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Films based on books are a rarity in India. Probably that accounts for
the huge amount of movies without any coherent screenplay that India
churns out. Black Friday, on the other hand, is an exception, which
will make any film maker proud.
The movie, revolving around the investigation following the horrifying Bombay bomb blasts, and also showing the perpetrators' lives just before and after the incident, took a long time to get through the Censor Board, and it's not difficult to imagine why once you have seen the movie. The movie tries to portray everything the way it actually happened, or at least as the book says it happened, and succeeds. Technically the movie is top league, compared to other Hindi movies, though the editing is choppy in places. The music, by Indian Ocean, is brilliant, and more importantly suits the plot. Despite the length of the movie the director never loses grip, and that's really commendable.
I haven't seen Satya (and I am sorry for that), so I am not very familiar with Anurag Kashyap's work (though he also did the dialogues, I believe, for Yuva, which I have seen), but considering the smoke he generates with every movie, I knew there had to be some fire to it too. And Black Friday IS fiery! The movie doesn't ever try to be politically correct and the director is almost obsessed with showing everything - even the correct language - which shall make it unsuitable for family viewing.
The actors, with Kay Kay (he should be getting awards for this one) and Aditya Srivastava worth special mention, do a very good job too, and I think many of them are of a theatre background, which ensures a high pedigree in Indian movies. Those familiar with Indian TV serials must have seen Srivastava in an eminently well-made series called 9 Malabar Hill from the late 90s, which also starred Pawan Malhotra. Srivastava has been seen in many other smaller roles in movies and TV serials since then, but that particular role had showed how good an actor he is, and it is proved here once more. Pawan Malhotra is also a known face in India's parallel cinema movement, though he is prone to overact at times. Kay Kay is one of the best actors to have hit the Indian screen in recent years, and brilliant performances aren't new to him.
The movie is unique in the sense that it shows the life of a terrorist AFTER the blast and how he copes with all the pressures. Then there's the pressure faced by the investigators to get to the terrorist, but taking care at the same time that they don't harm innocent people in their zeal. When I saw in the credits that the movie was based on a book by a Muslim author, I started feeling that it was going to be a biased description of the atrocities of Mumbai police on innocent members of the Musilm community during the investigations. Such a thought process is shameful, but natural in India's circumstances. But surprisingly, and thankfully, the movie, and so I suppose the book too, is as objective as it could have been without appearing sympathetic to either of the parties.
To finish off, this is one of those (very rare) movies that convince you that the future isn't all that bad for Hindi cinema. A must watch for all Hindi movie fans, and even those who normally don't watch Hindi movies because of the unrealistic gloss and song-and-dance routines.
This is not only a film. It's a lesson. It's a message. It's cruelly
true history. It's an initiative. It's an attempt. It's a bold step,
forward. It's known yet untold bare truth. And after all it's a film.
No doubt the film opens old wounds, but only to find the root cause of it, only to find cure for them, only to make sure they are eradicated and never surface again. The film presents the hard facts about the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai (then Bombay). The film gives a new dimension to real life cinema, with real name, real incidents, and real people. The usage of actual news footage of the incidents make you believe whatever you are watching. It takes courage to take names of some of the biggest name in underworld and Indian politics as bluntly, and the filmmaker shows that courage. The story doesn't point finger on any particular person, group or community as the culprit for what is still Indian crime history's biggest tragedy. It tries to make a point how some clever minds make their business out of our religious sentiments, at the cost of lives of common men. Men who are common in every sense of it. The terror, the attacks, the explosions, the riots inhales not any particular community but the whole humanity.
Director churns out a stunning effort. Technically too the film is impeccable. The blast sequences couldn't have got any more realistic. Each actor performs his character to full honesty, but Badshah Khan and Tiger Memon stand out.
And before you jump to your own conclusion to decide the culprit(s), to decide the fate of them, the film concludes with the quote that says it all.
