her physical love ever. He holds her and gently brushes his lips against hers. Next morning he disappears. As she says later, “He gave me the respect of a woman, but felt too ashamed of his act…”

She internalises her gratitude, tapping away on a Braille typewriter, a sound she does not hear, and smiles with lips that she herself cannot see. She can only feel the denial, the weight of holding back…

This was my opinion on the film that I had written about. My views were based on hands-on experience with people with disability. As I wrote then…

During a demonstration on one White Cane Day, I had joined the group. The local corporator and another politician asked some of us to come along to Jogger’s park. It was around 8 pm and dark. While the rest of the lot were huddled in conversation, Arpan Singh and I decided to take a stroll on the mud-track. I was wearing heels so I had to tread carefully. To Arpan all walking places were the same, and darkness and light made no difference.

Suddenly, he stretched out his arm and touched a leaf. “There is so much greenery here,” he said. In the dark I, the sighted, could not see any greens. “It is wet,” his voice trailed off as he ran his hands over the foliage. We reached the low wall and sat for a while. He was swaying gently as one would to the music of the swelling tides as he inhaled the scent of flowers of the night. I did not wish to interrupt his reverie, but when his face broke into a smile, I told him that the waves and the fragrance were indeed overpowering and soothing.

“No,” he said. “I have been thinking about those wet leaves.”

The touch of night-dew had not left him.

- - -

It is disturbing to see Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan battling it out about the sensitivities of such cellulouid portrayal. Both are smart businessmen, and Aamir has a film based on children and their needs due for release, his first directorial venture. It is disgusting to rake this issue up now only to tell us that he is sensitive. And just in case they don’t know most people with disabilities are treated in a horrible manner.

Here is what the two actors have to say about the film…

Aamir Khan: “I didn't like the film. I found it very insensitive, it sends out very wrong signals. It was extremely manipulative…Most importantly, it was about a child who had these problems, an alcoholic person comes and says you have to leave her alone with me for forty days, and he slaps her around. I don't know of any parent who'd agree to that. Black reminded me of The Taming Of The Shrew, and I found that very disturbing. It was a film about 'I can teach a bear how to dance’.''

Amitabh Bachchan, who won a National Award for his work in Black:''If Aamir is unhappy with this, let him demonstrate otherwise. I would be keen and anxious to educate myself on any prospective change that he might introduce to cinema. With due respect, all the films that he features in and that I have had the great pleasure in watching, have all adhered to the very qualities that he dislikes in Black. From using the distinct handicap, or to be politically correct, challenged condition, of a crippled human in his cricket team in Lagaan, to the 'sensitivities' of a blind girl in Fanaa.”


  1. FV:

    Sensibility -- Refined sensitivity to pleasurable or painful impressions

    Sensitivity -- The ability to respond to affective changes in your interpersonal environment

    Aamir or Amitabh - its only the green colour of the lucre that speaks for them (green is eco-friendly). Their opinions don't matter but they count. Your opinion matters but doesn't count. That's the unfortunate part about arithmetics in life...

  2. Blog
    Good analysis of top Bollywood stars...
    I am so very out of touch with Indian films but only b/c of your blogs I got to be interested in Indian film industry as you make these blogs quite interesting for us, readers.

    PS:-I am extremely depressed and sad these days, I feel extreme loneliness and emptiness which I never felt before in my life. Reason unknown, trying my best to cope up with these feelings....May be this phase will be over....that's the main reason I don't find enough energy to respond to your blogs like I used to do . I hope you won't miss my persistent presence. I always read your blogs though.

    Take care

    Will try to respond your blogs as I used to do before.....

  3. PS:

    Never been good at math...matter matters and Counts count, and we aren't royalty here, so who matters and who counts??!


    I try to write about things I feel matter to our environment.

    Re. depression and loneliness I fully understand. I am in fact going through a very reclusive phase. All I can say is that for me writing acts as catharsis, am not sure if it flushes it out but at least it simmers less.

    If you recall a few months ago i had written on melancholia quite a bit...there are days when I don't feel like doing anything, and it really isn't laziness. One of the main reasons is being intense and sensitive to the point where you forget to see reason. Mind you, I am commenting on myself and not judging you or your situation.

    It is touching that you still feel inclined to visit here. Truly. If I were to advise anyone in such a frame of mind, it would be to avoid this place because there can be too much probing of depths which you may not wish to encounter...or maybe the resonance is comforting? I should hope so.

    Do take care of yourself, and maybe something to make you smile...

    A covering note that said:
    "I am enclosed herewith..."

  4. FV
    Thank you for making me smile.


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