*Rating : *****
When a film has been suppressed and surrounded in controversy from the time it was conceived till the time it was finally made and released (a good 3+ years) then you bluddy well want to see it as soon as it is out!
So, after giving it a safe one-day period, to observe if theatres would be vandalized by ‘they-who-must-not-be-named’ and armed with a bag heavy enough to put out at least 3 who-must not-be-named miscreants, in case they decide to drop in, I settled in to watch journalist S Hussain Zaidi’s book by the same name transferred to celluloid under the able, unapologetically stark direction of Anurag Kashyap.
As the darkness in the theatre envelopes you, so does the dark mood of the movie as you are taken back to the gruesome day of 12th March 1993 when a series of bomb blasts shook Bombay, as it was then known as, city.
Starting with the actual blasts, which occur because small-time smuggler, Tiger Memon (Pawan Malhotra. Scarily brilliant) swore to burn down the city (Bombay) to avenge the fact that rioters had burnt down his office during the communal clashes of 1992 that followed the Babri Masjid demolition, the film retraces its steps to the planning, the execution, the arrests and interrogations
Tiger brings together people from all over Bombay, fuelling them with talk of religion and vendetta. Calling it ‘jihad’ and igniting them further he pumps in money to get ‘Kala-sabun’ or black soap, the code word for RDX, into the city and gets them trained to use arms and assemble bombs in Pakistan. He then uses his trained, and suitably ignited with religious passion, band to plant bombs all over the city, before escaping to Dubai with his entire family, a day before the blasts.
From there on the movie unfolds as we go behind the scenes to see what happened in the lives of everyone connected to the blasts, from each of the ‘blasts-accused’, as they came to be known as, who were asked to ‘go underground’ (hide) with false promises of a better life in Dubai later on, courtesy Tiger Memon, sitting comfortably away from it all in Dubai, to the Inspectors handling the investigation on whom it took its own personal toll.
Brilliant casting and excellent performances lead you through different angles of the aftermath. Through the eyes of the law, Additional Inspector of Police, Rakesh Maria (K K Menon. Awesomely subdued) leading the investigation and the ones against the law, like Badshah Khan (Aditya Shrivastava) the main-accused, whose pitiful on-the-run plight makes your heart go out to him and all the other characters who play crucial, but bit parts, throughout.
Black Friday is a commendable team effort. A ruthlessly honest film that does not, even for a moment, veer away from the truth or commercialize and sensationalize it.
It portrays the vulnerability of the people who did not think, or rather were incapable of thinking, before they took countless lives under the guise of religion. It portrays the gullibility of people whose thoughts and religious fervor can be controlled and used to the advantage by manipulators.
Watch ‘Black Friday’ to see the other side of the story .Watch ‘Black Friday’ if some part of you turned judgmental after the blasts of 1993. Watch ‘Black Friday’ to see a movie that does not even attempt to be politically correct. Watch ‘Black Friday’ for simply awesome performances by each and every member of the cast. Watch ‘Black Friday’ to see an honest, brilliantly made movie. Watch ‘Black Friday’.
* I want my money back + a fully booked and paid 3 month trip to _________(please fill in a destination of choice)
** I don’t want my money back even though I didn’t like the movie, but director/producer may please pay for my popcorn/samosa/parking.
*** Time and money both well spent!
**** Loved it!
***** Whistle, clap, even smile at irritating neighbor-who-kept-talking-on-cell phone, queue up to buy tickets again and extol virtues of the movie.