Sunday, February 22, 2009

Colour of Paradise

Its true that cinema does not need language to communicate. That's what i felt when i watched Majid Majidi's " The Colour of Paradise". The movie centers around a blind boy Mohammed who attends a blind school in the city. The movie starts with sounds of different tapes and the warden asking whose tape each was . students identify it as theirs and explains whose voice is taped. This is a practice perhaps where the parents tape conversations instead of writing letters to their blind children. Mohammed identifies his tape which had songs sung by his grandmother. The bond Mohammed has with his granny is revealed right from the beginning.

As all pack their stuff , Mohammed is seen taking out and displaying few gifts like a hairclip, few stickers which he tries to feel and make sure is beautiful enough.

Next day when every children wait eagerly for their parents , Mohammed is left behind with all his friends leaving for home. Finally when Mohammed's father arrives he begs the warden to keep Mohammed back as he cant manage him home, but the manager explains its a boarding school and not an orphanage , while Mohammed hugs his father and cries saying " i thought you would never come". All the way back home , Mohammed's father is seen grim faced while Mohammed is excited to meet his granny and sisters.

Mohammed's father buys two gold bangles on the way home. Mohammed is greeted by his sisters who take him to the field and he meets his granny.He gifts them what he had saved for the past few months surprising his granny with a colourful hair clip she feels is too fancy for her and later agrees to clip to her dress.

Colours of Paradise is the story of innocence, its the story of colours in a blind boy's world. Though blind what makes Mohammed different from others is his perceptive nature. There is a shot in the movie where Mohammed waiting for his father hears a bird crying and a cat moving nearby and he realises a nestling is in danger and must have fallen of the nest , the shot captures how beautifully a blind boy gets the bird and climbs a tree to put it in the nest something even people with eyes ignore.

Perhaps a quality acquired from his own grandmother. When Mohammed's grandmother leaves home after a fight with her son she is shown helping a fish which had flown in the rain to a less filled area and is struggling to breath , she lifts the fish and puts into a pond with more water.

Both the scene somehow connects the feelings of how the weak, the marginalised , the voiceless nurture those around them even in their adversity. Mohammed and granny respects the right of the weak , gives them an opportunity to life .

Mohammed's father feels lonely and wants to marry a young woman but he feels his son is an obstruction as noone would want to take care of a blind boy he slowly tries to get rid of him by taking him to a blind carpenter hoping his son will learn a trade. But Mohanmmed's grandmothers sees this as her son's selfish motive to marry getting rid of his son because of which she leaves home and gets drenched in rain, though she is brought back home she doesnt live for long and dies without seeing Mohammed.

The marriage that was fixed is called of considering marrying to such a house as ominous. Mohammed's father realises his mistake and goes back to bring Mohammed home but on their way back Mohammed falls of a bridge.

In the last sequence of the movie we see Mohammed's father struggling to save his son and hitting the shore helpless. But when he wakes he sees Mohammed lying adjacent to him and as the shot closes Mohammed is shown to be moving his fingers.

In the whole story the unhappy father considers Mohammed as a burden to his life while Mohammed qualifies every parameter perhaps one step beyond normal people. He reads in his Sister's school correcting students who pronounced wrongly, he perceives sound and is resourceful. When left to learn carpentry he proves he is capable contrasting many normal children who with sight cannot do these things deftly.
Mohammed's life is a question to the normal world as to who is blind and who should be ostracized. Is what's handicap to the majority a handicap to the affected ? Are they not more than normal with their skills honed to cope their disability?

Colours of paradise ends with many such haunting thoughts that would make us rethink how much we utilise with fuller potentials.

After all How much do we really see with a fuller sight? Can we really see the colours of paradise?

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