Film Review: The Colour of Darkness

Melbourne based filmmaker Girish Makwana, has created a thought provoking film which considers the cross-cultural experiences of prejudice, fear and love. The Colour of Darkness tells two stories, one set in 1965 in India, and the other the year 2010 in Melbourne. These two tales intersect to show the pervasive forces of discrimination and fear of the unknown.

With the 1965 storyline set in tribal India, it is shown through a series of flashbacks, and is based on Makwana’s father, and his experiences under the Indian caste system. These flashbacks are contrasted against contemporary Melbourne, as a spate of attacks against Indian students destabilises the community.

The protagonist, Maria, played by film newcomer Vidya Makan, is an Australian journalist of Indian descent, tasked with investigating the attacks. As she wades through the highly-politicised landscape, she begins to understand her own heritage, the strength of racial prejudice reinforced over generations, and even finds love crossing cultural barriers.

Indeed, it was the similarities in Vidya’s upbringing that drew her to the role, “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”.

Vidya was one of the stand out performances of the film, and director Makwana said the process of finding her was one of the biggest challenges of the entire process, as they auditioned more than 400 girls to find a girl with the acting chops who looked Indian but with an Australian attitude and accent.

Whether living under the Indian caste system, or in contemporary Australia, The Colour of Darkness considers the sameness in people. Director Makwana said that “Human behaviour is living in fear of change. Fear of other people taking our place. What I tried to put into this film is how human behaviour works in different situations.”

Released on May 19th 2017 The Colour of Darkness has a limited release through Event and Village cinemas.

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.