Black Friday (2007 film)

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Black Friday
Black friday banner.jpg
Black Friday banner
Directed by Anurag Kashyap
Produced by Arindam Mitra
Screenplay by Anurag Kashyap
Based on Black Friday
by Hussain Zaidi
Starring Kay Kay Menon
Pavan Malhotra
Aditya Shrivastava
Imtiaz Ali
Pratima Kazmi
Zakir Hussain
Music by Indian Ocean
Cinematography Natarajan Subramaniam
Edited by Aarti Bajaj
Mid Day Multimedia Limited
Big Bang Pictures
Jhamu Sughand
Mirror Films
Distributed by Jhamu Sughand
Adlabs films
Release date
  • 13 August 2004 (2004-08-13) (Locarno)
  • 9 February 2007 (2007-02-09) (India)
Running time
167 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 6.5 crore (US$910,000)[1]
Box office 8 crore (US$1.1 million)[1]

Black Friday is a 2004 Indian crime drama film written and directed by Anurag Kashyap based on Black Friday – The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts, a book by Hussain Zaidi about the 1993 Bombay bombings.[2][3] The film's creative consultant, Chandramohan Puppala, attempted to recreate those events and the intense feelings that followed them. It won the Grand Jury Prize at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and was a nominee for the Best Film (Golden Leopard) award at the Locarno International Film Festival. The film was so controversial that the Indian Censor Board did not allow it to be released in India for three years and was finally released on 9 February 2007 after Supreme Court of India allowed it following the verdict in the '93 Bombay blast case was delivered by TADA court.[4][5][6]


On 9 March 1993 a small-time thug, Gul Mohammed, is detained at the Nav Pada police station and confesses to a conspiracy underway to bomb major locations around the city. The police dismiss his confession and, three days later, Bombay is torn apart by a series of explosions leaving 257 dead and close to 1,400 injured. Investigators discover that the bombs were made of RDX, smuggled into the city with the aid of customs officials and the border police.

In turn, the film traces the motive for the blasts to the Bombay riots, the bloody warring between the Hindu and Muslim communities from December 1992 to January 1993, which left over 1500 people dead. The Bombay riots were an unprecedented outburst of violence and abuse, resulting in enormous emotional trauma and property loss. Tiger Memon (Pavan Malhotra) is an underworld don whose office is burnt to cinders during the riots. The suffering of the Muslim minorities in the riots incites a meeting of underworld leaders in Dubai, who then take it on themselves to seek retribution. Tiger Bhai (as Tiger Memon is called) one of the chief inflamed suggests an attack on Bombay as the strongest message of retaliation, thus leading to Black Friday 12 March 1993.

Asgar Muqadam, Tiger Memon's secretary is arrested on 14 March 1993. He is beaten till he provides whatever information he has about the bomb blasts and that initiates a full police inquiry. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Rakesh Maria (Kay Kay Menon) is put in charge of the case. The next piece in the puzzle is the arrest of Badshah Khan (Aditya Shrivastava), one of the henchmen who had left Bombay and gone into hiding, who was found by the police on 10 May 1993.

After the blast, the accomplices in the crime are forced to lead a life of anonymity and secrecy as it becomes evident that Mumbai police have started picking up the suspects one by one. To make matters worse, their passports seem to have been destroyed at the behest of Tiger Memon. In spite of assurances to the contrary, the high command blatantly refuses any help to them once the bombings have materialised. Tired of being let down by his own people and without a place to hide, Badshah Khan realises that there is no justification for his acts and decides to become a police witness. On 4 November 1993, the police file a charge sheet against 189 accused. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) takes over the case.

Then on 5 August 1994, Tiger's brother, Yaqub Memon, willingly turns himself in to the authorities. In a candid Newstrack interview on national television Yaqub states that it was Tiger and his underworld associates who orchestrated the conspiracy.


