5 Jun 2014

#66 Movie Review


Released in:4th Feb, 2005

Directed by: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Produced by:Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Anshuman Swami

Starring:  McNelly’s Family- Rani Mukherjee as Michelle McNally
Ayesha Kapoor as Young Michelle McNally
 Dhritiman Chaterjee as Paul McNally(Michelle’s father)
Shenaz Patel as Catherine McNally (Michelle’s mother)
Nandana Sen as Sara McNally(Michelle’s younger sister)
Amitabh Bachhan as Debraj Sahai (Michelle’s teacher)

Protagonist: Michelle McNally

Duration: 2 hours

Ratings: (self) 5/5

Awards: Time Magazine (Europe) selected the film as one of the 10 Best Movies of the Year 2005 from across the globe. The movie was positioned at number five. Apart from this, it could also bag several other awards like National Film Awards(2006),Filmfare Awards(2006), Star Screen Awards(2006), IIFA Awards(2006), Zee Cine Awards(2006) and the list continues..

Theme: Based on the life of Hellen Keller( the first blind and deaf lady to get graduated) [Find my review of the book "The story of my life by Hellen Keller here..:) http://www.creative-constellation.blogspot.in/2014/02/book-review.html

Review: The story begins with the voice of the lead character Michele, in her forties, introducing herself as a deaf and blind and also praising her teacher who has made her what she is today. He has converted all impossibilities into possibilities. She reflects on her recent past and describes how God was merciful upon her and helped her in tracing her lost teacher who means life to her. The teacher has been attached by Alzheimer and is incapable of recalling anything. Michelle has been shown making numerous efforts to make him recall everything and at the same time reflects back on those golden days with her teacher.   Now, the story goes into the flashback.

McNally consists of Paul McNally and Catherine McNally. The couple becomes very happy with the birth of their elder daughter Michelle but their happiness is short lived as they get to hear the tragic news that Michelle has lost the sensation of seeing and hearing ; she is blind and deaf. This news completely shatters the couple.

Michelle grows up to be a stubborn girl who can not communicate with the world surrounding her and is often regarded as a mentally retarded child. This concerns McNallys who want Michelle to get admitted to an institute for deaf and blind. In that dark period of their life, a savior Mr.Sahay enters the scene who has been experienced in teaching the blind and deaf children. Mr.Sahay gets to know about Michelle form his friend Mrs.Nair.

Paul McNally believes that only magician can take his daughter away from this ever expanding darkness. When Mr.Sahay enters the house of McNally’s, he discovers Michelle under the bed with a toy and is annoyed at the concept of a bell tied to her waist. Mr.Sahay conditions that Michelle should be left completely to him so that he can start the training. He’s way of handling Michelle seems quite harsh and dissatisfies Paul McNally who , in no way, wants Mr.Sahay to teach his daughter but Mr. Sahay does not want to leave his work in the midway .

When Paul McNally goes out of the town, in his absence he convinces Catherine McNally to leave Michelle under his shelter and promises her to leave before Paul returns back after 20 days. He then begins his teaching by introducing the alphabets B L A C K. Later, he helps Michelle to pronounce by keeping her hands in his lips while he speaks. He believes that Michelle should be given the knowledge of words so that she can express herself completely. He writes the alphabets in his hands to let her get acquainted with it. In this way, he makes several untiring efforts to help Michelle lead a normal life. Michelle has made friendship with her new teacher and started enjoying his companionship.
Now, the day of return of Mr.McNally arrives. In spite of several requests made by Mrs.McNelly to Mr.Sahay to leave the house , he claims that few hours are still left for the completion of 21 days as per his words and does not leave. Mr.McNally on arriving finds Mr.Sahay still in his house and this infuriates him. He immediately asks him to leave. Disappointed teacher takes Michelle outside the house and lets her feel the atmosphere. His joy no bounds when he finds Michelle identifying few things from the surrounding by using the correct words for them. The call of ‘Maa’ and ‘Papa’ make McNally extremely happy who now starts to feel confidence in the way of teaching of Mr.Sahay. But an important and a long drawn relation was yet to be called by Michelle i.e. T E A C H E R.

Now, the scene of the celebration of Christmas flashes before the viewers and Michelle grabs the limelight as she has been shown dancing with a singer gleefully in the stage. Michelle is in her youth now and so is her younger sister Sara who has been portrayed as a jealous sister. There Mr.Sahay introduces Michelle to the principal of a university and expresses his desire to get Michelle admitted in that University. The principal, on seeing the deprivation of Michelle, refuses but later agrees to give her the chance to pursue higher studies under a condition that she will have to appear the viva conducted by a panel of teachers of that university.

