Rating : Above average (3.85/5)
Genre : Drama
Year : 2008
Running time : 2 hours 15 minutes
Director : Neeraj Pandey
Cast : Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Jimmy Shergill, Aamir Baashir, Deepal Shaw
Kid rating : PG13
A WEDNESDAY : SMART, SUSPENSE-FILLED DRAMA
“A Wednesday” is a small budget movie. Yes, it does star Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah, but is a plain, rather stark drama, without the usual song-dance-melodrama routines. So it didn’t get released in the theater here in my city; it probably didn’t make commercial sense, and I, for lack of a better alternative, saw it on DVD.
This film hinges on 4 main characters, 3 of them policemen. Anupam Kher plays Police Superintendent Prakash Rathod, while Aamir Bashir plays Inspector Jai Singh, and Jimmy shergill Inspector Arif Khan. The three are honest, able police officers, doing their duty diligently. One fine day, they receive a call from an unknown person who threatens to place bombs around the city and kill innocents if certain terrorists, currently in police custody, are not handed over to him. The cops are in a fix, because letting the terrorists go back to their compatriots is an untenable option, but so is allowing the bombing of citizenry. Their only hope of preventing disaster is finding this mystery man before he can do damage . . .
This is an unusual drama for a Bollywood film, because it totally lacks masala – no romantic angle, no dances/item numbers, or the sheen of expensive cinematography. It is a straight-up drama focusing on the characters and the story. While the story is an attention-grabber, and the pace of the film brisk, the direction is just about adequate, and the editing, at times, a bit abrupt. There are also moments in the film, where the director/script-writer went over-board trying to be edgy, and then the dialogues seemed a little unreal/clichéd.
However the film cannot be faulted on its cast. Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah need no introductions. They carry the weight of the film, and quite rightly so – their performances are flawless. Shergill suits his character – that of a young, angry, violence-prone officer, while Bashir brings credibility to his calm, composed character. Deepal Shaw (remember her from the music videos ?) has too small a role, as a journalist, to be of any consequence.
On the whole, an interesting, smart, suspense-filled drama which keeps one guessing, this one is very much worth your time. If I could fault it, I’d fault it on the technical aspects (like editing, and a screenplay which seemed amateurish at times), and on trying too hard to “get with it”. However, considering the fact that we have not very many movies of this genre, and these are generally not commercial successes, the director and producer must be lauded on bringing such a worthy product to screen.
Kidwise : This one is relatively clean film, but gets a PG13 rating for it’s adult theme, and violence.
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