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
A must watch.
this is movie is fantastic. two things; i seen this movies in Bombay(
Mumbai) where it had no subtitles. i didn't understand a single word
that was being said but i totally understood almost every scene in the
film ,(except those that all new characters in them). luckily i had
just read Maximum City, Bombay Lost and Found By sekula Metha, which
details a lot of the events in the movie. i am from Ireland and i don't
speak any of the languages in th film. Marastaha? Hindi? As an exercise
in visual film Making it was excellent. i cant wait to watch this again
The acting was superb. deserves to be seen in the west
I remember watching the trailers of Black Friday a couple of years ago and making it a point to watch it.Never before has anyone dared to approach such a controversial issue so blatantly,which is probably why it worked.The events that are depicted in this movie shook not only the city of Bombay but the nation as a whole.To add to the documentary-like look at the blasts of '93,director Anurag Kashyap has done a brilliant job of elucidating moving,intense performances from fine actors like Kay Kay Menon and Aditya Srivastava. Technically, Black Friday is more visionary than most Hindi movies ever made.It did not have exotic locations,an ensemble star cast of the most high profile actors in the industry,or an unlimited budget,all of which are necessities for an Indian movie.The use of complex Steadicam shots,slow motion and hand-held cameras really put the movie into a different perspective.The use of lighting in situations such as the interrogations being bathed in red light also helped set the mood required to really go into the depths of all the stories of the main characters which have been intricately woven together with finesse. Hats off to Mr. Anurag Kashyap for bringing such a fine piece of art to Indian cinema.Seems like the time spent with Mr. Mani Ratnam,the greatest Indian director ever to get behind a camera,is paying off.This is evident in the tinge of patriotism and realism portrayed.Personally i hope guys with vision like this continue bringing quality to Indian cinema.It really needs it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Black Friday" caught up with so many controversies, that many in
Mumbai never thought that it would ever see the light of the day.Now
almost 2 years after the date on which it was slated to release,does it
live up to its expectations? well, it surely does and how!!!
It is not a movie to take the family to on a Sunday afternoon, nor is it an "entertaining" popcorn extravaganza. "Black Friday" is amongst the best films Indian cinema has ever produced, but it is not a movie for everyone. I had my fair share of disappointments, and I think many audiences will walk away unsatisfied by its documentary-like style and unusual structure.
The movie based on the book of Hussain Zaidi, tracks the investigation that takes place followed by the dreadful Bombay serial bomb blast in '93. the foray of the Indian cinema into investigative journalism is splendid to say the least. what makes the film a lot more riveting is the fact that it is not afraid to take names of all those involved in the conspiracy. Hence it has mixed up with a myriad of controversies. For this alone the directors and producers should be applauded for sticking their neck out.
The music by Indian ocean gives the movie a life of its own and especially in the final blast scene the eerie noise that is made is something that can just be experienced in the theaters. The screenplay with its tautness effectively delivers the movie and third person view which it assumes adds another shade to the movie as a whole. Finally the editing does seem to be a tad bit less crisp towards the end but still especially in the first half it is just perfect.
The usage of cranial cameras to capture the top views of Mumbai or the monochromatic shots during the investigation is a pleasure to watch. In fact using the metaphor of a dog to capture the melancholy withing Badshaah Khan's head is simply marvelous to watch. The acting throughout the movie is par excellence and the uncanny resemblance to Dawood Ibrahim is amongst the other reasons why this movie is a must watch for any one.
Finally this movie with the focus on Bombay Bomb blast has covered lots of issues including the stress on the Police during investigation along with the perspectives from all sides. Yet towards the end the message remains global that to stop shedding innocent blood in the name of religion for those who are caught in this web are none but jobless ch#$&@as as so correctly pointed out by Inspector.Rakesh Maria. Its canvas is not just Mumbai but places including Iraq, Afghanistan,911. It shall be if nothing else a textbook to not just learn the technicalities of cinema but also to understand history from a wider perspective.
It saddens me that posters on this thread have the need to brand this
as a 'bollywood' movie. the brilliance that is ' black Friday' is so
far,far,far removed and so many million times better than any of the
dross that conventional ' bollywood' could ever even HOPE to produce
makes 'bollywood' a throughly inappropriate branding for ' black
for me, 'black Friday' is paving the way for what Indian cinema *should* be doing more of....that is, challenging it's audience and offering some intellectual stimulation.
I realise that the Indian cinema public's demand is overwhelmingly for ' boy meets girl, boys long lost brother/best friend also loves the same girl, they have a fight, then they realise they are brothers and engage in a 30 minute dance recital', type of bullshit, but Indians are becoming more sophisticated and I for one cannot wait for the more serious and discerning productions to come from India that truly challenges the mind and senses.
'Black Friday' in this regards represents a HUGE turning point for Indian cinema.
don't miss it..it's a must see movie on so many levels.
Mind blowing. Astounding. Astonishing. Superb. Enthralled. I could go
on and put in all adjectives from the dictionary and even then I would
still feel I need to say more. 1000 words isn't enough to write a
review on Black Friday. Anurag Kashyap's foray into Bollywood was
marred by the judiciary for more than 2 years, but finally the wait
ended a few days back. And we were given the privilege to see the true
potential of Indian film making. The topic was sensitive. Highly
sensitive, one of the most tragic events in the last 3 decades in
Indian history, an event which made Don Dawood Ibrahim as the #1 wanted
man in India.
