Black Friday poster

Black Friday

wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)

quick review:

Is some good performances and a lot of technical finesse enough to make a good movie? I don't think it is - for a movie that falls into the 'reality' genre. The content needs a lot more depth than this one had. Also, I just didn't understand the purpose of the movie. Was it to tell people how bombs are made or to tell terrorists not to terrorise? I think such movies receive more attention than they deserve due to the controversy they create.

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Director: Anurag Kashyap
Running time: 160 minutes
More Movie Info

Black Friday - Preview

None

- meeta, a part of the audience

Black Friday is a very well made movie; the technical aspects are par excellence and live up to the expectations of the genre. The acting is at its best, the background music is very well used, and the locations and sets seem as real as they could be. But the narration style is not gripping at all.

This movie is being advertised as a movie about 'the truth'. So there's the usual gore, the regular torture in prison cells, the typical yelling and pleading associated with a crime, and the investigation thereof. The strange thing is that not a single cop was bribed during the inquiry and you don't see one politician through the movie. Was it really so easy for the police to get all the information about this act of terrorism as is portrayed in the movie? And by the way, if this movie is 'the truth', all our other movies that show greedy police officers and politicians and claim to be fictitious, etc - they are actually telling the truth! These dishonest people in the bureaucracy are a figment of imagination!

The movie is not about one police officer, one terrorist or one victim. It is about the bomb blasts. It is a dispassionate, non-judgmental account. It is like reading a newspaper, gives you the details of the way things supposedly happened. Of course, the visuals and language are much more graphic than a few pictures in print.

Kay Kay Menon (Additional Police Commissioner), Pawan Malhotra (Tiger Menon) and Aditya Shrivastav (Badshah) do full justice to their roles. But the characters (except Badshah) are not sketched out very well and the non-linear presentation does not help. In fact it adds to the confusion of the long list of names and the inter-connections.

Also, what exactly is the aim here? Is it to tell the world, "this is how ammunition is smuggled into India, this is how terrorists were trained, and this is how it was planted"? There is nothing shocking about the answers to any of these questions. Obviously, if there were bomb blasts, someone-somewhere got the raw material and organized the whole operation. Is the aim, then, to tell both the Hindu and Muslim fascists how this is not what God wants? If it was so easy to convince the fundamentalists, then wouldn't half the problems in the world be over by now? And I surely hope the aim is not to tell Tiger Menon and Dawood Ibrahim, "We know what you did thirteen years ago?" By the way, in the middle of all this, was I supposed to feel bad for the terrorist?

No, I certainly don't expect every movie to have a list of aims and objectives. But, for a serious movie of this caliber, a much clearer purpose is needed. Especially when the previews have bold, red letters on a black background that read "the 'real' contender for the Oscars", a little more than a documentary is expected. Unless, of course, you are hoping for a nomination in the "documentary" category.

- meeta, a part of the audience

16 reviewers(?) - 13 yays 2 so-so 1 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 : ... Taking least possible cinematic liberty and retaining objectivity throughout the film, Anurag Kashyap tells a compelling and disturbing story in ‘Black Friday’... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjay Ram, Business of Cinema : ... It simply states the point and that too in a very objective fashion... full review

Thumbs up, by Deep, Deep's Home : ...Very detailed research done and they have covered every minute detail related to blast.... full review

Thumbs up, by Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times : ...The docu-drama structure is so skillfully employed that you’re gripped.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...The actual blast scenes are shot in such a languid style, exactly the way a bystander would have experienced it... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...Certain films are beyond box-office. You don't look at the balance sheet at the end of the day... full review

Thumbs up, by Ashish Shakya, J.A.M : ...Even minor characters leave a mark... full review

Thumbs up, by Vaibhav, M TV : ...he police interrogation scenes, the 10 min chase sequence with black humour, the landing of explosives - just about everything is done with minute attention to details.... full review

Thumbs up, by Ashok Nayak, Now Running.com : ...Black Friday is reality cinema at its best... full review

Thumbs up, by Vivek Kumar, Passion for Cinema : ...A curisoisty, not because it was about a city I loved, but it was like reading an intersting visual book... full review

Thumbs up, by Vijay Venkataramanan, Planet Bollywood : ...The use of grainy stock and hand-held shots also add to the gritty tone of the film... full review

Thumbs up, by Prithviraj Hegde, Rediff : ...There are moments in the second half when the filmmaker seems to lose the vice-like grip by which he holds viewers but that's excusable since the film has to stay within the framework of its reality theme... full review

Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...the film moves like a taut thriller, without ideology colouring the sepia frames... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, Maharashtra Herald, Local newspaper: ...He manages to somehow sensationalise everything and make heroes out of criminals...

