The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Curtain Raiser

How do I go back to shooting for other films that Iím doing' Thatís how I felt after I completed Black. Sanjay has raised the bar of cinema so high I canít even raise my hand to salute what he has done

óAmitabh Bachchan

Indian cinema has a new name. Black. Today your world will transform beyond recognition. And the one responsible is none other than Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

I've never seen India's resident acting-icon so charged in my life, so raring to go, and so eager to simply work again with another filmmaker. 'If Sanjay doesn't work with me again I'll kill him,' jokes Amitabh Bachchan. And to think SLB was reluctant to approach the mighty Bachchan! 'To me, he's the ultimate star of Indian cinema. To work with him is a dream come true for every director, and why should I've been any different' says Bhansali.

Bhansali is always nervous and anxious. It's those qualities that transform his cinema into great art, time after time. It's the quality of uncertainty that certainly makes him the ultimate visionary. He's beyond any filmmaker we've had because he goes beyond all the conventional emotions that contemporary filmmakers touch to create cinema, high or low. Cinema isn't just entertainment for him. It's the poetry of life, the music of the soul and the dance of the spirit. Every frame of Black whispers to you, as every frame of Devdas shrieked at you. Between the whisper and the shriek is a world where only the lonely live. And in that isolation is the salvation for the creative artiste. In that lacuna between silence and sound is a world where Bhansali lives and dies with every work of art that he creates. 'No, this isn't the time for me to think of myself. I've to think of my baby No. 4. It's my most fragile creation.'

Amitabh says, 'I don't care about the film's box-office performance. Black is going to take Hindi cinema many steps ahead of where it is right now.'

Amitabh towers above every male performance and Rani Mukherjee will never ever be better. It's an experience that will take away bits and pieces of you. I see Indian cinema acquiring a new status globally. 'I'm not here to bend trends. But if Black touches people where it matters the most I'm happy,' says Bhansali.

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