The film, A Wednesday, tackles terrorism with a twist. The story unfolds between 2-6:30 pm on a Wednesday, when a cold, mechanical voice (Nasseruddin Shah) threatens the Commissioner of the Mumbai Police, Prakash Rathod (Anupam Kher) about prospective bomb blasts waiting to rattle the city. He claims to have planted five bombs in the city which would set off, if his demands for the release of four acclaimed terrorists are not met with.
Prakash Rathod is in a dilemma, with a number of questions plaguing his mind about the authenticity of the call, claims of the caller, the serious ramifications of letting the terrorists scott free as well as safeguarding the lives of the citizens. However, the veracity of the claims of the caller is validated after detection of a live bomb from a police station situated just opposite the police headquarters. As a result of which, the Commissioner agrees to succumb to the demands of the faceless caller. Anupam Kher then assigns the best men (Jimmy Shergill and Amir Bashir) of the Mumbai police force to trace the anonymous caller. A hacker is also appointed to keep a track of all the calls made by the caller. Just as you think that the movie is on the lines of any other hackneyed terrorism flick, it takes one by surprise. The climax is startling and changes the entire course of the movie. The plot meanders through many ups and downs and keeps viewers at the edge of their seats till the end.
Stellar performances by Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher are the most powerful aspects of the film. Naseeruddin Shah portrays the role of the anonymous caller effortlessly and with élan. Anupam Kher embodies the character of a calm, composed police officer under pressure with panache. It is the play of words between them that steals the show. Jimmy Shergill as the aggressive cop & Aamir Bashir as the loyal cop are commendable & support the main characters credibly.
Dialogues are bold, confident and crisp and have been delivered convincingly by the actors. The cinematography of the movie as well as the sequence selected is very action oriented. Handheld shots and frantic pans have been used to capture the anxiety and tension of the events. The cinematographer has made use of many slow motion shots and sudden cutting from close-ups to long shots to suffuse the climax with a sense of horror, shock & revelation.Incase of the conversations between Shah and Kher, the camera is generally placed at eye-level with the characters and faces them directly with none of them looking directly into the camera. It acts as a passive invisible observer. As the film is set between 2 and 6:30 pm (on a Wednesday), use of natural sunlight with sun at different angles lends credibility to the shots.
Classical cutting is employed mostly in the film thus connecting the shots on a psychological level. Shots have been so sequenced to create a staccato effect and establish cause-effect relationship between the different characters. Cutaway shots are used to add different perspectives & parallel editing & split screens to give a sense of simultaneous action at different locations and multiple character involvement. Freeze frames and slow motions are constantly employed to convey the halting of motion, create impact & stretch the nervous conditions.
As a debutante director, Neeraj Pandey’s narrative flow, technical expertise, and hold on the tonality of each and every scene, is exemplary. His well-etched screenplay adopts concise character introductions (without pointlessly probing much into their past), convincing build-up, an amazing pre-climax (where the suspense unfolds), a compelling climax (aftermath) and a satisfying conclusion. The narrative has a linear structure and follows the Classical Paradigm having an Exposition, Rising Action, and Climax and& Resolution. Linear narrative complements the plot as the film is a thriller and takes the form of a chase.
While shooting for A Wednesday, debutante director, Neeraj Pandey was looking for a under construction building from where the terrorist in the film played by Naseeruddin Shah, operates. Since the film is based in Mumbai, such an under-construction building was found from where the sky-line of Mumbai was visible and clearly identifiable. This setting not only establishes the anonymity & inapproachability of the threat, it also makes him seem larger than life. The film, on a whole, makes use of a pulsating background score on a frequent basis to amplify the suspense and thrill of the plot. In the climax, mobile ring has been effectively used to mount the tension & prepare the audience for the upcoming shock culminating into a frightening crescendo.
The film breaks away from the genre of a stereotypical terror based thriller as it presents a parallel perspective of this issue. Politics of gender is also apparent in the film as the only important woman character of Deepal Shaw has been projected as a gullible, hungry for eyeball catching news reporter while the other female character is that of a weak, vulnerable wife of Amir Bashir, who’s constantly calling up her husband to tell him about her whereabouts. Men are the ones instigating as well as fighting the entire issue with women being cast in side roles.Although, the relationship between Old Turks and Young blood has been progressively and innovatively established in the film in the scenes between Anupam Kher and the young hacker.
A Wednesday is a riveting thriller which keeps the audience hooked to it till the last frame. An exceptional script, racy pace, stylistic editing, spellbinding performances and brilliant direction make A Wednesday a must watch. So keep your next Wednesday free and get your hands on this fantastic flick!