Long due. Huge context since the film released and I saw it. Familiar echoes of terror, systems, and resilience. One problem of watching a rather popular film late in the day (or year, for that matter) is that people around you build up your expectations.
That Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah were in A Wednesday, was enough motivation to watch the film, in any case. With these two guys, chances are, that even a very bad film turns out to be tolerable.
The film has shades of a Doordarshan film made sometime in the Eighties — Sirf Char Din — by B. P. Singh of Fireworks Productions’ (of C. I. D. fame). Once again, the production value is worth the money that you may have spent for the ticket (or the DVD). Anupam Kher is his usual self, nothing to write home about. He is convincing in the role he plays. Naseer exhibits a particular shade of his characterisation-process that is rare. One of his mannerisms, which is a gesture he makes with a slight tilt of his head and opening up his eyes wide (to show questioning surprise during a longish dialogue delivery and then quick nods or denials to answer his own argument in his monologue) is thankfully rare in this film. (Think Khuda Kay Liye)
After all the rave reviews, however, I was a bit disappointed, though, I will admit I enjoyed the film while I was watching it. The disappointment is retrospective. The story was neglected in presentation. Given that a larger audience for the movie would be from Mumbai, the director did not pay attention to the details of the city. A bus going towards Juhu from Colaba is seen driving south. The suspense created with Jimmy Shergill’s character was unnecessary. The suspense didn’t do justice to what little time was given to describe his character. A friend recently introduced me to this device — it’s called a gimmick — when Jimmy’s character gets shot in the arm.
What has put me off the most was the multiple messaging. Dated equipment at the police stations, politician’s dilemma, the so stereotypical hacker, police sarcasm, media stupidity and the list goes on.
The film obviously has done well because of the plot and the resonance it has had (and will have) with the people of Mumbai in particular and the people of India in general. I think it was a powerful plot. Where Neeraj Pandey lost it, for me, was that he took (a section of) the audience for granted and chose to say too many things in a single movie.