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Review 2: A Wednesday!

Review 2: A Wednesday!

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Friday 5 September 2008

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Movie Title

A Wednesday!

Director

Neeraj Pandey

Star Cast

Naseruddin Shah,Anupam Kher,Jimmy Shergill,Aamir Bashir,Deepal Shaw,Gaurav Kapoor,Chetan Pandit

It's obvious why one might be inclined to see this film in favourable light. A person-on-the-street's grouse against the escalating threat to their lives; be it through recurring terror attacks or even monsoon floods. Post-such episodes, most of us whip ourselves back into normalcy, only for the freshest incident to dip us back into gloom. Yet, we do nothing about it.

In this film, a common man (Naseeruddin Shah) decides it's enough. We see him walk into a police station to report a missing wallet. He's soft-spoken, timid. He uses the loo and leaves behind a bag, exiting as smoothly as he arrived. Next, he perches himself on an under-construction high rise's deserted terrace and makes some calls. He places the first to Commissioner Prakash Rathod (Kher), threatening bomb explosions all over the city if four dreaded terrorists are not handed over to him.

Arif (Jimmy Shergill, scowling) is a thrash-prone cop who revels in beating the pulp out of bad guys and chews gum with equal ferocity. Another cop Jai Singh (Aamir Bashir) is stuck on the phone with his wife who is constantly getting on and off trains. Once the call happens, Rathod dressed in a crisp white kurta, begins to walk very fast and barks out silly orders. This scene is meant to add tension and crisp urgency in the air, but we find ourselves seated comfortably, even stifling a yawn.

Soon enough, the attempt to trace the calls start and a minister pops up to add to the frown-o-meter. A cheeky, young hacker is brought in and we see computer screens showing us some more techo gabble. In a scene that can reasonably be labeled as absurd ? Rathod, who orders his people against warning their families about the blast threat, asks Singh what if his wife and newborn kid were to die in such an attack. ?Parvah nahin?, he thunders back in army-like fashion. The so-called 'twist' in the end doesn't impress; rather it is a reflection on the script so impressed with itself, elements like plausibility and nuances are not even looked at.

Missteps in the script make you wonder if the makers were genuinely attempting a film making a strong social comment. The anonymous caller, for example, is shrewd enough to place a bomb at a police station under the cops' noses. He?s smart enough to operate from a meager workshop, using several phone sim cards to hide his identity. Yet, yet he merrily goes to plant the bomb without a disguise.

Quite naturally, the cop-in-charge recollects his face through a sketch. The film goes the conventional route of portraying the four dreaded terrorists as fanatical jihadis. The connection (if at all) between the four criminals and Shah's anonymous caller is not established. If there isn?t - why do they follow his instructions and don?t question his attempt at rescuing them? Why does the caller choose these four, of the many, terrorists?

How does a regular person sitting atop a terrace, eating homemade sandwiches and drinking coffee off a flask, give fruition to his fantasies ? how did he get the technical know-how, relevant numbers, details about the criminals, and the dexterity of a seasoned hand? The intriguing subject needed solid backing from the script that could answer pertinent questions. Like in Rang De Basanti, where also common folks took the law in their own hands; but where the script managed to support the audacious idea.

Performance-wise the film is notable mainly for Naseeruddin Shah's. To breathe life into such a simplistically written character is indeed a challenge, and Shah does exceedingly well. The end monologue about exterminating cockroaches and about the aam aadmi's state today, frankly, leaves one less affected than was the intention. Save a few lines, it seems a rabble-rousing attempt to get some seetis and back slaps. The intriguing title of the film has nothing to do with anything, except that the turn of events happen mid-week.

The humour is forced. As one has endured in several recent films, this one too attempts at ridiculing TV journalists. So we see Naina Roy (Deepal Shaw) interviewing a man who survived an electric shock, christens him Electric Baba, and pastes it as Breaking News. More obligatory jokes include one where Rathod receives a call from a banking tele-salesperson, bang in the middle of the anonymous bomb threat calls.

Technically, the film is average. Cinematography is good in places; unnecessarily mobile in others. Background score is unimaginative and predictable.

I have yet to understand the film?s core intention or its message. You may count the face-offs between the two towering talents, Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah, as the film?s central soaring point.

Verdict: Two stars out of five

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