Cast: Aditya Srivastava, Pavan Malhotra and Kay Kay Menon Director: Anurag KashyapRating: ****
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” – an observation by Mahatma Gandhi – is how Anurag Kashyap’s masterpiece “Black Friday”, based on S. Hussein Zaidi’s book of the same name, starts. The film brings out the horrendous, painful and nerve-wracking moments in 1993 that shook the commercial capital of the country, Mumbai (then Bombay) from its very bottom, leaving the country numb to its core. Kashyap, through his film, very ably sketches a macro picture of the day, March 12, 1993, and the happenings that gave shape to such a gruesome deed.
The fact that Kashyap has been able to present a true and more or less transparent picture, which is not easy when dealing with a sensitive subject like this, is really commendable. Just as Zaidi, Kashyap does not paint it in just black and white. He actually goes into the skin of every character and brings out the good in them. Through Baadshah Khan, played by Aditya Shrivastava of “CID” fame, Kashyap is able to bring to viewers the humane side of such so-called terrorists who were jobless, poor and thus became vulnerable in the hands of rich businessmen like Tiger Memon (Pavan Malhotra). Pavan’s acting is so natural that the viewers actually love to hate him in the film.
In fact, every actor in the film has given a stupendous performance. Young DCP (deputy commissioner of polce) Rakesh Maira, played by Kay Kay Menon, is the main driver of the movie. He does a tremendously good job in bringing out the frustration, anger, yet apathy that the cop went through while solving a case, which commanded headlines in the international press. It’s an outstanding movie that balances the sentiments of both the religious communities. It studies and analyses the communal riots that took place prior to the blasts, induced by Hindu religious fanatics who destroyed the Babri Masjid resulting in brutal killings of young Muslim men and assault of Muslim women and children. Kashyap very skilfully brings in the names of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani, who according to Memon and his acquaintances were kingpins behind the Babri Masjid demolition.
At no point in the film does Kashyap try to be judgmental. And unlike the book, he has completely omitted parts that mention Sanjay Dutt or Abu Salem’s names. But Kashyap has failed in one aspect. He seems to have forgotten the fact that the bulk of the viewers would consist of those who were 10-14 years old when the blasts occurred. For most of them, many events of the film would seem unknown and ambiguous. He could have also introduced many of the characters better. The music by rock-brand Indian Ocean is apt to the situations and the only one song that the movie has brings out the real spirit behind the film. All in all, a brilliant film with an equally competent star cast. This movie is a must see for those who care for the country and believe that “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. “Black Friday” is India’s only entry at the Locarno Film Festival this year.