Right from the beginning, the interrogation sequence where the prisoner confesses,"Sir, bombs are about to explode in the city sir" Right from that word till the last scene where Tiger Memon says,"Mumbai mein dhamaka macha dega hum." you are glued to your seat, wondering what will the director make you see next ? The casting for the movie was in my opinion perfect. One may criticize that Kay Kay Memon was underused, but in my opinion, he was just perfect. He wasn't given much screen appearance but whatever time he had, he brought everyone to their feet. His dialogs brought the entire theater applauding. Aditya Srivastava and Pawan Malhotra were equally good, if not better. Pawan Malhotra's portrayal of the underworld don Tiger Memon was just superb. Same goes for Aditya Srivastava's portrayal of Badshah Khan, the terrorist who turned as a police witness. His struggle to escape the country, from the clutches of Mumbai police was just marvelously portrayed. A person helplessly running around the country, lack of money, being chased around by an unknown force. And when mentioning the casting one cannot but ignore Vijay Maurya as the feared Dawood Ibrahim. He was given about a couple of minutes at maximum of screen presence but even in that minute period he brought a shiver up your spines.
Black Friday is also a very good technical movie. The special effects used are pretty advanced and are at par with Hollywood. The script although adapted is superb. Every expression, dialog will make you feel for the characters in the movie.
Just remember this isn't a movie about Hindus or Muslims. At first you feel for all the people getting killed by the blasts, but later when the riots are shown, then you feel for the Muslims as well. But this ain't a movie for any of the religious sentiments. Its about the society as a whole in those few years in Mumbai. This is the type of movie that India should send to Oscars and other film festivals/awards. The world should be made known that we can make movies that will claim fame and bring India to the global picture.
Mr. Anurag Kashyap,
Take a bow! Black Friday is sincerely the greatest piece of cinematic magic to be released ever. You and your team have produced cinema of the highest quality, raised the notch by a few miles and used this medium like never before, hats off to you sir!
I must admit that I am slightly biased toward your film because I have been born and brought up in Bombay and on March 12, 1993 (the day of the serial blasts) was just 8 years old. As Salman Rushdie famously calls children born during the era of Indian Independence as "Midnight Children", i would like to say we are but "Blast Children". Children whose innocence has been shattered mercilessly by the underworld and extremists from every religion and you have portrayed just that in your film.
The film does not hype terrorism or romanticize the darkness of Bombay or the coldness of its police like many other so called underworld films do but portrays exactly what happens in reality, the human side. Sir, your film has merged the very shady line between cinematic magic, fiction and reality to an intoxicating mix of actuality.
Pawan Malhotra (Tiger Memon), Kay Kay (Rakesh Maria) and Aditya Srivastava (Badhshah Khan) do not act, they live and breathe the very sentiments of these real life people. As a viewing audience I never once felt like I was watching a film, but felt like a 'fly on the wall' as the plot unfolds before your very eyes, the very same helplessness as Mumbaikars felt on that very day of the bomb blasts. The music by Indian Ocean is outstanding, it flows as easily as your reel does and blends so very brilliantly with the script.
The cold chill that trickles down your spine as Dawood Ibrahim is shown in his mansion in Dubai is breathtaking. The authenticity of Bombay and its various locations from fast food restaurants in Bandra to the passport office in Worli is worth many many accolades.
Mr. Kashyap, this film has struck the very chord of life in cinema once more. I'm sure everybody who watches it will share similar sentiments as I do. I am glad that the 2 year dustbin wait for your film did not deter you from eventually getting it released. You are not alone sir, the world supports your work with open arms. The silver screen is worth visiting again. Thank you sir and take a bow again..
Yours sincerely, Aditya
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had the opportunity to see the film at a screening in Berkeley as
part of the San Francisco International Film Festival. Hopefully it
will one day be released in India.
