Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sparsh 31Sparsh 02


Produced By Basu Bhattacharya
Directed By Sai Paranjpe
Music By Kanu Rai
Naseeruddin Shah Shabana Azmi
Sudha Chopra Mohan Gokhale
Om Puri  

Click HERE for a complete listing of Cast & Crew


Sparsh 03 Sparsh (Devnagari: स्पर्श, Touch) is a 1980 Bollywood feature film directed by Sai Paranjpye starring Naseeruddin Shah (playing Anirudh) and Shabana Azmi (playing Kavita Prasad) in the lead roles of a visually impaired principal of a blind school and a young widow who joins the school as a teacher. The film remains most memorable for its subtle but strong performances and a very realistic script revealing the emotional divide between the "Blind" and the "Sighted”.

Click HERE for a complete plot summary and storyline.


I saw this movie first time on DD National Network when I was about 10 years of age. The movie made such a lasting impression on my young mind that I could never take out certain scenes and situations out of my head.

Naseeruddin Shah Years later I wrote my first play for a school performance loosely based around the character played by Naseeruddin Shah. The play was stalled due to some reasons but I could never completely forget the movie. Sai Paranjpe is better known for her lighter movies like 'Katha' but she teams up with Basu Bhattacharya here (who is again known for movies around mature subjects around matrimony mainly - Avishkar, Aastha and Griha Pravesh to name a few) to render a tail that touches your soul and makes you feel for people who are denied the gift of vision like no other movie ever previously did.

The fact that the movie went on to win 3 national awards (Best Hindi Film, Best Screenplay and Best Actor) despite its shoe string budget is a remarkable achievement in its own right.

The movie was largely shot in a blind school in Delhi and most of the children who acted in the movie were actually visually impaired. This not only adds to the realism of the movie but renders it that earthy and genuine feeling which makes you wanting to reach out to every single kid in the movie.

Sparsh 24Naseeruddin Shah is an acting institute in himself. He delivers with a conviction which surpasses and sits high over his other performances till date. The beauty with which he underplays his character and strives to keep his dignity and self reliance intact and is a complex emotion to understand and depict on screen.  Personally I find the scene where he gets furious on the waiter in the restaurant when the bill is presented to Shabana Azmi, depicted exceedingly well. While Naseeruddin Shah portrays the dignity of a visually impaired person striving to find his way in the world, Shabana Azmi plays the widow who finds her solace in working for the blind school and is struggling to adjust to their 'different' world.

Sparsh 19There is a scene where she stands in the classroom and asks the students to introduce themselves. She begins by saying “Yahan se shuru karte hain” and points to a child forgetting that she is in a blind school and the words 'here' and 'there' have little meaning. The entire sequence is simple yet very powerful and moving. There are other short sequences and sub-plots built into the story which bind the audience. Be it the scene where a doctor warns Naseer to be careful of his eyes after he hurts himself not realizing that he is blind, children playing cricket with trinkets made from soda bottle caps, rehearsing the lines of a play and the story of 'Paplu' wanting to be accepted and loved as other challenged children are quite moving.

I thought the shot where Shabana Azmi picks up a saree by feeling its texture than looking at the color and design is nothing but a mark of directorial genius and exceptional script writing.

Mohan GokhaleOm Puri is hardly recognizable in his lean young version as compared to when you see him today. There isn’t much there in the script for him and he renders in a brief supporting role as another fellow visually impaired friend of Anirudh. I always believed Mohan Gokhale could have gone on to play bigger meatier parts. It is sad that his talent was largely wasted in side roles in most of his movies. Probably one would remember a tele serial called 'Mr. Yogi' as one of his main works which was aired during early years of Doordarshan.


There are three songs in the movie all of which are sung by the actress and singer Sulakshna Pandit. The music is by veteran Kanu Rai. Additionally there is a piece by Santoor maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan who also makes a brief appearance in the film as himself.


A clear 4 out of 5, this movie is particularly impressive for its simplicity and I would suggest that you watch it with your kids and in turn teach them to be thankful of the mercies and their gifts that otherwise are taken for granted.


Aastha said...

I never knew that there has ever been a movie in bollywood dealing with the portrayal of blind before sanjay leela bhansali made his black.It feels extremely bad to find so ungrateful we are after realising how the blind learn to live and cope in this world.The small but touching episodes you mentioned here have inspired me intensely to watch the movie.. thanx 4 sharing it :)

Himanshu Tandon said...

Hi Aastha,

My word - do watch it if you get a chance. If you can't find it, let me know, I shall mail you a copy. :)

Roopa said...

Its great to be reminded of those good old Doordarshan days... perhaps we saw every single movie that came on TV...would be great to catch them again sometime..

Himanshu Tandon said...

Yeah!! Let's have a movie marathon some weekend.