Sunday, June 03, 2007

Black Friday

I have been a fan of Anurag Kashyap even before I had seen his directorial debut, Black Friday (2004, as per IMDB records). Actually, his directorial debut was Paanch which was never released (not yet at least).

Anurag has been doing terrific work with directors like Ram Gopal Varma (Satya), Mani Ratnam (Yuva) and Deepa Mehta (Water), among others. But I've been a fan simply because of his doggedness to his purpose. Such a talented man and yet he had to wait for nearly one and half decades for his film to see the light of the day. But he never gave up. He was extremely depressed but he kept on walking. And finally, he has made it. Anyone who sees Black Friday will recognize the talent that he is. Even if we have had half a dozen filmmakers like Anurag in Bombay, the face of Hindi cinema would change. Look what has happenend to great Indian filmmakers like Shyam Benegal, Muzaffar Ali, Gulzar, and Govind Nihalani--they are either spent forces or they don't get the financial backing for the kind of projects they want to do. But they seem to be living in a time warp, and they don't have the idiom to portray the dangerous realities of contemporay lives (or maybe they have become complacent--been there, done that kind of feeling).

I don't have much hope from filmmakers like Aditya Chopra (he looked promising in Mohabbatein), Sanjay Ghadvi (Dhoom 1 and 2) and Karan Johar and co. They are all into commecial cinema, big budget, big bucks cinema. I thought Ram Gopal Varma was India's Tarantino but he too seems to have got enticed by the business of filmmaking at the cost of its artistic side.

Similarly, after showing talent in Black, Sanjay L Bhansali has got back to the tested and tried stuff, as in his upcoming Saawariya. I respect Bhansali, not because he did a great job in Black (which he did) but because he let Ravi K Chandran take such beautiful shots throughout the film. Each and every frame was mindblowing (not in a realistic way though, not the kind of realistic cinematography that you would see in a Satyajit Ray film) but beautiful in its own right.

I had great hopes from Shekhar Kapur too (after Bandit Queen) but he seemed to have lost it after he made his foray in Hollywood. But thank God, after watching the trailer of Elizabeth: The Golden Age, I am confident that Shekhar will bounce back with his best work ever.

Sorry for the digression. All I wanted to say was that Anurag is a great talent and he should not waver from his integrity and purposefullness. I hope he emerges as India's Oliver Stone (yes, I too hate these comparisions but how else can I say it).

Black Friday is just perfect. The film, based on Hussain Zaidi's book tracing the origins of the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts, can be summed up by the first and last lines (quotes/titles) of the film. The film begins with Gandhi's quote: An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. And it ends with the title card: And now Bombay is called Mumbai. In between lies the truth, told from the persective of police investigators and the statements issued by the Muslim "terrorists". The acting is natural, and Pavan Malhotra, Aditya Srivastava and Kay Kay are amazing. Pavan too could have become as good as Irfan Khan but he perhaps lost it somewhere.

I have only one minor grouse aganist the film. What is it with the red filters Mr Kashyap? They look so odd, and give the viewers a feeling of discomfort. Just because some South East Asian filmmakers use it does not make it automatically cool. Please follow your own instintcs.


Obiter Dictum said...

Never been a movie person actually. Watch it sporadically. Benegal's earlier works, I thought, was brilliant. Never enjoyed a movie as much as Mandi, whatever happened to Shama Zaidi, I though her adaptations of stories to screenplays was fantastic.

Black, I thought was over rated. Big B's acting was stereotypical, over done.

That role, I still believe should have gone to Naseeruddin Shah with a word to tone it down a bit.

His rendition of a blind man in Sparsh, I think, is the best ever performance in any Indian movie.

As of corse, Sir Hopkins's Hannibal Lector in the first "Silence of the Lambs" was in Hollywood movies.

But then, what do I know.

Zafar Anjum said...

Naseer was great in Sparsh. No doubt. I miss those kinds of films. Black Friday has rekindled my interest in Hindi films. Serious could be entertaining too: it gives me a different kind of satisfaction. I hear soon Anurag's No Smoking is going to rock.

Manzoor Khan said...

Zafar bhai, I saw this movie on cable. It was so near to reality that the film left me with a depressing mood. The movie was as real as it could have been. No special effects, no unnecessary melodrama, no stupid romatic sequences. It was a very hard hitting film, with a very balanced point of view. Not everyday do we get to see the movie of this type. The people who make these movies have box office as the last thing in their mind.

Zafar Anjum said...

Thanks Manzoor Miyan. Yes, I know that at least the backers of Black Friday did not have their eyes on the box office returns--but the film has still done well. You can read Anurag's reactions on his blog. As you have rightly pointed out, Black Friday stands out because of its uncompromising integrity.

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