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<i>Black Friday</i> - Review

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    By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM
    Friday, February 09, 2007
    Some films leave you stunned and speechless with sheer power. The powerful story, the powerful execution, the powerful performances sweep you off your feet. Long after you?ve watched the film, it still haunts you, it disturbs you, it stays in your memory, it still sends a chill down your spine if you recall the incidents.

    Black Friday, directed by Anurag Kashyap, is one such film!

    Who can ever forget the devastating 1993 Mumbai blasts? The tragedy not only shook Mumbai and the rest of India, but also hit headlines across the world. What triggered off these blasts? Who engineered those attacks? Who were behind this act of terrorism? As a Mumbaiite, a number of questions haunted you then.

    Black Friday provides the answers!

    Anurag Kashyap tells you about the conspiracy and conspirators, the people who engineered the heinous and monstrous crime, the blasts and the aftermath. A number of sequences in the narrative catch you unaware, they are disturbing, they evoke emotions such as shock and sadness in you, they make you go into an introspection mood because it revolves around real people who lost their loved ones in real life? That?s one of the reasons why Black Friday works as a film!

    Write your own movie review of Black Friday Certain films are beyond box-office. You don?t look at the balance sheet at the end of the day, calculating the crores the investors may?ve earned or lost. It?s not about making money here [if the investors do, great!], but all about documenting a tragedy you can never erase from your memory. The personal losses, the pain, the sorrow? Even if the wounds may have healed, the scars will always remain.

    Watch Black Friday. It?s Hindi cinema at its best! Black Friday is based on the events leading up to and the investigation thereafter of the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts. The 1993 Mumbai blasts left 300 + dead and a 1,000 + injured. Based on S. Hussain Zaidi?s book, the film takes one into the heart of the conspiracy behind the Mumbai blasts and the massive follow-up investigation by giving detailed account of planning, execution and back-end operations of the same.

    1.25 p.m.: The first blast occurs at the Bombay Stock Exchange. 2.45 p.m.: Blast at Worli Passport Office. A series of explosions take place at Air India Building, Century Bazaar shopping centre, adjacent to Shiv Sena Bhavan at Dadar, Zaveri Bazar, compound of Plaza cinema, 18th floor of Sea Rock Hotel in Bandra, Centaur Hotel, Juhu, Centaur Hotel, Santacruz.

    The clues begin to surface?

    The story of Black Friday is narrated in the most convincing manner. Unlike the trend of giving screen names to characters, Anurag Kashyap uses real-life names and that only adds to the authenticity. Besides, Kashyap?s handling of a number of sequences is hair-raising?

    • The investigations begin with the cross-examination of Asgar [Yusuf] Muqadam, the manager of Tiger Memon?s company. The interrogation in the police lock-up is electrifying.
    • The execution of the plan -- people disbursing to different areas -- gives a clear idea of how the heinous crime was carried out.
    • Badshah?s journey from Delhi to Rampur [Uttar Pradesh] to Jaipur to Tonk to Jaipur again [Rajasthan] and the tiff over the passport gives you goose bumps.
    • The argument between Additional Commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria and Badshah during the interrogation is superb. The war of words between the two [especially Maria?s lines] are clapworthy.
    • The training in Pakistan is an eye-opener.
    Anurag Kashyap deserves the highest praise for handling the subject material with utmost sensitivity. It?s a daringly unusual attempt and only someone with courage could?ve made a film on this tragedy. Besides, Kashyap?s storytelling is very different -- the film unfolds in chapters -- yet every chapter is so efficiently handled that you don?t want to move your eyes from the screen. It?s only towards the end [Tiger Memon addressing a group of people] that makes you decipher the reason behind the blasts. In a way, the film moves in reverse order as far as the chronology of events are concerned.

    Another aspect that needs to be highlighted is the background score, which only enhances the impact. Cinematography [S. Natarajan Subramaniam] is first-rate. The red tones used during Rakesh Maria?s interrogation sequences are truly imaginative. The blast sequences [Sham Kaushal] are brilliant. In fact, the use of slow motion and crane shots makes the carnage look authentic.

    Black Friday is embellished with superior performances, but topping the list is Pawan Malhotra, who enacts the role of Tiger Memon with gusto. Easily one of the finest performances witnessed on the Hindi screen, the actor deserves distinction marks for a terrific portrayal.

    Kay Kay [Additional Commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria] is splendid. He conveys so much through his eyes. Aditya Shrivastava [Badshah] excels yet again. Zakir Hussain is adequate. Arbaaz Ali Khan looks the character. Pankaj Jha is effective. Pratima Kazmi is alright. Vijay Maurya?s resemblance to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim is amazing. There are a number of characters in the film and each of them is natural.

    On the whole, Black Friday is an outstanding piece of work. One of the finest products to come out of Mumbai, this one is a hard-hitting film that has the courage to say what it says. Do yourself a favor: Watch Black Friday. Hindi cinema at its best!

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