So-So, by Murphy, Murphy's Movie Reviews : ...There's a lot of material covered in the film and its structure of flashbacks and flashbacks within flashbacks requires an audience to pay careful and close attention.... full review

Thumbs down, by Prema K., Bollyvista.com : ...the ’93 bomb blasts is hardly a slice of history that needs to be glorified or glamourized on screen.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

7 readers - 3 yays 4 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by discount golf clubs : Excellent

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Tamillyrics.co.in

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Tamillyrics.co.in

So-So, by Consumer Goods

So-So, by Enjoylyrics.com

So-So, by Hindilyrics4u.co.in

So-So, by Hindilyrics4u.co.in

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

Plot Summary

As the review mentions, the movie is not about one or two people, it is about the 1993 bomb blasts in Bombay. It narrates how Tiger Menon (Pawan Malhotra) supposedly organized the serial blasts. How he trained the actual operators and how he treated them after the job was done. It also tells you how the police got hold of key information.

What Worked

  • The sound effects in combination with silence is used uniquely both in creating tension before the first blast and in adding to the shock value after the blast.
  • The one chase scene in a Mumbai slum is shot with finesse.

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

  • Acting of the few women in the movie - looked like no attention has been paid to them at all.
  • Dawood Ibrahim - The camera angles and background music given to his character were just plain out of place

Nitty-Gritty

This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

This one just stood out - During the only chase sequence, there is one scene in an underground passage on one of Bombay's railway stations. It was absolutely empty in broad daylight!

Black Friday - Cast, crew, links

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Screenplay:
Music Director:
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Running time:
160 minutes
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Comments (9)

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Thanks for the feedback, Morph.

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.

Dear meetu

Honestly there is no comparison between Black Friday and Traffic Signal . I Guess its obvious From the 20 Odd reviews that you Have Posted . You Are the only One I know Off Who Doesnt Like the Movie :) and Deepa Gehlot ! Who says This Movie Glorifies Gangsters ! Surprisingly She Said the Same thing about Omkara.

I advise you to watch it again . i know of people who after seeing Black Friday havent been able to sleep that night :) so it accomplishes its job of sensitising more than pretty well

Hi Venkatesh, you are right, that this is the easiest way to reach a mass audience. I guess, I have to take it with the same pinch of salt as I would take any newspaper report.

The movie is not only non-linear, it is also backward. Because of this, least importance was given to the Babri Masjid riots. Which is one of my main complaints.

Hey Morph, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. I did find a point to agree on though, I didn't like all Madhur Bhandarkar movies either :-)

Dear blackfridayfan, I certainly noticed that I am one of the very few who did not like it! I am sure you too can think of one movie that almost the whole world liked but you did not. I would love to know which one that is.

Thank you all for the discussion.

Hi ride,

Actually, technically i thought the movie was alright. Its the missing points that bothered me and bother me even now when I think about the movie.

Thanks for the feedback!

Hey deepro,

How could it have given undue attention to Bal Thackeray or Tagodia if it did not give undue attention to Tiger Menon and Badshah?

I will refrain from repeating my other problems with the movie here. If you are interested, you can read my replies to comments and Follow-up - Black Friday

Unfortunately, since I did not like the movie. And most people who have read the book, say the movie is a fair representation of the book, I am not motivated to read the book.

Hi sridhar,
Thanks!
About the spelling, I thought so too. That's why I checked before writing it. Only got confused because many newspapers have spelled his name Menon, including Mid-Day. Besides, that is what I thought it sounded like in the movie, so I went with Menon.

Hi sheetal,

I think it would have been better at being non-judgmental if it had shown a little more about the motivations behind Babri Masjid, BJP formation, et al.

I, for one, did not have a problem with it being non-judgmental. Non-judgmental is good.

I am all with you about asking 'WHY'. Why did the terrorists do what they did? Why did Babri Masjid happen? Who is going to answer that one? I don't think this series of whys will go back to 1947. I am inclined to think that it will go as far as political motivations behind Babri Masjid.

Thanks for stopping by and putting your thoughts down.

Hi, I found your site recently and really liked your reviews. So was checking your comments on some of the old and not-so-old films. I am a little surprised at this review... Now, I'm not telling you have to like this film because everyone else has liked it (and nowadays it's kinda cool to like Kashyap's films, y'know like a cult or something)... But your comments about the WHY and arguments for more footage to Babri Masjid saga, sounded a little illogical to me. No offense, but i think that'll be taking the chain of reasoning a li'l too far (I know there's no line where it's adequate and when it's beyond that). I felt how much it was shown was enough for the viewers to extrapolate the cause-effect scenario further backwards and understand that it's really a never-ending process. This movie is not about "Why did Babri Masjid happen? Who is going to answer that one?" neither it seeks the "political motivations behind Babri Masjid." All in all, there can never be a sane reason which justifies an act of terror like that (from the average viewers' POV, not the terrorist's)... Well these are just my opinions.. To each his own as you say... :)

Welcome to wogma, Avik!

Yeah, I got clobbered big time on this one. But, what I not like, I not like. I admire Anurag's guts but this one lost me on its intent. Somehow, the story of a terrorist did not interest me or maybe was not told in a captivating manner.

About Babri Masjid, I just thought when the issue is so sensitive, a whole picture should be given. Anyways...

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