In the later half of the interview, the cine-czar crowns Rani's effort in Black as being unsurpassable, rubs thought on why we should stop pining for the Oscars and deconstructs Sanjay Bhansali as India's most remarkable filmmaker...
I think the biggest triumph of Bhansali is to have made an audacious effort like Black seem so desirable. What do you think?
I quite agree. It's extremely brave that post a Devdas he had the courage to make Black. It may not have rainbow colors but has some of the most towering moments that you'll ever witness. There are no songs but the script doesn't let you feel the loss.
Talking of music, each frame has an innate lyricism embedded in it. What do you think?
Yes I am with you. The background score stands in full support of the mood and moment of the film.
Can we talk about your co-actor Rani?
Sure. I think Rani is brilliant in the film. She has brought a rare breed of spontaneity to the role. I have always admired her work but she has surpassed herself with Black. For a leading lady of her dimension to do a film where she has nothing to mouth and pull it off with conviction is commendable.
Sanjay tells us, 'After watching Mr. Bachchan act, I can't direct another actor for atleast 5 years. I am his slave'. How do you react to this remark?
I think Sanjay is being very kind to me. He can surprise you, shock you, and amaze you. He can pick on points that might have gone otherwise unnoticed. There were times when he would enact out the scene and we did have to just re create it. Sanjay's vision, his sense of aesthetics is untouched. He can create an unbelievable ambience, which makes it so much easier for us actors to emote in.
Can you share us one poignant moment that has stayed with you?
It's the entire film. And it's wonderful how they wrote and devised those scenes. The journey has been truly remarkable!
The film is being flagged as India's ticket to the Oscars. Your take on the speculation… And more importantly, do Oscars have to be the barometer of excellence in Indian cinema?
Not at all, I have strongly felt against it. Fine, it is a prestigious award given by the West. But this itching desire to be recognized by the West is what bothers me. Why this constant need to bag an Oscar? It's not going to happen. We are not their tribe, culture or color. Do we make movies with Bratt Pitt and Meryl Streep? No.
Do we ask when will Tom Cruise win a Filmfare? The answer is no. Black is a fabulous film and we need to honor and recognize that. If another country were to call & felicitate us, we would very happily go there. But to say that Oscars is the 'be all and end all', I am not party to that thought.
Sanjay tells us that 'Black has changed me'. What has Black done to you?
(Takes a long pause) Gosh! Black has shown me the potential that a director like Sanjay Bhansali is capable of. And I am quite sure that Black is just the beginning. Black is just the fountainhead of Sanjay's turning into possibly India's finest filmmaker.
The kind of energy and creativity that Sanjay has is unfathomable. His vision about things, people, and emotions is simply unmatchable. Black remains as my most rewarding experience till date. The film has taken me uncharted territory. I have confronted emotions and feelings that I thought didn't exist. I want to thank Sanjay for having presented me with the most enriching experience I have felt. I am extremely pleased with this film. But I hope to be challenged even further…