The first time I went to watch the movie A Wednesday, I was late by fifteen minutes. I liked the remaining 100 minutes so much that I watched it another time; this time the whole of it, that too on a Wednesday!
The second time I watched the film, I wasn’t too impressed by the first fifteen minutes. Especially the part where the-remnant-of-an-Channel V-VJ was made to appear as the biggest star of Bollywood only next to the Khans was ridiculous. May be the jocular effect is what the director intended; but it did not suit the film’s overall mood. Five minutes later though, I was in a strong grip of concentration and curiosity. Each shot was so exciting that I kept asking myself “What Next?” The director Neeraj Pandey put together the shots so excitingly that you cannot help being thrilled.
The film is spectacularly well-scripted by Neeraj. The fact that he tells the story through a protagonist without a name shows its uniqueness. The scenes are tightly packed into each other that you don’t have a moment to flutter your eyelashes. They flow effortlessly from one to another with an amazing amount of unpredictability that chills you. The dialogues are so to-the-point that you end up sharpening your auditory sense by listening carefully to not miss a word. When Anupam Kher confidently invited his officers to his place for a drink in the evening just before sending them to a dangerous operation, the whole theatre just gasped.
The performances! Riveting is the best word I can find to describe the performances by two stalwarts of Indian cinema. I can bet - a film that is essentially a telephone conversation between two people would fail miserably had it featured anyone short of Kher and Shah. The dialogue battle in the climax between the two is mesmerising. Goosebumps are all what you feel. The intimacy with which Shah delivers the deepest of insecurities and concerns of the ‘stupid common man,’ is just beyond words. That scene is a perfect balance of emoting and subtlety. Shah’s versatility comes out in the fact that he performs his conversation with the terrorists also with the same amount of believability. I can see the Bharat Award trophy taking a peek-a-boo into Shah’s cupboard, already. Anupam Kher has put up an act that is very subdued, yet powerful, as the Commissioner of Police, Prakash Rathore.
Jimmy Shergill, Aamir Basheer, Deepal Shaw - each and every person in the cast is so appropriate that you see real people in front of you rather than characters. Aamir‘s Sub Inspector, I would say, was a role where the casting was particularly well done.
The movie has been technically quite well made too. The cuts are crisp and the camera work adds a lot to the script in building up the mood of the film. There are no songs stereotypical of a Hindi movie; only fine background music that keeps up the movie’s tempo.
I can go on and on about how much I loved the movie. The point is that millions of other Indians loved it as well. Any Indian with genuine feelings for his/her country couldn’t have helped empathising with Shah’s character. They, like me, are sure to have found their unheard voices reverberating through his.
A success of this dimension was probably unexpected for a small movie with hardly any *starry* actors. That is exactly the reason why that accomplishment becomes all the more spectacular. It is the success story of a movie that relied solely on its script and the talent of its human resources – no marketing gimmicks, no formulas, no star acts, nothing. This gives much hope in all the right directions for the Indian film industry that provides bread and butter to many. More importantly, it stands as a testament to the much elevated sensibility of the Indian audience.
Neeraj and all my fellow Indians, it is a perfect ten for you – for making the movie and for making it a success.