1. The student has surpassed the master. Ram Gopal Varma may think he is pushing the envelope, but Anurag Kashyap has REALLY done that. Make no mistake about it: Kashyap was a big part of the genius behind Satya and it shows in the writing, pacing and even in some of the shots of Black Friday 2. The film is as politically incorrect as Mani Ratnam's Bombay was correct 3. When Satya released, Ali Peter John (of Screen magazine) had a review titled 'Listen, Mr. President Listen, every Indian.' He went on to say about Satya in his review 'That's why it must be seen by every Indian who still loves the truth, by every Indian who still swears he is an Indian.' These comments are equally valid with regards to Black Friday. There is no doubt that Kashyap is obsessed with the truth 4. So enough about other films, on to Black Friday. The film has a non-linear format not because it makes the story more interesting but because its the most impactful (and nearly only way) the story can be told. The film starts on March 9th, three days before the bomb blasts in Bombay and travels all the way forward to 1994 and all the way back to the riots in Bombay in December of 1992. The movie uses the chapters of the book its based on (by Hussain Zaidi) as benchmarks.
5. If I had to classify the film I would say its a docu-drama. Its constructed as if it were part of the case for the prosecution (not my words, its in the prologue of the film). Kashyap uses real raw footage here and there.
6. One of the great triumphs of this film is that it is strikingly objective. And I do not say this from my point of view. I cannot fathom how anyone cannot find this film objective from ANY point of view mainly because the film HAS no point of view (it wants the truth). Even if one disagrees with me on this, it is, at the very least, the least subjective film I've seen on such a big political/historical event in India.
7. Kay Kay (as Inspector Rakesh Maria) is absolutely fantastic in this film though his screen time was limited (there are over 200 characters named in this film, go figure). The surprise packet here is Aditya Srivastava who absolutely nailed his character. Of course he has had minor roles in most of these films (he was Khandilkar in Satya) but I think he is an actor whose films I will definitely look out for.
8. The film does a remarkable job of delving into the psyche of a terrorist AFTER an attack takes place and he is on the run (and I might add here that its the first film I've seen to do this) Of course this is probably well delineated in the book but Kashyap brings it to the silver screen with great emotion and extracts a (as I stated above) marvelous performance from Srivastava (it wouldn't have worked without him) in the process. The film goes into the psyche of the terrorist after the attacks to help the audience understand why he would (*SPOILER*, a very MINOR one though) squeal.
9. The film has no songs but is still as long as your everyday Hindi film. The pacing is fantastic though.
10. The cinematography is outstanding. There are a couple of extraordinary sequences; one of which is a rather comedic foot-chase scene 11. The background score is also outstanding and used wisely. Kashyap uses different styles/type of music throughout various chapters of the film. I don't know who did the score but in general the rule of thumb for fantastic background scores in recent (last 15 years or so) in Hindi cinema has been 1. its done by A.R. Rahman or 2. its in a Ram Gopal Varma film. This breaks that trend.
12. The show I went to sold out as expected and at the end of it you could have heard the slightest bit of movement; there was pin-drop silence.
13. The film's best scene (arguably) is an interrogation between Rakesh Maria (Kay Kay) and Badshah Khan (Aditya Srivastava). The dialogue here deals with communal/religious violence without being clichéd. The dialogue by Kay Kay is so great that one would think that it was spoken by some great historical figure when it was actually merely written by Kashyap! I thought of the scene in Lagaan when Bhuvan gives a discourse on caste-ism when I saw this scene in Black Friday. Of course, the scenes are different but their nature is the same in the sense that the dialogue is so far reaching and that it deals with complicated socio-political issues. The scene in Black Friday is infinitely more effective than its counterpart in Lagaan. They should just give Kay Kay awards for that scene alone (Srivastava was great as well).
14. The film begins and ends with the quote by Gandhi 'An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind'
'Black Friday' is horrifyingly raw. It's overwhelmingly dark. It's
frighteningly real. It's daringly gritty and graphic. Anurag Kashyap's
film is one of the most skillfully executed movies of recent times. A
great screenplay, strong light effects, the use of color, the
direction, the performances, the background score work together very
effectively. The cinematography, whether the shaky camera, the zooming
or the closeup shots, works brilliantly. 'Black Friday' is slick (but
not so much as to take away from the realness). Actors Kay Kay Menon,
Aditya Shrivastava and Pavan Malhotra do an excellent job in the acting
Based on Hussain Zaidi's book of the same title, 'Black Friday' revolves around the investigation of the infamous Bombay blasts (after which Bombay became Mumbai) in the early 90s. The movie opens with a 'boom' and from then on the intricate investigation proceeds. As the trial was still in process, Kashyap had to wait years before his movie could finally release in 2007. The director deserves credit for bravely making a film on such a serious and risky subject.
However, it does have the documentary feel. Kashyap breaks the film into chapters and this gave the feeling that one was watching a documentary series. The pace isn't steady because the film does drag at certain points.
'Black Friday' is a brave well-made film and it is one that should be watched. Not everyone might like it but on some level they may appreciate it.
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