On 9 March 1993 a small-time thug, Gul Mohammed, is detained at the Nav Pada police station and confesses to a conspiracy underway to bomb major locations around the city. The police dismiss his confession and, three days later, Bombay is torn apart by a series of explosions leaving 257 dead and close to 1,400 injured. Investigators discover that the bombs were made of RDX, smuggled into the city with the aid of customs officials and the border police.
In turn, the film traces the motive for the blasts to the Bombay riots, the bloody warring between the Hindu and Muslim communities from December 1992 to January 1993, which left over 1500 people dead. The Bombay riots were an unprecedented outburst of violence and abuse, resulting in enormous emotional trauma and property loss. Tiger Memon (Pavan Malhotra) is an underworld don whose office is burnt to cinders during the riots. The suffering of the Muslim minorities in the riots incites a meeting of underworld leaders in Dubai, who then take it on themselves to seek retribution. Tiger Bhai (as Tiger Memon is called) one of the chief inflamed suggests an attack on Bombay as the strongest message of retaliation, thus leading to Black Friday 12 March 1993.
Asgar Muqadam, Tiger Memon's secretary is arrested on 14 March 1993. He is beaten till he provides whatever information he has about the bomb blasts and that initiates a full police inquiry. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Rakesh Maria (Kay Kay Menon) is put in charge of the case. The next piece in the puzzle is the arrest of Badshah Khan (Aditya Shrivastava), one of the henchmen who had left Bombay and gone into hiding, who was found by the police on 10 May 1993.
After the blast, the accomplices in the crime are forced to lead a life of anonymity and secrecy as it becomes evident that Mumbai police have started picking up the suspects one by one. To make matters worse, their passports seem to have been destroyed at the behest of Tiger Memon. In spite of assurances to the contrary, the high command blatantly refuses any help to them once the bombings have materialised. Tired of being let down by his own people and without a place to hide, Badshah Khan realises that there is no justification for his acts and decides to become a police witness. On 4 November 1993, the police file a charge sheet against 189 accused. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) takes over the case.
Then on 5 August 1994, Tiger's brother, Yaqub Memon, willingly turns himself in to the authorities. In a candid Newstrack interview on national television Yaqub states that it was Tiger and his underworld associates who orchestrated the conspiracy.Kay Kay Menon as DCP Rakesh Maria
Aditya Srivastava as Badshah Khan
Pavan Malhotra as Tiger Memon
Kishor Kadam as Inspector Bhaskar Dangle
Zakir Hussain as Inspector Nandakumar Chaugule
Imtiaz Ali as Yakub Memon
Pankaj Jha as Anwar Theba
Pratima Kazmi as Mrs. Khan, Badshah's mother
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Asgar Mukadam (as Nawazuddin)
Pranay Narayan as Imtiaz Gawate
Vijay Maurya as Dawood Ibrahim
Dibyendu Bhattacharya as Yeda Yakub
Pranay Narayan as Imtiaz Ghavate
Gajraj Rao as Dawood Phanse
Prakash Jais as Farooq Pawle
Raj Arjun as Nasir Deklu
Ragesh Asthana as Mohammad Dossa
Sushovan Banerjee as Abhay Zarapkar
Asif Basra as Shanawaz Qureshi
Aditya Bhattacharya as Sheikh Aziz
Uday Chandra as Old Neighbour at Al Hussaini
Raj Singh Chaudhary as Mushtaq Tarani (as Raja Choudhary)
Aliya Curmally as Shabana Memon
Suresh Dubey as Sabir
Sanjay Gandhi as DCP K.L. Bishnoi
Bharat Ganeshpure as Bomb Squad member
Manoj Goyal as Qullu Mohammed Khan
Ashraful Haque as Bashir Khan
Milind Inamdar as Mohamed Iqbal
Ravi Kale as Sawant
Arbaaz Ali Khan as Javed Chikna
Sarfaraz Khan as Taxi Driver at Princess Street Flyover
Ashok Lokhande as Sub-Inspector at Nav Pada Police Station
Loveleen Mishra as Newstrack Interviewer
Arindam Mitra as M.V. Ramani
Bobby Parvez as Rakesh Khurana
Sharad Ponkshe as Anup Patnaik
Ajai Rohilla as R.K. Singh
Sujata Sehgal as Mafeesa Khan
Happy Sharma as Sardar Khan
Murli Sharma as Inspector Virendra Vani
Jeetendra Shastri as Salim Phansopkar
Goutam Maitra as Tainur
Raju Shrestha as Parvez Shaikh
Savi Sidhu as A.S. Samra
Suresh Singh as Majid Khan
Sachin Suvarna as Shoaib Ghansore
Irshaad as Piloo Khan
Shamim Chacha as Dada bhai Parker
Gani as Rahim Laundrywala
Parveen Sheikh as Rape victim
Anil Yadav as Dawood Jatt's gangster
Black Friday is a film based on the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai which many believe were organised as retaliation for the Bombay riots which left over 300 people dead and more than 1500 people injured.
