Now this is a complete surprise. And an extremely pleasant surprise, must add. Newer stories are slowly finding their way into plexes of India. Two Fridays ago, Phoonk spoke about the power of Black Magic and last Friday, ROCK ON!! encouraged you to chase your dreams. Both Phoonk and Rock On!! didn't boast of A-list actors to lure the audiences in hordes, but the films let the powerful content do the talking.
It's a hat-trick now. The third Friday in succession witnesses the release of A Wednesday. And marks my words, it's the most powerful film to come out of Bollywood in 2008. Most promos mislead the viewer no end. They promise the moon, the viewer is hooked and very often, they fail to meet the expectations. In this case, the promos are just the tip of the iceberg. This movie has so much to offer than a few vital glimpses highlighted in the promos.
Here's another point that needs to be clarified. A Wednesday is not about the train blasts, nor is it similar to MUMBAI MERI JAAN. Sure, terrorism is the wallpaper here, but A Wednesday talks about the plight and power of the common man, the aam aadmi.
The year has witnessed some supremely talented storytellers make their debut, like Rajkumar Gupta [AAMIR], Kunal Deshmukh [JANNAT] and Abbas Tyrewala [JAANE TU… YA JAANE NA]. Now Neeraj Pandey joins the ranks of directors who, one is confident, will be one of those calling the shots in the future.
A Wednesday works like magic because of its gripping plotline. The journey, right from start to end on a fateful Wednesday, keeps you on tenterhooks. And the culmination to this complex tale is what takes this film to dizzy heights. In short, A Wednesday is amongst the finest -- and bravest -- films to come out in 2008. Just one word to describe it: Remarkable!
A Wednesday tells the story of certain events that unfold between 2 and 6 p.m. on A Wednesday in Mumbai. Events that do not exist in any record.
Flashback: Prakash Rathod [Anupam Kher], Commissioner of Police, Mumbai gets a call demanding the release of four militants in lieu of information on bombs that the man has planted in various parts of Mumbai. At first, Prakash suspects it to be a crank call, but his doubts are dispelled once he actually finds a bomb planted in the police station right opposite his Police Headquarters.
Prakash Rathod is not the type to give up easily. He gets a team of his best men together and taps all his resources. He even hires a young hacker to help his team trace the calls and also the location of the anonymous caller. Time passes by, but no concrete results are evident. Eventually, Prakash Rathod decides to hand over the militants to the anonymous caller. It is then that events take a bizarre turn.
Expect the unexpected in A Wednesday. From the writing point of view to the execution of the written material, writer-director Neeraj Pandey never takes the been-there-seen-that route even once. It does take time to settle down [the multiple stories at the start are not too interesting], but once you do get the hang of things, A Wednesday offers you twist after twist, throws challenge after challenge in those 1.30 hours [yes, it's a short film]. No sub-plots, no songs, no unwanted masala, no unnecessary tracks -- A Wednesday has a story to tell and it tells most effectively.
On the execution front, the camera movement [Jimmy Jib], during Naseer's portions specifically, demands your attention. Cinematographer Fuwad Khan's output is top class even when he captures a chase [Jimmy Sheirgill] on a busy Mumbai street. The editor [Shree Narayan Singh] deserves lavish praises for giving shape to this thriller. During the finale specifically -- Anupam is driving towards the location, while Naseer is packing his stuff -- the parallel scenes are juxtaposed brilliantly. The background score [Sanjay Chowdhury] is stirring.
When your film has two of the finest talents sharing screen space, it only heightens the curiosity. Naseeruddin Shah has delivered several remarkable performances over the decades and the one in A Wednesday easily makes its way into his Top 5 works when you recall his body of work. His outburst in the end -- when he talks about the plight of the common man -- is astounding. The entire audi, one is confident, would break into a deafening applause at this master sequence.
Anupam Kher is equally dynamic. Watch the cold look or catch him face-to-face with Naseer in the finale, if there's one actor who could stand up to a giant of an actor, it's Kher. An outstanding performance indeed!
Every performance in A Wednesday is charged. Jimmy Sheirgill is first-rate as a volatile cop. Of late, the actor has been wasted in insipid roles and it's about time film-makers take a note of this talented actor. Aamir Bashir is superb. Again, this actor has never got his due in feature films. It's our loss, not his! Deepal Shaw plays her part confidently. Chetan Pandit, as the Chief Minister, is effective. Ditto for the actor who plays the main terrorist - Kali Prasad Mukherjee.
On the whole, A Wednesday is cinema at its best. It may not be a Kinng-sized entertainer to lure the audiences in hordes and set the box-office afire, but A Wednesday does pack in king-sized punch. Do yourself a favour: Watch A Wednesday.