By: Deepa Gahlot
Critic's Rating: 3/5
Tuesday 13 February 2007
Pawan Malhotra, Kay Kay Menon, Aditya Srivastav
After a two-year wait, Anurag Kashyap?s Black Friday, a blow by blow account of the Mumbai bomb blasts of 1993 makes it to the screen.
The timing is just right--- the blast accused have been convicted (or released as the case may be), and the memory of the train blasts last year is still fresh?so the reminder of the terror Mumbai went through is even more disturbing.
Based on S Hussain Zaidi?s book, Anurag Kashyap makes a thorough and very long film on the planning and implementation of the blasts and then the cops? steady unraveling of the conspiracy. The people are real? Dawood Ibrahim (Vijay Maurya?starling resemblance), Tiger Memon (Pawan Malhotra), Badshah Khan (Aditya Shrivastava), cop Rakesh Maria (Kay Kay Menon) ?and the dozens of others on both sides of the law, whom Kashyap chases down in meticulous detail.
But what is interesting in a book, need not be so in a film?Black Friday is a fabulously crafted and superbly enacted film, but not stark enough to be documentary and not fictional enough to be a feature. The verite style, casting mostly unknowns and shooting at real locations has been popularized by the Ram Gopal Varma school, from where Kashyap also emerged as co-writer of Satya.
His grip on Mumbai?s lifestyle and language is remarkable, but Kashyap makes the film with a detached air?this is what happened, this is how it happened, now step back and watch without intervention. A story like that, told in such a clinical manner, without taking a humanistic stand is unsettling. It almost seems to justify Memon?s theory that unless the Muslims took revenge for the post-Babri Masjid riots, they would never be able to look the Hindu majority in the eye. Typically, in the media coverage of the blast cases as well the film, the sensational aspect of the event is so strong that the victims are almost forgotten.
Several films have been made on the 9/11 incident in the US and UK--United 93 is part of the Oscar shortlist, there?s Hamburg Cell, World Trade Centre, Flight 93-- and with none of them do you get the feeling that the planners and perpetrators are being glorified or sympathized with in any way?Black Friday gives that feeling that Kashyap, either deliberately or inadvertently, wants to portray them as heroes--as much as Maria and his band of dedicated cops who hunted down the criminals, broke down defences, got confessions and nabbed most of the men, except, of course the leaders.
Reservations aside, Black Friday is brave ?journalistic? cinema, made without keeping an eye on the box-office.
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