Decade & half to this Black Beauty

Decade & half to this Black Beauty

Who is playing the role of Yakub Memon, brother of Tiger (Pawan Malhotra), the mastermind of the 1993 Bombay blasts, in Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday on the same subject? Director Imtiaz Ali.

Kashyap never acted in Ali’s films. Which is ironic, once you consider, as Ali once told me, the first time he ever saw an actor’s portfolio – basically a bunch of pictures of an actor in multiple poses/dresses – it was Kashyap. Why was it?

Back in Delhi, in the early 90s, when Ali was looking for talents for a TV show around Delhi University, Kashyap was an aspiring actor. Kashyap himself makes a split-second cameo in Black Friday, you will see, as a Pak agent passing through a terrorist consignment in the middle of the ocean.

After being picked up by the CBI from Kathmandu, Yakub was freed, and then arrested again from the New Delhi railway station. Subsequently, he claimed on the video-magazine Newstrack, that no one from his family had a role to play other than Tiger, which was apparently the world’s first terrorist attack of this scale (7/7, 9/11, 26/7). 11, etc.) had any role. years later).

Black Friday was based on the non-fiction book of the same name by S. Hussain Zaidi. Apart from personal interviews and case papers recorded at a minister’s bungalow at Nariman Point, which, in turn, were omitted from the 10,000-page Bombay Police chargesheet, which the CBI had given them access.

While writing the book, around 200 blasts accused were being tried in a special court inside Arthur Road Jail, between 10.30 am and 5 pm. (These prime suspects later withheld the release of Black Friday in 2004 until they were convicted anyway).

It was here, in the prison canteen, that Hussain met several of the accused, including Yakub and Asghar Muqad, whose roles were played on Black Friday by Who?

At that time an unknown actor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui. In fact, Nawaz’s lone, stellar interrogation scene with DCP Rakesh Maria (KK Menon) and his police team- has since developed a life of its own on YouTube.

The inquiry room is lit up red. Like all such scenes on Black Friday. There is a distinctive blue hue throughout most of the scenes involving the plot of the explosions. This is normal white light, otherwise. Kashyap if it was some kind of movie-buff homage to Kislowski’s Colors (Red, Blue, White) trilogy!

The second sequence on repeat, online, is a six-minute chase between the police and a character named Imtiaz Ghawte – who is definitely wearing a red (shirt) here, so that the audience can see him easily, as the camera can be viewed from multiple angles/shots. Captures prey through the medium. , on the street, gutter and general gun in North Bombay.

This is the first time we see the characters taking a heavy breath while running. Which should be, unless it’s Bachchan in a ’70s potboiler. Amar Akbar Anthony is referenced in this scene.

In Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya (1998) the railway overbridge chases, Satya-Bhiku-Guru Narayan on the banks, as they unsuspecting crowds fill the frame.

The introduction sequence in Danny Boyle’s solid entertainment Slumdog Millionaire (2008) likewise captures the lower decks of Mumbai through dynamic chases. Here, you can draw a straight line between Satya, Black Friday, and Slumdog.

Divided into chapters – what we now associate with OTT shows – Black Friday, which was produced from Mid-Day (newspaper) by Arindam Mitra, was written by Kashyap, directed by Aditya Bhattacharya, a one-off for Aaj Tak news channel. Was commissioned as a mini-series.

The guys of Tak stunned after reading the first episode, I’m told—too brave/edgy for them, I guess; Naming names, rarely shy away from politics.

Kashyap saw a heavily factual, documentary-like feature film in his in-depth researched case files. Far from the usual three-act screenplay structure. An inherently lazy, large-scale/theatrical audience probably finds it difficult to get immersed in docu-drama right away. As appears more recently, Kabir Khan’s 83 (2021).

Ram Gopal Varma told me he was approached to direct Black Friday. He also saw a scintillating opening scene in the film of mafia-don, Dubai main conspirator Dawood Ibrahim receiving broken bangles from women in his Bombay neighbourhood, Dongri – for failing to protect himself during the 1992 riots. . The introduction sets the tone. Verma was out.

Dawood’s scene in Black Friday. But Kashyap opens with a man named Gullu (Gul Noor Sheikh), a riot accused, who actually reported the blasts to the Bombay Police a few days back. As a starting point the scene is similar to that of the Snitch, which sets the ball rolling in Gilo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers (1966), the original, initiation-like civil-war drama, which replaces the lens of Algiers. does, but before a decade.

Like Black Friday, in the early 2000s, Bombay’s streets were shot guerrilla-style with top angle shots and tele lenses – cell phones, satellite TV billboards and snazzier vehicles, were not in 1993.

This was Kashyap’s first theatrical release (after a few aborted attempts). I remember watching him, listening to him from the row behind me at the premiere, joke with his friends, “Now everyone will know I’m a cheater!”

It’s been exactly 15 years. Oddly enough fans on social media, during the films’ historic anniversaries, want the picture to celebrate 50/100 years! of course it will. This is not a person. And a surprisingly faithful document like Black Friday, I doubt, will live on forever.

Mayank Shekhar has tried to make sense of the people’s culture. He tweeted @mayankw14
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The views expressed in this column are those of the individual and do not represent the views of the paper.

Kaomoji

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