The other day when I was flicking channels I caught a scene from the movie ‘Black’ starring Rani Mukherjee as a deaf, mute and blind charachter (a take on Helen Keller) and Amitabh Bachchan playing her eccentric teacher.
I saw this scene in which Rani Mukherjee walked like Charlie Chaplin and apparently there was nothing wrong with her feet but I guess it was a nice way to get the audience to feel sad about a poor girl. It got me thinking about the movie and names like Hellen Keller.. hmm
I remember reading about her in some school text book. She was quite the inspirational figure. Rani Mukherjee’s character looked just about tragic at best. The acting was good I guess. It won the Naitonal Award of the best film but when I first saw it and even now its always felt like going into a French Restaurant where excellent Italian cuisine was served. The movie has everything going for it.
Great cast, renowned director, great photography and a inspirational story. Hmm that word inspiration again. If you really thought about Helen Kellers life she was a person who acheived a lot more than just centering her life around a teacher and sitting on a bench feeling snowflakes. She campaigned for the Socialist Party, stood up for women’s voting rights, assisted in the founding of the iconic ACLU and travelled the world. She wrote 12 books and several articles. She did more than most people do in a life time and all this inspite of being deaf and blind.
‘Black’ was that cesspool of pity which is lauded over this girl’s charachter in the movie where all the movies ends up showing is life is tough for a deaf, mute and blind girl. I mean what the fuck? Doesnt common sense say that anywaysl? The movie shows her as a outcast who doesnt fight back or live her life on her own terms. It shows her as a outcast who clings to her teacher and thats it. The movie is melodramatic, visually brilliant piece of an excuse to be a tear jerker. It seems all the director wanted were great award winning shots, the story be damned. All the director wanted was us to feel sorry for a disabled girl. Worse the creators say Helen Kellers life was a inspiration for this movie.
Now really wiki Helen Keller again and youd go wow !! I mean heres a person who did stuff.Right through the movie there is no friend, no family member who cares about the charachter. If the family cares its only through dinner dialogues to prove that they probably care a little bit. The years of disgusting behaviour is balanced with a couple of scenes of repentence by the family and lifes peachy again.
All this makes me think about another Hindi movie called Iqbal. Its about a deaf and mute boy in a village who resists family pressure to play cricket. It ends with the kid in India colours as a fast bowler. The boys disability is never shown as a problem. You are never made to feel sorry for the kid, atleast not too much and he’s moving along towards his goals without melodrama. Yeah I rather think ‘Iqbal’ is more representative of Helen Kellers life than ‘Black’
Frankly people with disablities have it tough and we all know that. Why make them feel worse by pitying them and feeling sorry for them. Help them out if you think you can or watch how they help themselves out. Most times we have a lot to learn from them anyways. So dare I say learn from them.