The day of viva comes and Michelle is successful enough to impress the panel through the clarity of her thoughts and expression. This helps her to secure a place for herself in that university. This great news overwhelms everyone very much.

So, the scene of Michelle leaving for the university comes into before the eyes of the viewers with her all time companion her teacher Mr.Sahay who has been shown consoling her parents. Now, Michelle lands in the reign of her aspiration and hopes. She has been gifted with a stick by her teacher who thinks that the stick is going to provide. There also, Michelle is accompanied by his teacher who helps her understanding the lecture in the classroom by unceasingly writing the words in her hands. He would never stop until he finishes a book to Michelle. This way a strong relationship between a teacher and a student develops without voice in due course of time. Michelle starts enjoying the life but the wicked part is that she is unable to compete with other students and fails. Every year she fails but still tries because of the constant encouragement from her teacher who has never taught her something like IMPOSSIBLE.

On the day of her graduation, she is invited to express herself. She steps forward to the dais and speaks about the story of her struggle with her all time guide his teacher. She narrates that how hard she tried in last 12 years to complete her Bachelors. Every year her teacher took her to that hall during the ceremony of Convocation to witness the importance of the moment.  It has always been his teacher’s wish to see her in that black rob. She expresses her agony about the absence of his teacher who has been admitted to the hospital. She meets him after the function gets over and they both celebrate her success. In the end she becomes successful enough to make her teacher pronounce that (first) word; water that she had been once made to pronounce by her teacher.

So the movie ends with the voice of Michelle at the backdrop writing Mrs.Nair about her stand in educating the blind and deaf with the same approach that had been used by her own teacher, with the alphabets B L A C K.  


My views: Out of all the movies that I’ve ever watched this movie is the best of all with unparalleled dialogues and execution of the theme. It very well describes the relationship of a teacher with his student. Teachers are the path finders, teachers are the real Gods on Earth who bear the ability of making his students realize their own worth. They act as the source of light among the prevalent darkness of ignorance. Yes, we are ignorant of our own selves and need to be reminded of our own strength. So, I dedicate this review to all the teachers of my life starting with my parents- my first teachers. I always feel grateful to have come across many wonderful teachers in my life who have influenced me a lot. They have always been a great source of inspiration and encouragement for me.

I could very well connect myself to the characters because I had already gone through the autobiography of Hellen Keller, “The Story Of My Life”, Rani Mukherjee playing the role of Helen Keller and Amitabh Bachhan playing the role of Anne Sullivan. So, the story mainly revolves around the life of Michelle and a strong character Debraj Sahai.  

Every actor has enacted in the best possible way. All have given justice to their assigned roles. Starting with Ayesha Kapoor as Young Michelle has done a great job and so has Rani Mukherjee. Dhritiman Chaterjee’s role as a stubborn and strict father, Shenaz Patel’s role as a caring and concerned mother and Nandana Sen’s role as a jealous younger sister are commendable. Amitabh Bachhan’s role as a responsible teacher is unmatched. The synchronicity of other supporting actors in the movie makes this movie phenomenal. It’s the high level of acting of each actor in the movie that makes each role look so natural. That may be one of the reasons of the great success of this movie.   The culture of a Christian family has been very meticulously portrayed. This movie has got only one song. The soothing back ground music fulfills the requirement of the song and maintains the required ambiance of the scenes quite well. There have been numerous emotional scenes sensible enough to moisten the eyes of the viewers. This movie arouses the sensibility of the spectators towards the differently-abled people of the society. They are like us, yes they are. All they need from us is a helping hand and a concerned heart to help them convert impossibilities into possibilities. In the words of Hellen Keller, “Alone we can do little, together we can do much”.  So, this movie sends home a very strong message that “There is nothing impossible in the world for those whose work hard and dream.”

In the nutshell, this movie has got all the ingredients of what is called a super hit movie and definitely a must watch.

A motivational quote to end this article, “Destiny belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams and have courage to pursue it. Don’t stop when you are tired, stop when you are done”.

Swati Sarangi 


  1. You have very well captured the essence of this movie. Great work!

    1. It is a LONG LONG review, I admit.. i just could not shorten it.... Anyways..Thanks for reading it and commenting..:)

  2. really good review of a really classic movie. Apart from being inspired by Hellen Keller's autobiography it borrows some of its excerpts from " On Different Roads " the autobiography of Deaf-Mute pianist Geradine Lawhorn.

    1. Thank you for reading this review and providing additional information .:) will surely go through "On different roads" later..