On Monday 24 January night Sanjay Leela Bhansali organized the first screening of Black. Attended only by the Bachchan family, Rani Mukherjee’s family, the director, his mother and their close associates, the film expectedly made a stunning impact. Big B and the entire clan sat frozen in their seats for almost two hours after the film was over. Then everyone proceeded at around two in the morning for dinner to the Bachchan residence, still unwilling to exchange a word.
Says Jaya Bachchan, “This is something we’ve never experience before. Black just ends all discussion. It’s the kind of movie experience that raises the scale of our cinema so high that you cannot classify its merits. All I can say is Black proves Sanjay Leela Bhansali not only as one of the best filmmakers in India but also in the world. Both Abhishek and I instantly thought of Guru Dutt’s Kaagaz Ke Phool after the film. Rani’s performance is truly outstanding. As for Amitji I rank it as his career’s best along with Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand and Sudhendu Roy’s Saudagar. It’s been a long long time since I saw pure cinema. I just can’t get over it.”
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is both elated and apprehensive. Black was cleared on Tuesday by the censor board without a single cut. “Now it’s just a matter of days, not even weeks, and I’ve become too edgy for words.”
Speaking of words, Pritish Nandy Productions Shabd is being released on Feb. 4 along with Black. In fact a special screening of Shabd was held on the same evening as Black. And now both the films will have their premieres on the same night. Says Bhansali, “I wish Shabd all the best. After all it stars my friend Aishwarya Rai. I want her to do well in life. My only regret is, she won’t be able to attend the premiere of my film.”