  • Kay Kay Menon as DCP Rakesh Maria
  • Aditya Srivastava as Badshah Khan
  • Pavan Malhotra as Tiger Memon
  • Kishor Kadam as Inspector Bhaskar Dangle
  • Zakir Hussain as Inspector Nandakumar Chaugule
  • Imtiaz Ali as Yakub Memon
  • Pankaj Jha as Anwar Theba
  • Pratima Kazmi as Mrs. Khan, Badshah's mother
  • Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Asgar Mukadam
  • Pranay Narayan as Imtiaz Gawate
  • Vijay Maurya as Dawood Ibrahim
  • Dibyendu Bhattacharya as Yeda Yakub
  • Gajraj Rao as Dawood Phanse
  • Prakash Jais as Farooq Pawle
  • Raj Arjun as Nasir Deklu
  • Ragesh Asthana as Mohammad Dossa
  • Sushovan Banerjee as Abhay Zarapkar
  • Asif Basra as Shanawaz Qureshi
  • Aditya Bhattacharya as Sheikh Aziz
  • Uday Chandra as Old Neighbour at Al Hussaini
  • Raj Singh Chaudhary as Mushtaq Tarani (as Raja Choudhary)
  • Aliya Curmally as Shabana Memon
  • Suresh Dubey as Sabir
  • Sanjay Gandhi as DCP K.L. Bishnoi
  • Bharat Ganeshpure as Bomb Squad member
  • Manoj Goyal as Qullu Mohammed Khan
  • Ashraful Haque as Bashir Khan
  • Milind Inamdar as Mohamed Iqbal
  • Ravi Kale as Sawant
  • Arbaaz Ali Khan as Javed Chikna
  • Sarfaraz Khan as Taxi Driver at Princess Street Flyover
  • Ashok Lokhande as Sub-Inspector at Nav Pada Police Station
  • Loveleen Mishra as Newstrack Interviewer
  • Arindam Mitra as M.V. Ramani
  • Bobby Parvez as Rakesh Khurana
  • Sharad Ponkshe as Anup Patnaik
  • Ajai Rohilla as R.K. Singh
  • Sujata Sehgal as Mafeesa Khan
  • Happy Sharma as Sardar Khan
  • Murli Sharma as Inspector Virendra Vani
  • Jeetendra Shastri as Salim Phansopkar
  • Goutam Maitra as Tainur
  • Raju Shrestha as Parvez Shaikh
  • Savi Sidhu as A.S. Samra
  • Suresh Singh as Majid Khan
  • Sachin Suvarna as Shoaib Ghansore
  • Irshaad as Piloo Khan
  • Shamim Chacha as Dada bhai Parker
  • Gani as Rahim Laundrywala
  • Parveen Sheikh as Rape victim
  • Anil Yadav as Dawood Jatt's gangster


Kashyap's directorial debut film Paanch ran into censor trouble and got shelved. Afterwards, Arindam Mitra from Mid Day approached him with the book Black Friday – The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts based on the 1993 Bombay bombings, written by Hussain Zaidi, who was their chief crime correspondent.[7] He wanted Kashyap to write a television series based on it for Aaj Tak, which was to be directed by Aditya Bhattacharya.[8] Kashyap read the unedited version of the book, which was not released at that point and was "fascinated" by it.[8] He wrote the script in episodes for the mini series but later felt that it would suit better as a feature film.[8] Later, Aaj Tak backed off from the project after their officials read the first episode of it, resulting in the project to be abandoned.[8] He told Bhattacharya to make it into a film, which he then offered to Kashyap to direct.[8] The book was written after three years of research on the subject by Zaidi. Kashyap researched for one year and went to the court as part of the process to see how criminals look and how the court procedure works.[7] He then found out that the criminals looked very normal. He made his casting for the film based on that. The characters in the film are all real people including KK playing investigating officer Rakesh Maria, Pawan Malhotra as Tiger Memon and Aditya Srivastava as Badshah Khan, the police approver who held them crack the case.[7] Kashyap also read a book titled Voices, recommended by Zaidi, which included several testimonies of the people who were arrested to get their perspective.[8] He told Devashish Makhija, who was his assistant director on the film to do the research. Makhija described him the research material and Kashyap continued to write them, which resulted in the script to be completed in 36 hours.[8]

