Follow-up - Black Friday

by meeta | 5 comments | 3,307 views | Add comment

Thank you so much for your feedback! I am truly overwhelmed by the time and energy some of you have spent in penning your thoughts down and sending them to me.

Of course, I have received a lot of feedback for my latest review Black Friday, and for good reason. Movies in this genre do deserve discussion and a lot of it.

Please note that to make sense of this post, you will need to read the review on Black Friday and the story section linked to it.

Let me first confess that my review of Black Friday was not completely unbiased. I was in Bombay during the riots and the blasts. I am not interested in the motivations of the people who wanted to destroy the city I love and how they did it – be it Tiger Menon or the people who provoked him.

In pursuit of a healthy discussion, here is my feedback to your feedback. I have summarized and paraphrased the comments and e-mail I have received so far, such that all comments of one type are addressed together.

Comment - One of your most immature comments was why women are not depicted well.

I apologize. What I said in the what didn’t work section can be misinterpreted. I did not mean there should have been a bigger role for women or that I wanted an item number. I meant the women did not ‘act’ well. It looked like not too much attention was paid to their acting.

Comment - Comparison with other movies -

I refuse to compare two movies that fall in different genres. Each genre has its own purpose and a good movie is one that does justice to its genre. So, I will not go about explaining why I liked Don and did not like Black Friday.

But, two movies in the same genre can be discussed in the same breath. Yes, I gave direction of Traffic Signal a 4/5 and Black Friday 2.5/5. Traffic Signal wanted to tell you a story about the nexus that revolves around a Traffic Signal and it does that well. Black Friday wanted to sensitize you to the futility of using religion to kill each other. It ends up spending too much time on the helplessness of a terrorist. It felt like it was a message to the terrorist – “Don’t get influenced by the people who run the underworld! They are going to leave you after their job is done!”

Or maybe, to me, Traffic Signal seems more real because I have spent a little more time in the slums that are portrayed there than with the Dawood Ibrahims of the world.

Since I did not understand what the purpose of the movie was, some comments have explained what the purpose was.

Comment - Purpose of the movie - the plight of the terrorist after the aftermath.

Why do we need to know what the terrorist went through in a movie that wants to send a message? It is maybe, just maybe, acceptable in a fictional film like “Fanaa”. Unless, the purpose is to tell the terrorists not to terrorize. Then, I am not a terrorist and thus this movie did not appeal to me.

Comment – Purpose of the movie – It is a message to the minority, “Abhi jag jao”.

What about a message to majority? This is a huge problem I had with the story. More time needed to be spent on the political motivations of the riots in December 1992. One argument of course is that “you cannot show everything in 2.5 hours”. My counter-argument – if you can spend almost 30 minutes on the “plight” of a small-time terrorist (Badshah) and 10 minutes on the side-story of the accessory to the blasts (Khurana), you should have spent more time on the political motivations of the December 1992 riots which were the very cause of the blasts.

Comment - Not all cops are corrupt.

Yes, most certainly and thank goodness for that! My question is not, “how can there be honest cops?”. It is, “How come not a single cop was dishonest?”

Comment - Corrupt cops are in “masala movies”.

Now really?! So, Tiger Menon had no control over any cop or politician? This is difficult for me to digest as the complete truth?

Comment – Don’t insult someone like Anurag Kashyap.

I doubt any director/actor/artist can be insulted because someone did not like what they created. They certainly do not expect 100% acceptance of their art. If a movie claims to give its audience the truth, it should give the complete truth. If it is out to give a message, it should give the message to everybody, not just one section of the society.

Comment – No newspaper can hit people the way this movie did.

What’s next? A movie on how the Bombay serial train blasts in July 2006 were organized? And then one on how the children in Nithari were raped. Nope, immortalizing the deeds of terrorists does not strike any chord in me.

Comment - When Hollywood makes a stupid movie like United 93, the media there promotes it and it receives such support that it is nominated to the oscars, We should take note of that before criticizing movies such as Black Friday.

Just like not all good movies are nominated to the Oscars, not all movies nominated to the Oscars are great. I think it is wrong not to voice an opinion just because someone in some other part of the world is promoting something that is not worth it according to someone else.

Yeah, this happens to be one of those times that my opinion of a movie is not the popular one. The “To each his own section” of my review is proof to that – 13 out of the 16 other reviewers listed there liked the movie. Oh well, so be it.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Comments (5)

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meetu:

Hi Anonymous,

Yes, I know it was based on a book written by Hussain Zaidi.

Thank you very much for pointing me to the article. Was the point of the movie to tell the story of Badshah? I don't think so. Badshah was a part of the whole.

All I am trying to say is the "whole" should be complete, starting from the motivations behind the Babri Masjid episode. By saying "the past is prologue", I feel you are belittling the role that episode and those motivations played in the bomb blasts.

Thanks for your feedback!

meetu:

Dear anonymous,

I think it is wrong to compare movies in two entirely different genres.

Black Friday is trying to send across a message using a real incident. And this is no ordinary message, it has to do with people's very basic beliefs. Here if you are telling one section 'an eye for an eye makes the world go blind' to one section of the society and not to the other, it beats its own purpose.

I repeat, Black Friday is great cinema. The acting, the other technical aspects are all par excellence. But, if you are going to make something so powerful, you have to address the complete issue.

Salaam-e-Ishq is a no-brainer entertainer. And it entertained me for 2 hours.

I feel really bad that I have lost some of my readers.

meetu:

Point taken, kryptos! I agree with you, we need a prequel, but it can't come 2-3 years later, it has to be now! This movie exposes the sentiments of one community and not the other, and that I think is really...dangerous.

meetu:

Kryptos, I don't think "water" is full and full India. Do you really believe 34 million widows in India are being treated the way it has been portrayed there? That is a *huge* number! Read this interesting comment to my review at https://www2.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=34620228&postID;=1761317963147472899

I agree with you on Rang de Basanti. No form of art, and more so movies should propagate violence as a solution to our problems. Even if it has great performances.

Salaam-e-Ishq is very contrived and maybe insignificant, but is most certainly in an entirely different genre. So, it should not be discussed when we are talking about serious cinema.

meetu:

Hi Kryptos, good morning!

See, I think it is very difficult to judge which movie will instill patriotism. Whether or not you and I like a movie, if it works in sending a message to a large section of the audience, it works. Be it, Rang De Basanti, Lage Raho Munnabhai or Swades. All these movies have effected a considerably large mass. And so has Black Friday.

You are right, mixing commercial and serious cinema might degrade the art, but is it wrong even if it reaches more people?

Water was set 70 years ago. But the last line says something to the effect that there are 34 million widows in India now (2001 or 2002, can't remember) implying that all of them are treated the way they are in the movie. Of course, other than the fact that I don't think it was very well made. Very few would have cared for it if it were not for the controversy.

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