Black Friday (2007 film)
Black Friday banner
|Directed by||Anurag Kashyap|
|Produced by||Arindam Mitra|
|Screenplay by||Anurag Kashyap|
by Hussain Zaidi
Kay Kay Menon|
|Music by||Indian Ocean|
|Edited by||Aarti Bajaj|
Mid Day Multimedia Limited
Big Bang Pictures
|Budget||₹6.5 crore (US$910,000)|
|Box office||₹8 crore (US$1.1 million)|
Black Friday is a 2007 Indian docudrama 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. Produced by Arindam Mitra of Mid Day, the film stars Kay Kay Menon, Aditya Srivastava, Pavan Malhotra, Kishor Kadam and Zakir Hussain. It chronicles the events that led to the blasts and the investigation by the police afterwards.
Arindam Mitra, the director operations from Mid Day approached Kashyap with the book and wanted him to write a television series based on it for Aaj Tak. Kashyap wrote the script in episodes for the mini series but later felt that it would suit better as a feature film. Later, Aaj Tak backed off from the project and the project was shelved. Kashyap then suggested its director Aditya Bhattacharya to make it into a film, which he then offered to Kashyap to direct. The film's soundtrack album and the background score was composed by the band Indian Ocean, while the lyrics were written by Piyush Mishra. Natarajan Subramaniam served as the director of photography, while Aarti Bajaj was its editor.
Black Friday was premiered at the 2004 Locarno International Film Festival and was supposed to release the same year in India. However, the Bombay High Court put a stay on the release of the film, until the judgement in the bomb blasts case was delivered. It was decided after a petition filed by a group of 1993 bomb blasts accused, challenging the release of the film. It was finally released on 9 February 2007 after Supreme Court of India allowed it after the verdict was delivered. The film received critical acclaim upon release. It won the Grand Jury Prize at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and was a nominee for the Golden Leopard award at the Locarno International Film Festival. It was made on a production budget of ₹6.5 crore (US$910,000) and grossed a total of ₹8 crore (US$1.1 million) at the box office.
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, a series of explosions take place in Bombay 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.Tiger Memon is an underworld don whose office is burnt during the Bombay riots. The Muslim minorities in the riots incites a meeting of underworld leaders in Dubai, who then take it on themselves to seek retribution.
Memon suggests an attack on Bombay as the strongest message of retaliation. Asgar Muqadam, 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 is put in charge of the case. Badshah Khan, one of the henchmen who had left Bombay and gone into hiding, is arrested 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 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, 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 takes over the case. 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
- Raj Singh Chaudhary as Mushtaq Tarani
- Aliya Curmally as Shabana Memon
- Sanjay Gandhi as DCP K.L. Bishnoi
- Ashraful Haque as Bashir Khan
On 12 March 1993, a series of 12 bomb blasts took place in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The attacks were carried out in retaliation for the Bombay riots that ocurred the same year. The blasts resulted in 257 deaths and 713 injuries. Anurag Kashyap's feature film directorial debut Paanch ran into censor trouble and got shelved. Afterwards, Arindam Mitra, the director operations from Mid Day approached him with the book Black Friday – The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts based on the bombings, written by Hussain Zaidi, who was their chief crime correspondent. He wanted Kashyap to write a television series based on it for Aaj Tak, which was to be directed by Aditya Bhattacharya. Kashyap read the unedited version of the book, which was not released at that point and was "fascinated" by it. He wrote the script in episodes for the mini series but later felt that it would suit better as a feature film.
Later, Aaj Tak backed off from the project after their officials read the first episode of it, resulting in the project to be abandoned. He told Bhattacharya to make it into a film, which he then offered to Kashyap to direct. 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. 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 Kay Kay Menon 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. Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali portrayed the role of Yakub Memon. Kashyap also read a book titled Voices, recommended by Zaidi, which included several testimonies of the people who were arrested to get their perspective. 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.
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. 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. 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." Kashyap retained the real names of people in the film who were involved in the blast.
Kashyap shot the film without permission on real locations. Dawood's house in the film was shot on three different locations: Dubai, Lonavala and somewhere else. 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. Kashyap shot on Behrampura, the site where the bomb was planted, using two hidden cameras, while the crew used walkie-talkie to communicate as they did not want to attract crowd. The principal photography of Black Friday began in October, 2003 and was completed in 70 days. A 12 minute police chase sequence in the film was improvised and was shot in the slums, it was neither in the script nor in the book as Kashyap felt it was boring to show regular arrests. He also wanted to show the background of the criminals and the exhaustion of the police through the chase. Natarajan Subramaniam served as the director of photography, while Aarti Bajaj was the editor.
|Soundtrack album by Indian Ocean|
|Released||3 May 2005|
|Genre||Fusion, Rock, Jazz|
|Producer||K. J. Singh|
|Indian Ocean chronology|
The soundtrack album and the background score of Black Friday was composed by the band Indian Ocean, while the lyrics were written by Piyush Mishra. It was Indian Ocean's first film soundtrack and it consisted of nine tracks – three songs and six instrumentals. The album was released on 3 May 2005 under the label of Times Music. The album was released in DVD format on 15 February, 2013. Kashyap said he opted for the band because he "wanted to use someone away from the pollution of Mumbai kind of music, sounds that are virgin, which have an eccentricity too." K. J. Singh served as the sound producer.
