Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Black Friday

Finally caught Black Friday; full thanks to vcd piracy.
And the film is path-breaking and brilliant, to say the least. We have heard, many a times, claims about a movie that looks at an event objectively in a non-judgemental way. But, in Black Friday, it's as close as it gets.
The movie, ably supported by the "voyeuristic" screenplay (the movie is based on Hussain Zaidi's eponymous book) written by the director Anurag Kashyap himself, describes the events of the 1993 bomb blasts in Bombay, its precursors and the subsequent investigations by the police, in a non-linear format. The ordering of the events is in line with how they were revealed to the police/public (again emphasizing the voyeuristic and objectival narration) rather than the chronological order. Hence, very correctly, the movie starts with the blast itself and the juggles to the past and present.
The movie itself is more like a docu-drama. Since the events involve numerous characters (mostly unrelated), there is no central character in the movie. Even, many of the significant characters in the movie, don't even share their screen presence (well.. mostly), evoking strong reminiscences of the Steven Soderbergh film "Traffic". This is one of the characteristic qualities the movie wants to maintain as new characters come into the main story (which is about the 1993 blasts and nothing else) and disappear.
But, the same cannot be said of the individual chapters. In fact, the best aspect is the way the movie seamlessly moves focus from one character to others - like the radical shift in one chapter to show what Baadshah Khan (Aditya Srivastava grabbing the top acting honours, after a good number of small roles elsewhere and the unreleased Paanch;please take a bow) one of those involved in the blasts, is going through; rather than introducing him when he is caught by the police, that is.
The film is moderately paced and doesn't try to be a thriller or anything of that sort. A remarkably done chase sequence (ending quite humourously) which was the most close-to-life chase I (perhaps, all) have ever seen stands as a testimony to this statement. There are at least a dozen sequences in the movie which a Scorsese would be proud of; like the sequence of one busy night at the police station when the policemen enquire a friend of one of those who was involved in the bomb blasts, when so many things are happenning in the station (remarkably done with tracking shots to-and-fro from one place to another within the station). Talking about the Cinematography, Nataraja Subramaniam's work is terrific and the red tone used to film the investigation sequences is very effective.
The entire cast is full of the low-key usual suspects (i.e., those who emerged with a strong theatre background and/or worked with the likes of Shekhar Kapur, RGV etc.) each of them chipping in very well; including wonderful performances from Kay Kay as Rakesh Maria, who investigates the case, and good old Pawan Malhotra as Tiger Memon who masterminds the blasts.

Last but not the least, here's doffing my hats a dozen times to Anurag Kashyap, himself.
When will the day come when I will be allowed to see his Paanch?

1. My reaction after seeing the film about its release is this: The film is too real (and it will be called biased by all the sides) to have a theatrical release in India.2
2. Yesterday had something to do with unreleased films. First, it was Black Friday which I had rented the day before. Next thing I did was to grab a vcd copy of Makrand Deshpande's Hanan (from Crossword when I chanced upon it!) and watch it. So, that's coming next..


  1. excellent! now I feel a tad more deprived. But I beat you to Hanan;) Notes might show up later though:)

  2. Ha ha!
    anyways, i am not quite surprised tht u had caught Hanan already.. are the DVDs out there, now?
    VCD shops in India (the likes of Landmark and Crossword) are much better than those much reputed VCD/DVD rental shops out here, as far as Indian parallel cinema is concerned.

  3. i also want to watch this.But guess i will never see it.If it is not realeased in DVD :(.

  4. I removed that post. That post was a tirade against inept reviewing, but since I am an inept reviewer myself, I had to remove it. BTW, Nice work.

  5. Awfully sorry if you took offence. Do return when you are inclined to.

  6. It seems that movies on the Underworld are as much in vogue as yashraj love films used to be. Personally I prefer films like "Dhoom", "Salaam Namaste", "Dil Chahta hai" etc. To each his own I guess.

  7. Hello!
    definitely did not blogroll ya, just to have a Z index... came across your movie blog some time back and enjoyed it... (yes, a fellow movie fanatic)
    and later stumbled across your "arbit" blog as well which i thought was AWESOME!...
    good writings.. keep it going...

  8. hemanth,
    a local pirated vcd shop which is barely 4 x 10 ft!

    Welcome! You are absoultely right when you say "movies on the Underworld are as much in vogue". But, Black Friday definitely doesn't fall under the category as yet another effort. And, I love "Dil Chahta Hai" too!