Film Review: The Colour of Darkness


We naturally assume people encounter discrimination from those who don’t have the same background as us, look different to us, speak a different first language or from those who misunderstand our culture. New Australian film, The Colour of Darkness, provides an alternative viewpoint, that we can also face vilification, judgement, and hatred from people who should seemingly understand us the most, individuals from the same background.

One of the films young stars, Sahil Saluja, 27, best describes the film and its leading theme, “Discrimination is something that has been going on for a while, and everyone easily blames Australia, "they're so racist", no one actually looks inside their own community. I think Girish brought that up in a beautiful way which is why I wanted to be a part of this, he provided an alternate perception of things. That was the exciting bit.”

Melbourne writer, director, musician and now filmmaker, Girish Makwana, wrote the tale to highlight the contrast between the prejudice Indian people faced in India throughout 1965 by their own neighbours under the caste system and the period of racial hate crimes Indian people faced in Melbourne, Australia during 2010. The 1965 storyline is displayed in the movie as flashbacks, and is based on a true story close to Makwana’s heart, that of his Fathers own experience within the Indian caste system.

The movie follows a headstrong Australian journalist of Indian descent, Maria, portrayed by upcoming actress, Vidya Makan, investigating an epidemic of attacks on Indian students. Throughout her investigative journey, Maria falls in love with Indian student, Giriraj, played by Sahil Saluja, who helps her understand her own heritage and the power of racial discrimination encouraged over generations.

Although playing the role at the tender age 20, Vidya, acted beyond her years and could relate to the character with her own similar upbringing, “We’re both Aussie Indian girls who are in some ways more connected to our Aussie background than our Indian roots. We were both going through a discovery of our heritage.”

Makwana said the process of finding the right actress to play Maria was one of the biggest challenges of the film. He auditioned over 400 girls before finally meeting standout film performer, Vidya, who was not only a talented actress but also had Makwana’s winning mix to play the role, with her Indian looks and Australian speech and behavior.

The Colour of Darkness provides the reminder that we’re all living and breathing beings, we’re all equal and should be treated as such, not only by people of other nationalities but also by our brothers and sisters. Director Girish Makwana concurs, “The film doesn’t blame neither Indians or Australians, what I tried to portray was that in our societies this issue exists and we need to acknowledge it in both India and Australia. We all have a chip on our shoulder and conscious and unconscious discrimination. But how we react, behave and treat other is what is most important.”

The Colour of Darkness was released on Friday May 19th 2017 and is now showing in cinemas across the country.

VIC: Villlage Cinemas Sunshine
NSW: Event Cinemas Burwood and Liverpool
QLD: Event Cinemas Indooroopilly
SA: Event Cinemas Marion
NT: Event Cinemas Darwin
WA: Event Cinemas Morley
ACT: Event Cinemas Manuka

I attended the Melbourne film premiere of The Colour of Darkness as a blogger invited to review the film.

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