Three weeks in a row, we have been treated with three fantastic films, which have raised the benchmark for Indian cinema in terms of script, casting and execution. Life could not have been rosier for a film critic. First, we had MUMBAI MERI JAAN, ROCK ON followed last week, and this week we have an absolute stunner, which is even more gripping and equally entertaining and thought provoking like the above-mentioned films.
A WEDNESDAY is a thriller, it's an educational film and it's also an eye-opener. Director Neeraj Pandey has taken terrorism as the theme and has given it a whole new twist that is mind-boggling to say the least. The film begins with 'terrorist' Naseeruddin Shah planting bombs in the city and also a police station right opposite the Police Head Quarters. The background score sets your pulse racing and you don't know what to expect at the next moment. You are waiting for that moment when the bombs will explode and wreak havoc in the city as Pandey goes about briskly introducing his characters, Anupam Kher, who is the Police Commissioner, Aamir Bashir (a police officer), Jimmy Sheirgill (ATS Officer) and Deepal Shaw (television journalist).
You wonder what Naseer is upto, when in comes the call to the Commissioner informing him about the bombs and sending him on a wild goose chase. Within four hours, the terrorist tells the commissioner, that his demands have to be met. He is seeking the release of four dreaded terrorists in exchange for letting out the information on where the bombs are planted. His calls cannot be traced because Naseer the terrorist is one up on the cops. His 'work place' is the terrace of an under construction building. Cinematographer Fuwad Khan, putting in full view of the viewer the terror that is to be unleashed, brilliantly captures the city skyline.
The demands are met. The Commissioner, who has been given sweeping powers by the Chief Minister to negotiate with the terrorist, realizes that he cannot play with the lives of millions of people of Mumbai. He shortlists his two trusted soldiers, Aamir Bashir and Jimmy Sheirgill, to take the four dreaded terrorist to the release spot. And here comes the twist in the tale that will shock you out of your wits. Brilliant execution in the script, which turns the negotiations on its heads. After all, you cannot trust a terrorist!
Anupam Kher as the Top Cop is marvelous. His eagerly sinks his teeth into this meaty role with glee. Considering what he has had to do in recent movies, this is a welcome change. To see an actor given his due with the right script is always a delight and he does full justice to his role. Naseeruddin Shah as the timid terrorist is a revelation. Actually, nothing about Naseer really surprises, because this here is an actor who takes pride in his craft. Watch out for his cold-blooded negotiations and how he goes in for the kill.
Aamir Bashir stands out with his earnest performance as the cop for whom duty comes before family. A studied performance. Jimmy Sheirgill as the 'sar phira' ATS officer makes a deadly impact. Cool, calculated and cunning, he lends that air of credibility to his performance. His fearless body language, knowing fully well a bullet any time can alter his life, is a revelation. This man here is steadily climbing the charts of stardom, one step at a time, one role at a time. Deepal Shaw does not have much of a role but manages to make an impact as a television journalist hungry for scoops. The only sore point here is her make-up, which is pathetic. However, this can be easily overlooked.
A film like A WEDNESDAY is not released every other Friday. This is a film for the common man. My sincere wishes are that this film runs to packed houses. You just cannot miss this cracker of a thriller.