16 years of 'Black': Here are some lesser-known facts
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 2005 movie Black was a path-breaking Bollywood hit, that made way for unconventional storytelling. The film was inspired by the story of American activist Helen Keller and her autobiography, The Story of My Life. The movie starred Rani Mukerji, as a deaf-blind woman, and Amitabh Bachchan as her teacher. On its 16th anniversary today, here are some lesser-known facts about Black.
Black was extremely well received by audiences and critics alike. Bachchan and Mukherji did a splendid job in telling the story of a blind-deaf student and her teacher, who taught her everything from Braille to sign-language. Released on February 4, 2005, the movie took home 11 Filmfare Awards and three National Film Awards. Bachchan won the National Film Award for his performance.
Once, Bachchan revealed that he did not charge money for Black. "I had just wanted to work with Sanjay, after seeing all other works he had done. And when the opportunity came, it was quite overwhelming. I did not take any salary for the film. Just being a part of such an enterprise, was sufficient fees," Bachchan wrote in his blog.
Before making his acting debut with Bhansali's Sawaariya, Ranbir Kapoor worked as an assistant director in Black. It was Kapoor's job to train Ayesha Kapur, who played a young Mukerji. Many years after the release of the film, Ranbir revealed that actually, it was him standing in the opening credits sequence. He stepped in for Bachchan as the legendary actor's dates were unavailable.
It is rare for a Bollywood movie to get a remake internationally but Black broke the trend. Turkish Director Ugur Yucel, remade the film with the title, Benim Dunyam, which means "My World." Upon release in 2013, the movie garnered positive reviews in Turkey as well. It invited a copyrights controversy there and eventually, the matter was settled.
Bachchan had disclosed that half-way through the schedule, a massive fire burned the sets to the ground. "Rani and I sped across to Sanjay's home to hold his hand that morning to reassure him that we would re-shoot what had been lost, again. He was quite obviously distraught and broken, but never too much to not get back up on his feet," he said.
It is said that Bhansali got the idea of making Black while working on his film Khamoshi: The Musical. He interacted with several physically challenged children for the Salman Khan-starrer. After the 1996 release tanked at the box-office, Black was put on the backburner. The movie was revived post the success of Bhansali's Devdas and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.