Prachi Gohil, Editor without Section
Black Friday (2004), an Indian crime drama directed by Anurag Kashyap is based on Hussain Zaid’s heavily researched book Black Friday- The True Story of the Bomb Blast. The movie documents the harsh reality of the incident, delivers correct information on what happened based on extensive research and interviews, and sheds light on the lives of common people turned into terrorists in the name of religion. As no names and imaginary characters have been changed or created, Black Friday manages to remain realistic. The film centers around then commissioner, Mr. Rakesh Maria’s investigation (played by Kay Kay Menon) of the blast executed by Tiger Memon (played by Pawan Malhotra) on the instructions of underworld Don Dawood Ibrahim (played by Vijay Maurya). The screenplay is divided into four parts, which makes it easier for the audience to process every fragment of it as each segment focuses on different perspectives. As many viewpoints are taken under consideration, it is a difficult task to project each character without suffocating the other, and though this may be, Anurag Kashyap manages to familiarize the audience with the mindset of each one of them. He successfully translates the restless feeling of betrayal that bomber Badshah Khan (played by Aditya Srivastava) feels planting the bombs on various places and leaving Mumbai for his safety. In recreating Bombay of 1993 (pre and post blast), 14 years after the incident, using a crane to capture a particular setting to make it look realistic, having a different color scheme in the background to gather attention and constantly improving the background score manages to keep the audience hooked until the end. The film is not shot dramatically but as the plot evolves, it becomes dramatic. The film provides the viewers with a prologue after showcasing the entire incident which leaves everyone on a cliffhanger. Black Friday is one of the very few films in Indian Cinema that does not glorify crime or violence. It does not sugar coat or keep its audience in the dark and is thus considered to be the best movie by Anurag Kashyap to date. According to the review of a film critic, it is a film that does not shy away from pointing fingers. Although much of the credit for that must go to the source material – Hussain Zaidi’s book – you cannot deny that the film brings to life the horrible incident more effectively than words on a page. Post-intermission, Black Friday drags its feet and you find your attention wavering. Although it is long, in all its two-hours-forty-minute glory, it is still quite fantastic. “Believe me, no film has brought me so close to giving it a five out of five rating, but because it’s just a little short of true greatness, I’m going to go with four of five for Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday,” says critic Rajeev Masand in a film review. (Masand is an Indian film critic who works for Noida based English language news channel CNN-Indian Broadcasting Network. He usually reviews Bollywood films and major Hollywood films released in India in his weekend show Now Showing).