‘Sparsh’ is the ultimate classic or best ever Hindi film portraying the blind and amongst the best Hindi films ever. Energy of the blind taken to mystical  proportions with touches of genius

‘Sparsh’  made in 1980 is possibly the best ever Hindi film in my view championing the blind or of any handicapped person. It makes us understand that morally impaired people are even stronger or have a deeper spiritual dimension than normal people. Arguably no film ever in such a subtle manner illustrates the relationship of impaired people, the flux in their relationships,. or their inner dynamics of blind children. The response and behaviour of the blind children in the school touch the very core of the soul of an audience. I would class it as simply directorial genius by Sai Paranjpye.The feelings of blind children are reflected at the deepest depth, echoing their very aspirations.  The film projects the capability of blind children at maximum magnitude. Humanism was scaled to heavenly proportions.

There could hardly have ever been a better example of how the pair of  Anirudh  played by Naseeruddin Shah and Kavita Prasad played by Shabana Azmi who made the most perfect acting combination in progressive movies. I would class it as simply directorial genius. Even the Golden age of films in my view has not surpassed work in this context be it of Guru Dutta,Bimal Roy or Raj Kapoor. In terms of direction or scene dissection., it was simply a perfect film.Inspite of such a mellowed tone of dialogue it could ignite a spark in the heart of every member of an audience.

The movie brilliantly knits the plot of a small cast from the time of first meeting of Anirudh  Parmar acted by Naseeruddin Shah andand Kavita Prasad played by Shabana Azmi The  first meeting ,to bonding in the school, to the circumstances of the break up and finally to how the two are brought back into the fold of relationship. I have rarely seen a film of such at theme crystallize to such depths. The songs also superbly intervene to give effect to the story. Such films enable a viewer to think for himself rather than being carried away. Even if sensitive it washes away melodrama and sentimentalism. I appreciate that the film carries on with scarce expressions of emotion and still traverse spiritual dimensions.

The movie brilliantly contrasts the subtle distinction between Love and sacrifice. and that guidance and compassion are simply a different cup of tea from pity..It portrays how love has a spiritual essence while sacrifice remains within psychological boundaries. Naseerudin Shah as principal Anirudh simply abhors the blind being pitied or given empathy.

As a principal Anirudh enacted by Naseeruddin Shah reveals great insight into the character of Kavita enacted by Shabana Azmi in terms of understanding her motives. Kavita is the victim of a broken marriage and thus psychologically in the depths of despair. Most artistically the film portrays the change in school Principal Anirudh’s life after the intervention of Kavita  and the bonding force that binds them..The contrast in their characters and the ebb and flow or synthesis in their relationship is most aesthetically projected .The chemistry developed between the two people impaired in different ways, or the link between them is depicted with the mastery rare to find in a Hindi films. The manner their bond intensifies  gives vibrations in sublime proportions .Two persons earlier striving for secluded existence were pulled together with magnetic effect.

One could not get the slightest touches of  Naseeruddin Shah as Anirudh being blind.Infact he looked more energetic and receptive than even a normal person. His scenes in conversations with Shabana Azmi are heart touching elevating blending of romance and sensitivity to magnitude of rare level.Inspite of not the slightest touch of melodrama their love gave vibrations of a lotus in full bloom,posessing poetic grace.

The central theme is Anirudh enacted by Naseeruddin Shah wishing to become a part of the mainstream of society and showing any signs of flaring up only when getting empathy for blindness.Naseerudin Shah when taken to the well of sympathy pledges to force himself into isolation. Anirudh infact generally wishes to isolate himself more and more till Kavita turn s into his life.

It is poignant the manner Naseerudin Shah rebukes Shabana Azmi for her method of teaching by rote and expressing pity for the blind children. With conviction of sublime proportions he expresses the sin of pity.

There could hardly have ever been a better example of how the pair of Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi made the most perfect acting combination in progressive movies. Inspite of such a mellowed tone of dialogue it could ignite a spark in the heart of every member of an audience. I would credit the cast for being so much into the skin of the character, being as natural as the flow of stream water or leaves fluttering .I doubt any actor could ever don the mantle or portray a blind man as the equal of anyone as Naseeruddin Shah. He simply took the energy of a blind man to regions untraversed in Hindi films. or mystical proportions. To it has overtones of genius.I doubt any actress could have surpassed the sheer composure or detachment of Shabana Azmi .

