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When Bollywood Went Blind

July 06, 2023 17:19 IST

In Blind, Sonam Kapoor's OTT debut on Jio Cinema and remake of a 2011 Korean thriller of the same name, it's the irony of a visually impaired woman becoming the sole witness to a crime that forms the crux of the plot.

One can cite numerous instances of blind protagonists in Hindi movies.

Whether documenting a character's struggle around a disability or marvelling at the sheer strength, its purpose isn't limited to sentiment alone.

Sukanya Verma looks at all the wonderful, wacky and woeful ways Bollywood has portrayed blindness on screen.



Easily among the milestone performances of Naseeruddin Shah's career, the actor set the benchmark much too high as the blind principal juggling between pride and love.



Rani Mukerji won laurels for her dedicated delivery as a young woman determined to chart the course of her own life despite her inability to see and hear.



Blind man's bluff was never more edge-of-the-seat than Ayushmann Khurrana's dark experiences from harmless experiments to hellish run-ins in Sriram Raghavan's neo-noir treat.



It's the believe-it-or-not tone of Sanjeev Kumar's blind film-maker successfully achieving the murder of his unfaithful wife that drives the novelty of this In Broad Daylight rip-off.



An exploitative Amitabh Bachchan strategically employs the services of three blind men, Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Arjun Rampal, to execute a bank robbery in Vipul Shah's adaptation of his Gujarati play, Andhalo Pato.



What you cannot undo, unsee, is the moral of Dilip Kumar's tragic turn as a blind singer choosing to become blind again on learning his childhood sweetheart has moved on in life, coincidentally, with his eye doctor.



The thick friendship between a blind teenager and his incapacitated fellow companion as they sing odes to their dosti over a course of ups and downs forms the heart of this Rajshri superhit.



Losing eyes in a freak accident, often caused by a Diwali pataka, ensuing numerous emotional twists and falling-out between the hero and heroine are overdramatically encapsulated in Asha Parekh's cry-her-eyes-out portrayal.



What's the idea behind a terminally ill boy and blind young woman's friendship? That he must die and donates his eyes, an inevitability Moushumi Chatterjee is more than prepared for in the melodramatic Anuraag.



Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala's forgettable Guddu tries to repeat the ploy.

An ailing SRK stubbornly insists on donating his eyes to his blind girlfriend only to be successfully operated upon, even as mum Deepti Naval's intense praying results in her dying and donation of eyes. All's well that ends well, Bollywood style.



Actors look at physically challenged character as an opportunity for critical acclaim. No doubt Madhuri Dixit happily lapped up a double role in K Vishwanath's soppy drama about a middle-aged wealthy woman reconnecting with her estranged blind daughter and aspiring singer.


Jheel Ke Us Paar

Mumtaz's unabashedly melodramatic and emotionally manipulative cries while addressing a snobbish crowd for ridiculing her disability by dressing her up like a fool is Bollywood at its overstated.



Sometimes a character loses their eyesight midway in a movie for the sake of dramatic twist, quite like Hema Malini in Gulzar's Kinara adding to Jeetendra's growing guilt.


Lafangey Parindey

Guilt-filled good Samaritans are a common trope in Bollywood's blind premise. Neil Nitin Mukesh quietly volunteers to fulfill Deepika Padukone's skate dancer dreams after she loses her eyesight in a road accident caused by his reckless actions.



Blind in love, blind in person, Kajol plays on the dichotomy of her naïve character and circumstances in the old-fashioned romance and betrayals of Fanaa.



Naseeruddin Shah throws a googly as the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing when the truth behind his dark glasses is revealed in Bollywood's true masala tradition.


Amar Akbar Anthony

Bollywood's original miracle man, Manmohan Desai, made his audience believe in the power of prayers. Nirupa Roy regaining her eyesight at Shirdiwale Sai Baba's feet in an extraordinary turn of events is a case in point.



A 10-year-old cinephile and her blind baby brother set out on a journey far from home in pursuit of Shah Rukh Khan, believing it will help in raising funds for the latter's eye operation. Nagesh Kukunoor's on-the-road fairy-tale brims with wide-eyed wonder and hope.



Lines are blurred between blinded by revenge and a blind man's revenge as Hrithik Roshan slips into Daredevil mode, going after the men responsible for his wife's suicide.



Kajol seeks a blind army veteran's assistance to avenge her sister's rapist and killer in Tanuja Chandra's Dushman, a remake of An Eye for An Eye.



Despite successful eye surgery, a previously blind man vows to keep his dark glasses on until he finds the perpetrators is Ajay Devgn's brand of '90s vendetta for you.



A K Hangal's blind old man losing his only son to a dreaded dacoit is the sort of unabashed sympathy Ramesh Sippy's all-time classic doesn't shy from.


Mission Majnu, Khuddar

Writing a character as blind or making them lose their eyesight out of the blue seems convenient when you don't want to complicate things for your undercover spy husband like Rashmika Mandana in Mission Majnu or identify the man responsible for your state like Karisma Kapoor in Khuddar.


Blurr, Naina

Rapidly deteriorating vision leading to creepy, supernatural experiences or eye transplant is the fate of Taapsee Pannu and Urmila Matondkar's tormented characters in horror/whodunit like Blurr and Naina.


Golmaal, Hum Hain Kamaal Ke

Sensitivity isn't Bollywood's strongest suit. Like when Paresh Rawal in Golmaal: Fun Unlimited and Anupam Kher in the See No Evil, Hear No Evil caricatured disabilities for fun.


Dil, Baadshah

Close on its heels follows pretending to be blind as a prank played to teach the haughty heroine a lesson, a la Aamir Khan and Madhuri Dixit in Dil or Shah Rukh Khan's sympathy-seeking Romeo drawing on Twinkle Khanna's guilty conscience in Baadshah.


Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam, Barsaat Ki Ek Raat

Casting heroines known for their light-eyed beauty in blind avatars like Aishwarya Rai's cameo in Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam and Raakhee's damsel-in-distress in Barsaat Ki Ek Raat is another perverse obsession of Bollywood.