To recreate several locations in the films Kashyap watched the locations where the incident happened, and the actual footages from the government's Film Division and read all the newspapers regarding the incident and looked at press photographs.[7] The most challenging thing for the crew was to recreate 1993 when there were no cell phone or satellite television in India, as it was being shot in 2003. The film was shot on the streets of Mumbai to avoid all the modern cars as it could not be shot from low angles because all the hoardings and neon signs were of the current time. The crew had to make sure that the mobile telephones are not visible in the film.[7] Kashyap said in an interview that he needed the city, and also had to "trim" it: "I somehow managed it. I shot mostly from the top angle and focused on my characters. There was a lot of guerrilla type shooting where nobody in the city came to know-we shot with hidden cameras. The police was supportive, Mid Day was at the job for permissions and all those things."[7] The famous chase sequence in the film was improvised.[9] Kashyap shot the film without permission on real locations.[8] Dawood's house in the film was shot on three different locations: Dubai, Lonavala and somewhere else.[8] Due to the low budget of the film, the crew slept inside buses at night, shot the film in day time and moved to the next location.[8] The blasts are believed were organised as retaliation for the Bombay riots which left over 300 people dead and more than 1500 people injured.


The film was not released in Indian theatres for two years as, on the eve of its release, a petition seeking a stay was filed by the people named in the film, the alleged perpetrators of the crime. Since the verdict was still pending for the 1993 case, they argued that the film would bias public opinion against them and affect the court's decision, an argument that was ultimately upheld by the court.[10][11]

The film was received rapturously at previews in India and abroad. It was released in the United Kingdom in 2006 and was finally given the go ahead by the Supreme Court for release in India on 9 February 2007, after the accused had been charged with Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, which carries a maximum sentence of death.

British director Danny Boyle has cited Black Friday as an inspiration for his 2008 award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. Boyle stated that a chase in one of the opening scenes of Slumdog Millionaire was based on a "12-minute police chase through the crowded Dharavi slum" in Black Friday.[12][13]


Black Friday's soundtrack and background score was composed by Indian Ocean and the lyrics were written by Piyush Mishra. This was Indian Ocean's first film soundtrack; it has nine tracks – three songs and six instrumentals. The song "Bandeh" became immensely popular and reached No. 2 on the film charts. The music was well received by critics and the album was declared a "must buy." The score and soundtrack has been described as "haunting" and "goose bump[s]" inducing.

UK release[edit]

The film was released in the United Kingdom with 17 seconds of the cockfighting scenes deleted. Laws in the UK do not allow any film footage of actual animal cruelty that has been deliberately orchestrated by film-makers.[14]

Critical reception[edit]

The film has been appreciated by critics all over the world. Black Friday has an 86% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[15]

Matt Zoller Seitz of The New York Times described it as "epic and raw, and cut out from the same bloody cloth as Salvador and Munich.[16] Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter compares the film's "journalistic inquiry into cataclysmic social and political events" to that of Gillo Pontecorvo's classic The Battle of Algiers. He remarks that the film is without any lurid sensationalism and is objective.[17]

David Chute of LA Weekly described it as "a rigorously naturalistic docudrama about a complex police investigation." Ethan Alter of Film Journal International describes it as a "potent reminder that Indian filmmaking isn't limited to Bollywood super-productions." According to Maitland McDonagh of TV Guide's Movie Guide, "its assertion that religious terrorism is about more than simply faith is food for thought." According to Ted Murphy of Murphy's Movie Reviews, "Kashyap keeps the action moving and the overall movie turns out to be engrossing."[15]

Black Friday received overwhelmingly positive reviews from Indian critics. The film is widely considered to be director Anurag Kashyap's masterpiece.

