A Wednesday poster

A Wednesday

wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)

quick review:

An engrossing thriller with the most unlikely duo in the main lead - Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah.

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Director: Neeraj Pandey
Running time: 120 minutes
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A Wednesday - Preview

- meeta, a part of the audience

A city under seize. 5 bombs threatening to go off. The administration, in turn, turning all its resources up-side-down. We've seen this and a lot more in Hollywood. But, when you take this basic plot, add some very basic action to it, cast the most wonderful cast you could have, you have me arrested - not wanting to blink once.

I like to observe how the titles of a movie are done, because in a way, it’s a measure of how much respect the decision makers have for their crew. Many a time there's so much noise and glitter during the titles that you are forced to not read the opening credits. So, when half of A Wednesday's titles are plain white text on black background with zero sound, I am hooked.

There's one scene where the person threatening to set-off bombs is very close to being caught. At that point, I was wondering how cool it'd be if he's actually caught at this point, wonder how the story will move on. And at the very same time, I was sincerely hoping that he escapes. Just in case, his capture would mean that the movie is close to its end. I hadn't even realized that it's not even interval yet, that's how much I was enjoying the thrill and the build-up.

While introducing its characters to us, A Wednesday also takes digs at the influence of "stars" in our film industry, gender bias in our society, "creation" of news by our media, and the general attitude of our law and order officials. Along the way, it comments on the impotency of our law enforcement department (though, it was refreshing to see a room full of committed police officers). And as a final bang, very smartly, the plot uses the same impotency to make right right.

Just less than 24 hours ago, I was applauding a director's effort to give Anupam Kher a non-loud, meaningful role. And here we have a movie which has him as the protagonist. Sure, it doesn't require him to go through the whole range of expressions an actor - particularly this one - is capable of. But what it gives him back is our - his audience's - respect. What can I say about Naseeruddin Shah - I was just left speechless by his character's confidence and angst, whether ill-placed or not. Even though, thrillers are not necessarily the best genre to display acting prowess.

Anupam Kher and Jimmy Shergill are what I call the soft faces in the film fraternity. However, stern their characters, you expect them to soften up sooner or later. But they have such strong attitudes here, that when you see Anupam Kher and even Jimmy beat someone up, you don't question it. Both the writing and the performances complement each other.

The smaller side characters also have their charm. Like, the young self-made hacker was cute. Yep! I actually found a geek adorable. Speaking of which, except for the amusing graphics on the screen, the other technical talk didn’t sound like mumbo-jumbo.

The melodramatic background score used to create suspense and the overdramatic slo-mo stylization of Naseeruddin Shah's character are about the only things that irritated me. From the tone of the movie otherwise, especially the muted titles, I got the feel that this excessive drama was not based on creative decisions from the heart but the director resorted to them because he was supposed to. Surprisingly though, the speech in the climax didn't get tiringly preachy. That's mostly because the motivations sounded novel yet believable.

Anupam Kher and Naseerudin Shah - truly a pleasure to see you on the screen together, sirs! That too in a thriller...

- meeta, a part of the audience

32 reviewers(?) - 26 yays 4 so-so 2 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Nikhil Kumar, Apun Ka Choice : ... A Wednesday has none of that Bollywood guck and gimmickry... full review

Thumbs up, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...a terrific cast of underutilised actors, comprising Jimmy Sheirgill, Aamir Bashir, and especially Anupam Kher... full review

Thumbs up, by Daliya Daspurkayastha, Business of Cinema : ...Aamir Bashir is up to the mark. Deepal Shaw plays her part with poise.... full review

Thumbs up, by Jaya Biswas, Buzz18 : ...As one might be deceived by the promos, A Wednesday, directed by Neeraj Pandey, has nothing to do with the 2006 train explosions, and is not another Mumbai Meri Jaan... full review

Thumbs up, by Yasser Usmaan, DearCinema : ...Shah. It’s not an extraordinary role but Shah with his brilliance takes it to another level.... full review

Thumbs up, by Robert L Sungte, Deccan Herald : ...maybe fictitious but it draws inspiration from the realities of our time.... full review

Thumbs up, by Deep, Deep's Home : ...not too long.. not too short.. no crap scenes... full review

Thumbs up, by Aniruddha Guha, DNA : ...What makes A Wednesday an engrossing watch is that it focuses more on the thriller element than trying to be a film that preaches.... full review

Thumbs up, by Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times : ...It has a walloping impact – and despite some sections which could be interpreted as Muslim bashing – is absolutely A-grade. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...it's a film best seen without any impressions. It's a film whose charm lies in its unraveling.... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...This movie has so much to offer than a few vital glimpses highlighted in the promos. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ...Though you are unremittingly glued to the screen throughout its runtime, it’s the superlatively intelligent pre-climax that catches you unaware... full review

