When I watched ‘Scent of woman’, I was just speechless to express anything about legendary actor Al Pacino. Today I must admit that India already has the same genius legend in form of Naseeruddin Shah. This is the role of lifetime for him playing Aniruddh Parmar- a blind arrogant principal of blind school in Sai Paranjape’s thought provoking film. He is blind but not helpless, he is dynamic, aggressive, self sufficient to the point of obsession. His performance picked with physical nuances in detail with such a fine perfection & Oh my god it looks so real & natural that even cynic can’t find a single fault. He maintained the dignity of given character without being sympathetic about his natural shortcoming & that is the most striking thing to balance with a character like this & Nasser has done it brilliantly. It’s certainly one of the finest method acting I’ve ever seen in Hindi film. Personally I rate this role more challenging than Big B’s best act in ‘Black’. Shabana acted her character so naturally & maturely as a thinking independent woman & its strong role for her. She looks refreshingly beautiful too in this. It’s story of how these two souls discovered each others agony & transformed & heal it with Love & hope.
Though the subject is sensitive, the director didn’t make it heavy or preachy in tone, in fact it looks so simple & light in mood which touches your heart. i.e. watch the scene where a blind student complained Naseer in the office that somebody stole his sweets box or a scene where a blind kid complimented about Shabana’s Saree when she bought a candle to cheer him up. The most noticeable thing about the film is that the director kept the focus on the blind students in general without being specific to any single & showing them doing all sorts of activities on their own. Its detailing of director which works to create depth & it seems so real that it lefts you with a feeling that you visited a real blind school.
The film won 3 National Awards for Best Hindi Film, Best Actor & Best Screenplay & its surely well appreciated.
Well, it’s a test of tolerance for the audience too; watching a slow & unglamorous film like this compared to today’s technically savvy & gripping films. But along with the passion for cinema it’s also patience for cinema which is essential for every serious film lover.