Rajeev Masand gave it 4/5 stars and said "The actual blast scenes are shot in such a languid style, exactly the way a bystander would have experienced it. Believe me, no film yet has brought me so close to giving it a five out of five rating, but because it's just a little short of true greatness, I'm going to go with four of five for Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday. This is the kind of film to send to the Oscars."

Taran Adarsh gave it 4/5 stars and said "Some films leave you stunned and speechless with sheer power. BLACK FRIDAY, directed by Anurag Kashyap, is one such film. On the whole, BLACK FRIDAY is an outstanding piece of work. One of the finest products to come out of Mumbai, this one is a hard-hitting film that has the courage to say what it says. Do yourself a favor: Watch BLACK FRIDAY. Hindi cinema at its best."[18]

Nihil Kumar from Apun Ka Choice said, "Taking least possible cinematic liberty and retaining objectivity throughout the film, Anurag Kashyap tells a compelling and disturbing story in ‘Black Friday’. Strongly Recommended." Sanjay Ram from Business Of Cinema said, "It simply states the point and that too in a very objective fashion." Khalid Mohamed from Hindustan Times said "The docu-drama structure is so skillfully employed that you’re gripped."

Nikhat Kazmi from The Times of India gave it 5/5 stars and said "It's powerful, pointed and hard-hitting cinema that needs to be seen. Not for entertainment, but for soch-vichar. And no, let's have no state, city, town, village, panchayat, self-appointed moral-political custodian acting as a super censor, this time please." Rediff said "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."


Black Friday grossed 70.1 million (US$980,000) in India.[19] The film grossed $35,000 in USA.[20]


The film was screened at the 57th Locarno International Film Festival on 13 August 2004 and was received with widespread praises. It was a nominee for the coveted Golden Leopard (Best Film), but the award went to the Italian Private.[21] Black Friday won the Grand Jury Prize at the 3rd Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles in April 2004.[22]

Black Friday was nominated for three Star Screen Awards in 2008 but did not win any of them.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Are small budget films, the next big thing in Bollywood?". The Economic Times. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2018. 
  2. ^ Black Friday is based on facts!'
  3. ^ Black Friday (2007) Bollywood Hungama
  4. ^ "Bollywood films that were banned due to political reasons". 
  5. ^ "SC to consider lifting ban on 'Black Friday'". 
  6. ^ "Film releases stayed by courts at the 11th hour". 
  7. ^ a b c d e f N, Patcy (7 February 2007). "We shot Black Friday with hidden cameras". Retrieved 1 January 2018. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j FC Director's Choice: Black Friday: Anurag Kashyap In Conversation With Vikramaditya Motwane. YouTube (Motion picture). India: Film Companion. 8 December 2014. 
  9. ^ N, Patcy (24 October 2007). "Our cinema is immature". Retrieved 1 January 2018. 
  10. ^ "Media and the accused". 
  11. ^ "No Black Friday till blasts case verdict - movies". Retrieved 2018-05-29. 
  12. ^ Amitava Kumar (23 December 2008). "Slumdog Millionaire's Bollywood Ancestors". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  13. ^ "All you need to know about Slumdog Millionaire". The Independent. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  14. ^ Alternate versions for Black Friday from IMDb
  15. ^ a b Black Friday at Rotten Tomatoes
  16. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller (8 February 2007). "Madness in Mumbai". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  17. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (5 May 2005). "Black Friday". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2009-01-31. [dead link]
  18. ^ Adarsh, Taran (9 February 2007). "Taran Adarsh Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 4/5 stars
  19. ^ "Black Friday - Starring Kay Kay Menon, Pawan Malhotra, Aditya Srivast…". 2013-01-26. Retrieved 2018-05-29. 
  20. ^ Black Friday Box Office Mojo
  21. ^ Golden Leopard winners and nominees for 2004
  22. ^ Grand Jury Award for Black Friday Archived 12 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ "Nominations for the 14th Star Screen Awards". Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 

External links[edit]