The Colour of Paradise or Rang-e Khodā (which literally means ‘The Colour of God’) is an Iranian movie set in a beautiful little mountain village near Tehran. The film is visually appealing, in fact the landscapes and its accompanying sounds form an important character. They help to establish the world of the blind protagonist, a tender hearted young boy named Mohammed who is a student in a special school in Tehran. The school is quite amazing in the way they train and care for the visually impaired children. Mohammed’s father, a widower, doesn’t seem extremely fond of his blind son whom he considers a burden. When the school closes for summer vacation, he reluctantly takes the boy back to the strikingly beautiful village where Mohammed’s doting grandmother and sisters reside. The outpouring of love that Mohammed experiences from his grandmother and sisters is poignantly portrayed. So much love and warmth abounds in these frames, it’s almost like the beauty of nature is reflective in these female characters who are crucial to Mohammed’s happiness and well-being. When Mohammed accompanies his sisters to the little village school, he surprises everyone with his knowledge and abilities. In the midst of this idyllic summer, the dad has other plans for Mohammed, and takes him to be apprenticed to a blind carpenter in another village. Mohammed, sad at being taken so far from home and thinking that nobody loves him, evocatively tells the sympathetic blind carpenter:
Our teacher says that God loves the blind more because they can’t see… but I told him if it was so, He would not make us blind so that we can’t see Him. He answered, ‘God is not visible. He is everywhere. You can feel Him. You see Him through your fingertips.’ Now I reach out everywhere for God till the day my hands touch Him and tell Him everything, even all the secrets in my heart.
This powerful scene is quite heart-rending; it shows the innocence and yearning of the blind boy who wants to be like others. The director has given this movie an open ended conclusion; it is up to the viewers to decide what really happens. With an ending open to interpretation the main character becomes more captivating as one ponders over what really happened. Does Mohammed finally feel God with his radiant fingers or is the woodpecker giving him clues about God?
This film essentially belongs to the little boy Mohammed, played poignantly by Mohsen Ramezani, a kid who is blind in real life. After watching this movie, I had to know more about this enchanting little boy, so I contacted the most famous oracle I know - google, and surprisingly there is very little information about him in the virtual world. Majid Majidi, the director has created a masterpiece that will leave you spellbound. It teaches us that even though darkness may surround us (darkness is literally the only thing the Mohammed sees), our spirit should keep seeking God and feeling Him, this is the simple beauty of being alive.