At the risk of seeming to harp on one single point in a lot of posts, I'd like to point out this interview of Sudhir Mishra on Rediff. Mishra talks about Black and says exactly the thing that I was trying to say, only much better (goes to show the difference between an accomplished story-teller and a stuggling blogger.. :)). I don't think the weakness he is talking about put me off the movie as much as it put him off, but its really the same thing that I was talking about. For me, the other things like cinematography, backgroud score etc worked very well so that I think its still a good movie. Mishra doesn't even give it that much credit, but I can see why. quoting relevant excerpts here...
What do I think about Black? I don't like hamming in films, and it's a film where everybody's hamming, including the cameraman. Everything is setup for effect -- 'look how sensitive I am.'
It's not really a film about the girl who's blind. It's like you make a film about a guy who's lame, then you take the crutches away, then you hit him on the head, and he falls and you point and say, 'look how he's suffering.' When everything is for effect, it becomes boring. As a filmmaker, you start predicting.
For me, it's a very manipulative film. It's always manipulating me to cry. It's asking for too much sympathy, and I don't have that much sympathy to give. It's like emotional blackmail all the time, and I find that very unattractive. Some people might really like it, but it's not for me.
I think (Sanjay Leela) Bhansali is a good filmmaker; he's a person who's trying to tell a story visually. So he is a guy to watch out for. Like when he told stories which are musical in a way, in a milieu that he knew, like in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam -- it's a film that works where it is.
Why are we even talking about Black? Well, because we're reacting to the fact that they brought out ads saying this was the best film ever, and some critics said this was like (Polish director Krzysztof) Kieslowski. And since all of us somewhat like Kieslowski (laughs) and have grown up on Red and Dekalog, we feel its our duty to say, 'Hey, wait a minute.' And set the record straight.
Kieslowski!! Really?? Who said that?? I mean, Bhansali might yet make movies that might surpass Trois couleurs (I have yet to see Dekalog, but it has been on my must watch list for some time now...) but Black is not it. It doesn't even come close.