Starring Rani Mukerji, Amitabh Bachchan, and directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Black is now streaming on Netflix.
It is not every day that we witness and celebrate a movie’s re-release after almost two decades of its theatrical run, and what the reception is like is the first time an entire section of the audience is witnessing it. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black has finally found a concrete digital home 19 years after its official release, and that very fact is hard to process because a movie that is a breathing masterpiece in Indian cinema has been away from the audience for such a long time. Better late than never. Now as it hits Netflix, the world is getting introduced to the magic anew, and we are thankful. But do you know the behind-the-scenes trivia of Black are as interesting as the film?
Based on the real-life story of Helen Keller, Sanjay Leela Bhansali made poetry of darkness where a blind and deaf woman finds a hand that helps her walk towards the light and feel it even when she cannot see it. Starring Rani Mukerji as Michelle and Amitabh Bachchan as her teacher, Black was a movie that touched every soul that saw it. An emotional story meeting Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s aesthetics created a magic that left everyone fascinated. And those acting performances were just the cherry on top.
But while Black was a masterpiece on screen, a whole lot happened behind it and it is equally fascinating. Today as we celebrate as the magnum opus finally finds a home, let’s revisit five interesting facts and trivia about this movie that needs to be watched by everyone. Read on before you tune into Netflix to catch the Rani Mukerji and Amitabh Bachchan starter.
Amitabh Bachchan gave an era-defining performance in Black. He taught all the actors what range is, and his performance as Professor Sahai is precious and will remain to be. But did you know that he didn’t even charge a penny for the role and did it for free? Well, the megastar himself in an interview confirmed that he was fascinated by the world Sanjay Leela Bhansali creates and always wanted to be a part of it to experience how he does what he does. So when the opportunity knocked on his doors, Big B decided to surrender himself with no numbers involved between them.
Black was right before Saawariya in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s filmography, and the latter is where Ranbir Kapoor made his big Bollywood debut with Sonam Kapoor. But only a few know that the two worked as Assistant Directors on the sets of Black before that. While Ranbir was in charge of training Ayesha Kapoor, who played young Michelle. But when during the shoot of the opening credit scene Amitabh Bachchan wasn’t available to shoot, Ranbir Kapoor stepped into his shoes and gave the shot as his body double.
This wasn’t the first time Sanjay Leela Bhansali was dealing with a physical disability in his films. The filmmaker made his debut with a film that had a mute and deaf couple at the center of it with a daughter who was a singer. It was during the shoot of Khamoshi The Musical starring Salman Khan and Manisha Koirala that Bhansali stumbled upon the idea of making Black.
Black also became a trendsetter in a very unique way. While it was the year when filmmakers were on a fast track to remake foreign language movies into Hindi, here was a film that was Hindi and was being remade into a Turkish film. Ugur Yucel remade Black in Turkish and renamed it Benim Dunyam, which in English means My World. Released in 2013, the Turkish remakes also garnered a positive reception and were appreciated by many.
Not many know this, but the sets of Black were destroyed in a massive fire mid-way shoot. In one of his interviews, Amitabh Bachchan recalled the incident and the aftermath where he met a heartbroken Sanjay Leela Bhansali and convinced him that they would stand again and reshoot and make the movie they envisioned. We are thankful they could stand strong again and make Black happen.
Black is now streaming on Netflix. Stay tuned to OTTplay for more content like this and everything else from the world of streaming and films.