Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Black Friday

This is a very well made movie. It grips you from start to finish, the characters are very nicely fleshed out, the acting is very good, its gritty, its real and a good behind the scenes look at the Mumbai blasts of 1993 based on a book by Hussain Zaidi. However, I would never recommend for anyone to see this film.

I’m sure some people will find my approach shallow but I’ve never seen the point of recounting cinematically a real life tragedy – whether it is the Mumbai blasts or the 9/11 attacks. Why relive the event ? If I force myself to think very long and hard there can only be two reasons for doing this – either you’ve got some new ‘footage’/ news / different perspective to the event itself or you want to show to the world how wrong it was – with a view to stopping people from perpetrating any future attacks. Neither seems to be the objective of the movie – it’s a simple look at the events which led to the blasts (the planning behind them) and the police investigations which helped nab some of the culprits (the minor fish, the real big guns are still roaming free).

In fact, in an interview to Rediff.com in 2005, Anurag Kashyap (the director) states that “While making this film, the idea was to achieve objectivity, not point fingers. It is time to explore how and why things happened”. But I don’t understand why…why is there a need to do so ?

As said before, there are a lot of good things about the movie. The fact that despite knowing how the movie will end (kind of like Apollo13) you still are engrossed speaks for the powerful screenplay and cinematic treatment. Also, in terms of the cast, the four people who really stood out in the movie were Kay Kay Menon who plays the central character of Addl Commissioner of Police, Rakesh Maria, the person leading the police efforts, Aditya Srivastava who plays the role of Badshah Khan, one of the terrorists, Pawan Malhotra playing Tiger Memon (needs no introduction, I think) and Kishore Kadam as Dangle, one of the policemen who becomes the chief interrogator. Each of them manage to showcase the different emotions and feelings their respective real life counterparts would have gone through extremely well, extremely realistically.

However, I’m by nature a happy, cheerful person and this movie takes me where I don’t want to go, makes me want to do things to the perpetrators which I don’t really want to do. I also feel this movie could easily incite further communal disharmony. Even though it openly cautions people against being made fools of in the name of religion, there are some scenes which can very disturbing to Hindu’s or Muslims. I can imagine, for example, an argument about this movie becoming heated in the matter of seconds. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean I only want to see things which are sweet and honey or are frivolous – Omkara is a tragedy but I loved it and Abhimaan (Amitabh Bachchan, 1973) is a very serious / heavy film, but for me remains a timeless classic and I’ve watched it many times over. But for Black Friday, I’m sorry, I just didn’t see the point at all - life is too short (as dramatically depicted in the film) to spend three hours on this one !

1 comment:

Ravi Abhyankar said...


As always very readable. I think soon I will make decisions on my movie-going based on your blog.

Out of the three movies reviewed by you (latest) I have seen Black Friday. Saw the premier at a festival two years ago, before the film was banned.

I understand, without agreeing with, your point about not understanding why 9/11 or serial bomb blasts should be brought to screen.

Most Art reflects reality. Like electricity (which is capable of shocking or electrocuting anyone irrespective of colour, race, good or bad), Art has a prerogative to portray anything without bothering about morality or the recipient. No subject is a taboo.

Many people enjoy reading about or watching the catastrophic events. (They don't need to be perverts.) 9/11 commission book is an absolutely fascinating book, gripping. Similarly, Black Friday is a well-made movie as your review admits. I have no hesitation in recommending it to those who believe in "Art for Art's sake".