Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Film review: Black Friday

Image: The Interrogation.

Anurag Kashyap's docu-style enactment of the '93 Bombay Blasts case, the biggest criminal case in Indian legal history, is earth-shattering (pun intended!) to be quite frank. The film starts with Gandhiji's immortal words: "An eye for an eye wil make the Earth blind." (and hey, it ends with the same) And what follows is some ten minutes or so of pure gore, bloodspill, death, pandemonium of titanic proportions. The very look on a scorched man's face says more than a thousand words of mine can ever express about the impact that those blasts had. What is quite ironical about the blasts is that even though a petty criminal had revealed some crucial details of the blasts before they occured, the police were too confident to believe those: dismissing that man's words as mere foolery.

Kashyap superbly shows each and every minute detail of the planning and execution of the blasts. Kashyap follows the police as it tracks each and every criminal involved in the blasts. And like a house of cards, the whole hierarchy of underworld gangsters starts falling down. The ruthless, tactful and efficient style of interrogation adopted by the Mumbai police often borders on bloody torture. To get the correct facts out, the police leave no stone unturned: even going as far as publicly humiliating the kindred, women included, of the suspects. Kay Kay Menon plays the role of a touch cop with elan: adding a tangible reality to the role, which makes it all the more credible. When Kay Kay, himself quite disturbed due to the the inhuman methods his subordinates and himself have to resort, thrusts his head into a bucket full of water; it strikes me as one of the most sublime moments in the whole movie (of course, the blast scenes are the most mind-bogglingly filmed!). In the second half, the film proceeds mostly through the narrative of one Badshah Khan, himself a suspect-turned-police-witness: Badshah reveals how he gets to meet the wily Tiger, who convinces him that killing hindus (or what is put under the misnomer of 'Jihad') is the only way one can seek vengeance for the horrible Babri Masjid issue, and the following religious riots in Mumbai. Badhshah then narrates how the whole plan of planting bombs is laid out and effectively executed. What is most remarkable is the way the flight of Badshah from the police is filmed. The hapless guy has to travel from one town to another, one city to another, living in filthy conditions quite often; promised that he'll be taken to Dubai soon, and then left to die in the hands of the police by Tiger Memon and the higher ranks in the Mumbai Underworld. Incidentally, it's the heaped-up tension and frustation that spurs Badshah to turn into a police-witness. There's a certain flashback towards the end of the film which shows how Tiger Memon, his associates and agents of ISI plan to execute a grand show of 'Jihad' to terrify Hindu hearts, and seek revenge for the injustice lent out to the Muslims-- which is absolutely fabulously shot.

The dialogue in the film is very commendable. There's a certain line where Kay Kay answers a group of reporters on the allegation that the police are violating human rights when brutally interrogating suspects: (I am presenting just a mere translation of what Kay Kay says in Hindi) "When we interrogate cruel murderers cruelly, you enquire about violation of human rights. Why don't you ask us about violation of human rights when hundreds of innocent people die in the blasts? The guys in lockup we are interrogating aren't innocent people, they are hardcore terrorists; and we'd be quite happy to hand over the interrogation to all of you! Unless you humiliate these guys and their family-members, you can't get a word out of their mouths!"
In a conversation with Badhshah, Kay Kay says: "You, who kills in the name of religion, are a bastard. And so is the hindu who kills you and your people in the name of religion." I can't agree more. No religion ever promotes or justifies unjust warfare, and people who kill in the name of 'religion' are the biggest hypocrites in the world. "You think that your Tiger Memon is a Jihaadi. Why is he sitting in Dubai with his family now, while you people are rotting here in our jails?" Kay Kay continues, "You think that Allah was with you all the while, when you took revenge for the damage inflicted on you. Allah always blesses the one who seeks truth, and if we had not been seekers of the just truth, you would'nt be standing before us here!"

The film however scores the most in technique, camera, direction and acting: every little detail in the film is as credible as real (even the guy who plays Dawood Ibrahim). Just watch the film to understand why I speak so highly of it: it's something you should never miss.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Sudipto,

Not because you have 0 comments as yet to this remarkable review that I'm sending you this one, but believe me, in addition to your excellently-put clear ideas on everything you say, your choices and tastes are bound to be appreciated. It's heartening to see that films like Traffic Signal and Black Friday are being watched by (if not all) atleast some of my friends, and as to that (good for you), not only being watched, but pondered on.

And being one of the regular readers of your blog, (though I know I take most of your time on the net, but if you wish, I'll stop it gladly, anytime:-))it's an urge to you, Sudipto, that keep on writing! We are waiting for a new post!

With regards