Black and White poster

Black and White

wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)

quick review:

A compilation of absolutely boring lectures delivered by largely dull characters. A half-decent plot ain't good enough to make a gripping movie.

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Director: Subhash Ghai
Running time: 135 minutes
Genres: Social, Terrorism
More Movie Info

Black and White - Preview

After a drought of 3 weeks, will Black & white serve as a welcome relief or yet another one to maintain one arm's distance from?

The synopsis at the official site sets up an interesting premise -

What does 'BLACK AND WHITE' mean? Two colours? Two extremes? Two polarities? Obviously about contrasts, 'BLACK AND WHITE' epitomises the 'black and white' psyche - a psyche that refuses to see the shades beyond the two. A mind that is literally 'colour-blind'. Imagine when the colours of rainbow confront a man whose mind has always been conditioned to see only black and white ...

Let's just hope that not all characters see either black or white and they have shades of gray that people sitting in the audience can believe, if not identify with.

It's going to be difficult to talk about a Subhash Ghai product without remembering the well-deserved early demise of his earlier products Yaadein and Kisna. Carrying that wariness in their minds, many in the audience are going to be skeptical of Black & White even if the man himself claims it to be "different".

... It is nothing short of an earth-shaking experience. Same can be said about of my experience while making such a realistic film - which confronted my psyche with new never-before nuances - be it the story, the characters, the conflict, the drama or the final resolution. It has left me emotionally elevated - a different kind of elevation from mainstream cinema.

Moreover, Black & White threatens to be a lecture.

'BLACK AND WHITE' is an emotional Drama that entertains for sure but leaves the audience with a lofty message for all humanity - in search of harmony amidst diversity. In that sense 'BLACK AND WHITE' is an idea whose time has come. Just what the world needs perhaps.

Oh well, time will tell soon enough, what we have in store. Meanwhile, I am going to remind myself of the movies the movie that I grew up with - Karz, Vidhaata, Hero, Meri Jung, Karma, Ram Lakhan - Movies that certainly weren't art personified, but they entertained me then. I have grown and so must have a huge portion of the audience. Let's hope the maker of these films has too.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Haven't we had an overdose of movies based on religious fanaticism and associated terrorism already? May be not...Okay, haven't we had more than our share of stories told in the same mundane fashion? I say enough already!

First credit where it's due. The base story is not bad at all. It has its interesting plot-twists. The sub-plots sort-of flowed into each other too!! The other thing that I enjoyed was the music. Unfortunately, this list stops here.

The battle is completely lost in the filling-in of the details. The characters cannot be called underdeveloped, but they are unbelievably one-dimensional. One character is just shot out of the plot just about when his character could have done something interesting. It is hard to digest when a character behaves the exact same way when he is being friendly with someone and when a close relative passes away. Even if he is the modern-day Gandhi. How can one be speechlessly grieving in shock in one moment and lecturing on tolerance in the other.

Almost each character spieling out speech after speech on either tolerance or intolerance, doesn’t help either. Each lecture consists of the same old, mind-numbing lines. Each line being repeated begs us to be thankful if they are two different sentences saying the same thing. Because at other times, the same words are repeated - asking us to be sympathetic towards the dialogue writer for being creatively-challenged. And one character who certainly shouldn't have been encouraged was the "poet" grandfather figure. The lyrics were just inane, sir, let alone inspirational.

Anil Kapoor certainly has a wider range of expressions than this. Anurag Sinha again, has a great voice but a very monotonous style of delivering dialogues. Shefali Chaya should be admired for trying her best to maintain composure while playing a rather loud character. I would still blame the character development for the lackluster performances. They had a very good reason to pick a tone and stick to it - the script has no variation in their character!

There is one redeeming factor in this whole set-up - we have seen much, much worse from Subhash Ghai

- meeta, a part of the audience

25 reviewers(?) - 6 yays 9 so-so 10 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, B4U TV : ...While the cinematography is wonderful so is the soulful music by Sukhwinder Singh... full review

Thumbs up, by Fatema H Kagalwala, Business of Cinema : ...Despite umpteen temptations to theorize, sermonise and take sides the film masterfully resists all of them... full review

Thumbs up, by Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times : ...If you're impressed by this zoom-in on a suicide bomber (Anurag Sinha), it's because it touches upon that rarely-discussed aspect of fanaticism... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...Directorially, Ghai rises beyond the script and has canned a number of sequences well.... full review

Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...The ever-excellent Anil Kapoor gets to sink his teeth into a fine role and delivers a strong performance, with more than his share of emotionally high-strung moments.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...While the film attempts to glimpse into the thinking of a suicide bomber, it also goes onto a parallel track of patriotism.... full review

So-So, by Aparajita Ghosh, Apun Ka Choice : ...Black And White’ could easily have fallen into the trap of being a preachy film.... full review

So-So, by Preeti Arora, Buzz18 : ...Full credit to Ghai and his courageous attempt at experimenting with a new genre and drastically changing his style of direction!... full review

So-So, by Angel Rani, Deccan Herald : ...What peps up the show is vintage wine Anil Kapoor with a performance only actors of his breed can pull off.... full review

So-So, by Martin D'souza, : ...Anurag Sinha is coldness personified; he emotes well with his eyes and body language... full review

So-So, by Nikhat Kazmi, IndiaFM : ...A word about debutant Anurag Sinha: too linear a performance to impress.... full review

So-So, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ... A kind of monotony sets in with the one-dimensional approach of the story and repetitive shots of Dilli gully, metro trains, Numair’s black pathani attire and the professor’s super safed poshak (perhaps the director’s way of symbolizing the Black and White characters).... full review

So-So, by Subhash K Jha, Now : ...And what was the need to make Anil-Shefali's little daughter mute? Maybe Ghai wanted us to take the Black part of his film's title seriously.... full review

So-So, by Hanumant Bhansali, Radio Sargam : ...Milind Gunaji is good... full review

Thumbs down, by Jaspreet Pandohar, BBC : ...A MOCKERY OF AN IMPORTANT MATTER... full review

Thumbs down, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...Black & White is itself all black and white – an all-upper-case, yellow-highlighted, 48-point-size plea for communal harmony with zero subtlety, zero shades of grey... full review

Thumbs down, by Aaina Sharma, Bollywood Mantra : ...There are several unwanted diversions like the romantic track which does not fit well into the film... full review

Thumbs down, by Smriti Mudgal, DearCinema : ...You want to shoot yourself for not believing the critics who warned you enough to not watch the movie... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, Mumbai Mirror : ...He hasn't much of a revealing story to tell or full-bodied characters to engage with, nor a control over craft to weave either into a coherent film; never mind a powerful one... full review

Thumbs down, : ...The biggest culprit in the movie was its deja vu predictable script.... full review

Thumbs down, by Jahan Bakshi, Now : ...If 'Kisna' and 'Yaadein' weren't proof enough, Subhash Ghai's latest film puts it literally in 'Black & White'- the man is clearly past his prime.... full review

Thumbs down, by Jaykumar Shah, Planet Bollywood : ...A clichéd, if I may use the word, pathetic characterization, a terrible screenplay ...and a dragging treatment to the movie take all the focus off of the good intentions that the movie had.... full review

Thumbs down, Upper Stall : ...Anil Kapoor tries hard to rise above constraints beyond his control, but a sketchy screenplay lets him down repeatedly.... full review

Thumbs down, Urge to Fly : ...While it is a little embarrassing to re-discover that I used to write in such a clichéd and blatantly sermonizing manner, it helps me be a little more charitable towards the film... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

5 readers - 1 yays 2 so-so 2 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by

So-So, by Consumer Goods

So-So, by

Nay! Thumbs Down, by

Nay! Thumbs Down, by

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

A Jihadi (Anurag Sinha) is sent to India to blow up the Red Fort in Delhi on Independence day. Does he succeed? What he goes through? Watch if you must in Black and White.

What Worked

  • One slight fraction of a scene where time was spent in explaining the economics of fanaticism.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • The "Haay Allah" song hardly had any audible strings but the guy on screen was strumming away.
  • Anil Kapoor's make-up.
  • Screen-time given to Gafar bhai (grandfather) was just way too much. It didn't add anything to the end product.
  • Cuts of Anurag Sinha's still photographs that looked like they were clicked for the promos being inserted in the "main chala" song - very amateurish.

Black and White - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Supporting Cast:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Running time:
135 minutes

Comments (2)

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laboured, amateurish, dumbed-down, over-simplistic.
i had sworn off Ghai after Kisna...should've stuck with that. i think he should either stick to his masala entertainers or quit.
Anurag has a good screen presence but apart from a couple of outbursts all he had to do was stand still, hands folded.
the only redeeming factor for me was Habib Tanvir. love his voice.

Dude was it really an overdose? Give me a list of 10 such overdoses if you can!

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