The album generally received a positive response. Devdulal Das of The Times of India wrote that songs like "Bandey" in the film "just re-established this quartet from Delhi as having a distinct sound of their own - something that most bands from India can't boast of." Bhasker Gupta of AllMusic called it a "full-blown and outright stylish contemporary and musically rich album" and wrote: "It's rare that one hears Indian classical music amalgamated with Western electric jazz and Sufi music, and this is where the beauty of this album lies."
|2.||"Badshah in Jail"||Indian Ocean||07:26|
|3.||"Bharam Paap Ke"||Indian Ocean||08:36|
|5.||"Bomb Planting"||Indian Ocean||03:55|
|6.||"Memon House"||Indian Ocean||06:17|
Black Friday was premiered at the 2004 Locarno International Film Festival and was screened at festivals in Germany, Estonia, South Korea and United States. It was ready for release on 29 December, 2005 when the Bombay High Court ordered a stay on its release after a petition was filed by Mustaq Moosa Tarani, one of the accused, who stated that the film could prejudice the case. His petition said that the final verdict in the trial was not out yet, and demanded a ban on the film film until the final verdict. Mid Day appealed to the Supreme Court, challenging the judgment of the High Court. However, court lifted the ban only after the verdicts were delivered in 2006. Kashyap did not felt that the long delay on the release will "impair the impact of the film." He said: "It's a timeless film with a universal theme of religious intolerance leading to terrorism." Kashyap stated that he was getting ready for the film's premiere in his suit on the release day and heard about the ban. He stayed in that same cloth for a month and went into depression. The film was released after a 20 month ban on 9 February, 2007 on 100 screens in India, 10 in the United States and 3 in South Africa. The worldwide distribution rights were acquired by Adlabs Films. The film was released in DVD format on 5 April, 2007.
Upon release, Black Friday received critical acclaim. Rajeev Masand gave a positive review and said that it is "one of the best films I’ve watched in recent years." He also wrote: "Please don’t dismiss it as a boring art film, don’t confuse it for a documentary, it’s a dramatic feature that will rock your boat." Prithiviraj Hegde of Rediff.com wrote: "While the film stays true as a dark, brooding, evil tale, it is told with a droll, dry humour that brings a smile even as the protagonists head toward their final unforgiving denouement." Anupama Chopra said that the film had "several memorable sequences" but felt it was "static" as the screenplay doesnot allow the "characters to evolve or engage." Taran Adarsh praised the performances of the actors and called the film a "hard-hitting film that has the courage to say what it says." Nikhat Kazmi called it a "powerful, pointed and hard-hitting cinema that needs to be seen."
Deepa Gahlot of Sify called it a "fabulously crafted and superbly enacted film, but not stark enough to be documentary and not fictional enough to be a feature." She felt that Kashyap tried to justify Memon's actions in the film. Rahul Desai of Film Companion wrote that the film is "more of a feeling – singularly shocking, stirring, cataclysmic, yet journalistic and depressingly objective, and one of the great achievements in Indian cinema." Baradwaj Rangan mentioned in his review that the film is a series of "superbly-orchestrated sequences" but said that the "only thing you could fault it for is that it doesn't know when to stop." Namrata Joshi of Outlook called it an "audacious, daring and explosive piece of cinema." In 2014, Raja Sen called it Kashyap's "possibly best" and a "gripping, gloriously gritty film." Khalid Mohamed called the film "defiantly uncompromising" and Kashyap’s direction as "unbelievably mature and searching." A review carried by The Hindu cited it as "one of the finest Indian films of recent years."
Among the overseas critics, Matt Zoller Seitz of The New York Times described the film as "epic and raw, and cut out from the same bloody cloth as Salvador and Munich." Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter compared the film's "journalistic inquiry into cataclysmic social and political events" to that of Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers. He noted that the film is objective without any "lurid sensationalism". Maitland McDonagh felt that the film "humanizes the bombers without excusing their actions". She also said that it "owes more to films like Munich than mainstream commercial spectacle".
David Chute of LA Weekly described it as "a rigorously naturalistic docudrama about a complex police investigation." Ethan Alter of Film Journal International called it " a potent reminder that Indian filmmaking isn't limited to Bollywood super-productions." Derek Elley of Variety called it a "fact-based procedural whose drama gets lost amid its analytical detail." A review carried by Time Out Group called the film a "post-9/11 food for thought and a vivid reminder not to get arrested in India, where the prisoners’ bill of rights is very short."
Black Friday was made on a production budget of ₹6.5 crore (US$910,000) and grossed a total of ₹8 crore (US$1.1 million) at the box office.
Black Friday often cited by several critics and film scholars as Kashyap's best work. The film was included in CNN-IBN's 2013 list of the "100 greatest Indian films of all time" and Mint's list of "70 iconic films of Indian cinema". In 2010, Raja Sen mentioned it in "The Top 75 Hindi Films of the Decade" list. It was mentioned in critic and author Shubhra Gupta's book, 50 Films That Changed Bollywood, 1995-2015. Danny Boyle cited Black Friday as an inspiration for his 2008 Academy award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. He stated that a chase in one of the opening scenes was based on a "12-minute police chase through the crowded Dharavi slum" in Black Friday. Filmmaker Vikramaditya Motwane said in 2014 that when asked about the most important films in last decade, he mentions Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006) and Black Friday.
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