The movie brilliantly knits the plot of a small cast from the time of first meeting of Anirudh and Kavita ,to the bonding in the school, to the circumstances of the break up and finally to how the two are brought back into the fold of relationship. I have rarely seen a film of such at theme crystallize to such depths. The songs also superbly intervene to give effect to the story. Such films enable a viewer to think for himself rather than being carried away. Even if sensitive it washes away melodrama and sentimentalism. I appreciate that the film carries on with scarce expressions of emotion and still traverse spiritual dimensions.

The movie brilliantly contrasts the subtle distinction between Love and sacrifice. and that guidance and compassion are simply a different cup of tea from pity..It portrays how love has a spiritual essence while sacrifice remains within psychological boundaries. Naseeruddin Shah as principal Anirudh simply abhors the blind being pitied or given empathy.

As a principal Anirudh  played by Naseeruddin Shah reveals great insight into the character of Kavita enacted by Shabana Azmi in terms of understanding her motives. Most artistically the film portrays the change in school Principal Anirudh’s life after the intervention of Shabana and the bonding force that repairs their split. The contrast in their characters and the ebb and flow or synthesis in their relationship is most aesthetically projected .The chemistry developed between the two people impaired in different ways, or the link between them is depicted with the mastery rare to find in a Hindi film. nation in progressive movies

One could not get the slightest touches of  Anirudh Parmar being blind.Infact he looked more energetic and receptive than even a normal person. His scenes in conversations with Shabana Azmi are heart touching elevating blending of romance and sensitivity to magnitude of rare level.Inspite of not the slightest touch of melodrama their love gave vibrations of a lotus in full bloom,posessing poetic grace,

The central theme is Anirudh enacted by Naseeruddin Shah wishing to become a part of the mainstream of society and showing any signs of flaring up only when getting empathy for blindness.Naseerudin Shah when taken to the well of sympathy pledges to force himself into isolation. It is poignant the manner Naseerudin Shah rebukes Shabana Azmi for her method of teaching by rote and expressing pity for the blind children. With conviction of sublime proportions he expresses the sin of pity.

There are captivating scenes of Shabana Azmi narrating a story of queen and Prince and teaching the children .I also relish a scene when the children complain about their food as well as when they prepare for a play. Most classically the film introduces them ..Inspite of grievances Shabana depicts the calmness of a spring day .The psychology of blind children is illustrated in varying situations. They in every way act like normal children, even when hearing the cricket video commentary. It is remarkable the manner she extricates herself from entanglement of out of herself imposed isolation and shares her skill sin spheres of music, drama. storytelling and handicrafts. In some ways it reveals how service to others is a therapy.

A most poignant thing in the school occurs when Pappu, the sighted boy among blind students  seeks  for the attention of his teacher but her entire focus is on blind students. When Pappu fights with a blind student, he closes his eyes to make it a fair fight but still fails to get the attention.

Kavita  reveals her traumatized life as a result of failed marriage in her behaviour. In state of fury at a juncture a colleague Om Puri loses his life ,Naseerudin Shah breaks of the engagement with Kavita.Still Kavita persists with the task of teaching the blind children. Ironically it is Kavita’s friend Manju played byy Sudha Chopra who persuades Anirudh to revive the relationship with Kavita and succeeds. in healing  the wound.

Maybe such films should be made today but shaped into projecting the vagaries of the capitalist system or inherent weaknesses in serving blindness or preventing it.It could be also a scathing critique on how society is entrapped by crass materialism. Such a movie would inspire people to devote themselves towards social causes .It would also be a lesson that through service the inner self is liberated and pursuit of worldly things leads to narcasm of the soul.

Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist. Toured India, particularly Punjab .Written on Mass movements ,,Massline,Maoism on blogs like Democracy and Class Struggle and frontierweekly .An avid cricket lover too who has posted writings on blogs like Pakpassion Indian Cricket Fans and Sulekha.com

Email-thakor.harsh5@gmail.com


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