Friday, July 18, 2008

Random DVD Round-Up 3 - BLACK AND WHITE

BLACK AND WHITE is the latest movie from writer-director Subhash Ghai, best known for TAAL and the relative flop, KISNA. In this film he narrows his scope and makes a relatively subdued and earnest movie, by Bollywood standards at least. Newcomer Anurag Sinha is cast as a young muslim boy, traumatised by the death of his mother at the hands of Hindu militants, and indoctrinated by Islamists. He comes to Delhi to attack the Red Fort on independence day. His clarity of purpose is muddled by two things - his attraction to a young girl of a different religion, and his friendship with a well-meaning couple played by Anil Kapoor and Shefali Shetty (best known to Western viewers for her performance in MONSOON WEDDING). Kapoor plays a deeply tolerant, intelligent Urdu professor - eager to take the boy under his wing. Shetty plays a more radical, political activist who is initially wary of the brooding young man.

The movie plays as a quiet, intelligent analysis of political corruption and the motives behind terrorist acts. It's remarkably unsensationalist and even-handed. Anil Kapoor gives a decent performance, as do Shetty and Sinha. I especially liked Sukhwinder Singh's score and Somak Mukherjee's location work in Chandi Chowk, Jama Masjid, the Red Fort and Qutab Minar. Admittedly, the plot is a little predictable, and the denoument rather melodramatic. But as Bollywood political thrillers go, BLACK AND WHITE is certainly worth a look.

BLACK AND WHITE was released in March 2008 and is now available on DVD.

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