Cast: Anupam Kher, Aamir Bashir, Deepal Shaw, Gaurav Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah,
Rajpal Yadav, Jimmy Shergill
Cinematographer: Fuwad KhanSound
Designer: Rakesh Ranjan
Producer: Anjum Rizvi, Shital Bhatia
Banner: Anjum Rizvi Film Company
Director: Neeraj Pandey
An angry common man wages his war against the system in ‘A Wednesday’.
Now, here’s a flick that could make your day. It doesn’t send you home romping with joy and crooning sweet songs shot at scenic locales in some distant continent. A Wednesday has none of that Bollywood guck and gimmickry. What it does have is a riveting plot, directed skillfully and imaginatively by writer-director Neeraj Pandey. And it has wonderful performances by its two unglamorous but charismatic leading men – Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher .
‘A Wednesday’ is a film set right in our backyard, in Mumbai. And it talks about terrorism from a new angle. The antagonist in it doesn’t come with a stereotyped religious label. In fact, he has no label at all. He is a ‘common man’ who vents out his angst by taking on the system and trying to bring it down to its knees. Only an obdurate Police Commissioner can foil his mission.
Anupam Kher plays that top cop. On a fateful Wednesday he receives a call from a man who claims to have planted bombs in different parts of the city, set to go off at half-past six in the evening. The caller (Naseeruddin Shah, the great) describes self as a ‘common man’ and demands the release of four terrorists if the impending calamity has to be averted.
The threat sends the cops into overdrive as the Commissioner, with the help of an ATS commando ( Jimmy Shergill ) and a tough cop (Aamir Bashir) and a journalist ( Deepal Shaw ), tries to foil the common man’s uncommonly dangerous plan. What’s most remarkable about the movie is that it keeps you gripped despite opening its cards at the very outset. Yes, you are told at the start what the end is going to be. What keeps you hooked is how the plot meanders through many unexpected twists and turns before reaching its predictable denouement.
Kudos to Neeraj Pandey and his technical team for putting together a neat, cohesive and engrossing film about a subject that’s beginning to feature more than often in Bollywood movies. But hats off to Naseer bhai for yet another memorable performance. To the every inch of his skin does Naseer bhai look the angst-ridden antagonist who takes up cudgels against the system in an extreme way. Anupam Kher manages to bring about a calculated balance of calm, control and panic in his performance.
Jimmy Shergill is much better than what we saw last of him. Aamir Bashir shows only flashes of good acting. Deepal Shaw is okay.
What’s not okay is the slightly preachy mode the movie slips into at the end. After all, the last thing we need at the end of the day is a lecture. This, and a few foibles apart, ‘A Wednesday’ makes for a paisa vasool watch.