Thumbs up, Indicine : ...The movie is just 1:30 hours in duration and the director even manages to squeeze in a couple of comic scenes too... full review

Thumbs up, by Amrita, Indiequill : ...This is perhaps because it is not a message movie, as much as it is a watercooler movie - the kind that makes you think rather than handing you an instruction manual.... full review

Thumbs up, by Harsha Jain, Intermission, The Bookeazy Blog : ...You just can’t predict the next scene or move, it leaves you guessing and then exults you with its turn out.... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'Souza, J.A.M : ...nothing about Naseer really surprises, because this here is an actor who takes pride in his craft. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Mr. Inkenti, Mr. Inketis Weblog : ...The film is gripping and well directed without any slow and unnecessary scenes... full review

Thumbs up, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...But post-interval, Neeraj's script takes a turn that sets A Wednesdayapart from the slew of terror films we’ve seen recently. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Mythily Ramachandran, Now Running.com : ...Naseeruddin Shah steals the show with his character... full review

Thumbs up, by Phoenixnu, Passion for Cinema : ...where is he hiding ? or is he already busy signing multi film deals ? Because A Wednesday is one of the best debuts of this year and a must watch! ... full review

Thumbs up, by Joxily John, Planet Bollywood : ...Anupam Kher. Despite all those silly inane roles that have plagued this mans filmography, some rare roles like this give us an insight into this actor’s worth.... full review

Thumbs up, by Goher Iqbal Punn, Radio Sargam : ...laced with powerful content swathed with the brilliant performances by the luminous stars of high caliber.... full review

Thumbs up, by Elvis D'Silva, Rediff : ...Movies like A Wednesday throw up more questions about marketing and communication than they do about good versus bad cinema... full review

Thumbs up, by Harshita Kohli, StarBoxOffice : ...Naseeruddin Shah shows us why he is a legend... full review

Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...one of the most original dramas onaaj ka burning issue... full review

So-So, by Jahan Bakshi, Now Running.com : ...So even while I find myself complaining and cribbing about the film's lack of significant depth, A Wednesday does make an eminently watchable film ... full review

So-So, by Subhash K Jha, Now Running.com : ...Cleverly the narration manoeuvres all the physical action away from the two aging protagonists to a couple of hot-blooded young cops played effectively by Jimmy Shergill and Aamir Bashir... full review

So-So, by Pavan Jha, Passion for Cinema : ...I am happy that it ended in 95 minutes and saved a lot of time specially on the nonsense it could have been if it had been a full length feature in terms of our average movie length... full review

So-So, Upper Stall : ...Neither of the roles are written with any real depth, and are not particularly challenging assignments for these two seasoned performers.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, Mumbai Mirror : ...I suspect the larger problem with the picture is not as much with its point, as that we need unsubtly find one, and be disappointed by it.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...Missteps in the script make you wonder if the makers were genuinely attempting a film making a strong social comment.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

3 readers - 2 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by JJ : A film that respects its audience

Yay! Thumbs Up, by where can i find garcinia cambogia

So-So, by www.youtube.com

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

A police officer narrates the most interesting case of his life a day before he is going to retire.

What Worked

  • The sound in the scene where Officer Jai drops his wife off at a station and comes out to see a constable(?) being bribed by a taxi driver. The train sounds in the background with the argument between the constable and the taxi driver in the foreground sounded great.
  • Color saturation of the reds and yellows in the first few Naseeruddin Shah scenes.
  • Chetan Pandit's (Chief Minister of Maharashtra's) pronounced Marathi accent while speaking Hindi and English. Even more admirable if Chetan Pandit can actually speak other languages without that accent.
  • Beautiful touch in the end where Naseeruddin Shah goes back to fetch his groceries.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • What was the purpose of the actor's (Arjun Khanna's) sub-plot?
  • Priya's (Officer Jai's wife's), dialogue delivery. It had a drone to it that was quite annoying.
  • What was the meaning of Naseeruddin Shah's shots being interspersed with the close-up of an eye when the terrorists' profiles were being discussed?
  • Are prisoners given paan/tobacco to chew on in our jails? Ikhtaque Ahmed, a terrorist serving sentence, was shown chewing something and spitting while walking out of the prison.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A good amount of rather brash fist fights.
  • Sexual content: None
  • Concept: It's about the need to deal with terrorism and provides one rather shocking, ethically-questionable solution.

A Wednesday - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Director:
Screenplay:
Cinematography:
Background Score:
Action Choreography:
Music Director:
Running time:
120 minutes
Reviewer:
Language:
Country:

Comments (15)

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Interesting review. Thanks.
Here's what I have to say about this movie,..
http://www.gauravs.com/movie-review/a-wednesday

hi meetu,
nice review, I really like the movie, Infact I do make it a point to have a dekko at your review before watching a movie.