Black Friday was shot with hidden cameras. The film was not released in Indian theatres for two years as, on the eve of its release, a petition seeking a stay was filed by the people named in the film, the alleged perpetrators of the crime. Since the verdict was still pending for the 1993 case, they argued that the film would bias public opinion against them and affect the court's decision, an argument that was ultimately upheld by the court.
The film was received rapturously at previews in India and abroad. It was released in the United Kingdom in 2006 and was finally given the go ahead by the Supreme Court for release in India on 9 February 2007, after the accused had been charged with TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act), which carries a maximum sentence of death.
British director Danny Boyle has cited Black Friday as an inspiration for his 2008 award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. Boyle stated that a chase in one of the opening scenes of Slumdog Millionaire was based on a "12-minute police chase through the crowded Dharavi slum" in Black Friday.
Black Friday's soundtrack and background score was composed by Indian Ocean and the lyrics were written by Piyush Mishra. This was Indian Ocean's first film soundtrack; it has nine tracks – three songs and six instrumentals. The song "Bandeh" became immensely popular and reached No. 2 on the film charts. The music was well received by critics and the album was declared a "must buy." The score and soundtrack has been described as "haunting" and "goose bump[s]" inducing.
The film was released in the United Kingdom with 17 seconds of the cockfighting scenes deleted. Laws in the UK do not allow any film footage of actual animal cruelty that has been deliberately orchestrated by film-makers.
The film has been appreciated by critics all over the world. Black Friday has an 86% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Matt Zoller Seitz of the New York Times described it as "epic and raw, and cut out from the same bloody cloth as Salvador and Munich. Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter compares the film's "journalistic inquiry into cataclysmic social and political events" to that of Gillo Pontecorvo's classic The Battle of Algiers. He remarks that the film is without any lurid sensationalism and is objective.
David Chute of LA Weekly described it as "a rigorously naturalistic docudrama about a complex police investigation." Ethan Alter of Film Journal International describes it as a "potent reminder that Indian filmmaking isn't limited to Bollywood super-productions." According to Maitland McDonagh of TV Guide's Movie Guide, "its assertion that religious terrorism is about more than simply faith is food for thought." According to Ted Murphy of Murphy's Movie Reviews, "Kashyap keeps the action moving and the overall movie turns out to be engrossing."
Black Friday received overwhelmingly positive reviews from Indian critics. The film is widely considered to be director Anurag Kashyap's masterpiece.
Rajeev Masand gave it 4/5 stars and said "The actual blast scenes are shot in such a languid style, exactly the way a bystander would have experienced it. Believe me, no film yet has brought me so close to giving it a five out of five rating, but because it's just a little short of true greatness, I'm going to go with four of five for Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday. This is the kind of film to send to the Oscars."
Taran Adarsh gave it 4/5 stars and said "Some films leave you stunned and speechless with sheer power. BLACK FRIDAY, directed by Anurag Kashyap, is one such film. On the whole, BLACK FRIDAY is an outstanding piece of work. One of the finest products to come out of Mumbai, this one is a hard-hitting film that has the courage to say what it says. Do yourself a favor: Watch BLACK FRIDAY. Hindi cinema at its best."
Nihil Kumar from Apun Ka Choice said, "Taking least possible cinematic liberty and retaining objectivity throughout the film, Anurag Kashyap tells a compelling and disturbing story in ‘Black Friday’. Strongly Recommended." Sanjay Ram from Business Of Cinema said, "It simply states the point and that too in a very objective fashion." Khalid Mohamed from Hindustan Times said "The docu-drama structure is so skillfully employed that you’re gripped."
Nikhat Kazmi from The Times of India gave it 5/5 stars and said "It's powerful, pointed and hard-hitting cinema that needs to be seen. Not for entertainment, but for soch-vichar. And no, let's have no state, city, town, village, panchayat, self-appointed moral-political custodian acting as a super censor, this time please." Rediff said "There are moments in the second half when the filmmaker seems to lose the vice-like grip by which he holds viewers but that's excusable since the film has to stay within the framework of its reality theme."
Black Friday grossed ₹70.1 million (US$1.1 million) in India. The film grossed $35,000 in USA.
The film was screened at the 57th Locarno International Film Festival on 13 August 2004 and was received with widespread praises. It was a nominee for the coveted Golden Leopard (Best Film), but the award went to the Italian Private. Black Friday won the Grand Jury Prize at the 3rd Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles in April 2004.
Black Friday was nominated for three Star Screen Awards in 2008 but did not win any of them.Star Screen Award for Best Villain – Pavan Malhotra
Best Screenplay – Anurag Kashyap
Best Editing – Aarti Bajaj