A suggestion : Can you create a enhancement to your scribblepad/notepad section on each movies where readers can add to your observations.

cheers

Thanks satish! That's a good idea, let me see if it's technically possible.

Nice movie , wish more such movies are made in bollywood . Naseeruddin and Anupam are two masters of acting.

Dear Meetu,

I have been reading WOGMA(and referring it to people since a long time..) and this might be the first time I am commenting on one of your reviews..

I love movies.. watching them.. and occasionally making a short one too... and A Wednesday was one of those movies that I wait for... movies like Khuda Ke Liye, Mithya, Khosla Ka Ghosla... movies which don't have big budget production houses.. and which don't have the 'I-don't-give-a-damn-about-the-character' actors..

But I found it quite disappointing...

I agree that 'brave' movies like these have to be lauded... the fact that such movies and directors find support in multiplex audiences and production banners is appreciable.. but I believe that just because a movie is brave.. doesn't make it a good movie...

The movie has too many cliches... a room full of techies who turn together on hearing a phone call... a young hacker talking to his girlfriend in front of the SP..(not to forget the false accent..)... A cop who beats another cop but the media doesn't arrive(when you show that the media is sick... how can you overlook this..)...
The intelligence people are busy changing wallpapers and refreshing their desktops..(whatever happened to details..)..

The second half of the movie is speedy.. and the supporting actors(the cop who wrote Nasir's FIR.. the Muslim don...The minister...) are all good..

Naseer is the best part of the movie... his acting.. his voice.. his lines.. are just perfect... (I remember cursing Khuda ke liye for its shoddy supporting actors and flaws in the script.. till Naseer appeared on screen and his speech that gave goosebumps..) His is one role that is perfect in this movie...

But I believe Anupam Kher overdid his part... some parts of the movie are simply unbearable.. there are sharp cuts... when Anupam shouts at his two commandos.. it makes a sorry scene rather than a stong one..(my personal opinion..)...

On the whole I believe.. A Wednesday was a nice movie.. must watch.. but lets not overlook its flaws...

And yeah...

Keep up the good work...

(I used to write short reviews for some time on one of our sites.. http://www.themovieanalyst.com... but I read your reviews to neutralize my opinion on any flick...)

Its definitely a fresh take on the subject which has been in many movies off late. I thought the movie was desperate in some places (like forcing us to think Naseer is the head honcho), but for that, its definitely a nice watch for a multiplex movie goer.

Thanks Shantanu. For your compliments and you detailed thoughts on the movie. I'm sorry, I didn't understand - "I read your reviews to neutralize my opinion on any flick…" this mean...Please elaborate :)

Fixed, Vimal. Thanks for pointing it out. It was a technical glitch, all 'See Full Review' were broken :(

Hi,

You linked my Weblog's reviews to this page before. It took me a while to watch this film, but i watched it and reviewed. Visit the blog if you would like to link it here.

thanks. great work! keep it up!

Hey Prashant, not necessarily all good films are master pieces. They are good films. We can keep arguing about the things we disagree on, but its just a point of view. This time we agree on some and differ on other details.

Hi Meetu,

I used to write for this movie review site started by one of my friends.. http://www.themovieanalyst.com
And as is.. I am very passionate about movies... especially the offbeat ones... and so am often biased.. so before writing reviews for that site I used to read your reviews and IMDB user comments to neutralize whatever bias I have for a movie.. :D

And I think I agree with Prashant... while we must applaud the movie for its originality.. we must not call it a masterpiece if it has flaws... it is doing injustice to movies which deserve to be called masterpieces.. something like 'Pather Panchali' or 'Pyasa' or 'Satya' or 'Saaransh'....

This movie could have been taken to a different plane altogether had the director been wise enough to make this movie taut..

That is the reason perhaps why everybody is debating over how many stars this movie must get...

Anyway, as you and Sakshi believe.. To Each His Own... :D

Take care and keep churning out the reviews...

p.s.: Can we have more English reviews...? I came here looking for some of them and didn't find any.. :)

@shantanu, why would you want to neutralize your opinion? Sharp and articulate opinions is what we need.

And I did not call the movie a masterpiece. A masterpiece anyway is a time bound tag anyway, only after a movie/piece of art has lived long enough in its audience's memories can it be termed a masterpiece.

Do you not believe in 'to each his own'? If so, I'm very interested in knowing why.

Like Anand pointed out, guest reviewers do review English movies every once in a while. Check them out here - http://withoutgivingthemovieaway.com/main/category/hollywood/

This is more about an idea, a 'what if' rather than the believability of it happening. Goodness, I hope its nowhere close to reality.

I think the movie is one of the best I have ever seen...it is simple but carries a great concept behind it.Naserruddin Shah..enacted the role of a "common man" very well.

JJ

A film that respects its audience

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