A vigilante thriller pulls on children’s small shoulders

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On a Thursday in Mumbai, a kindergarten teacher takes 16 students, a driver and a cleaner hostage. Naina (Yami Gautam Dhar) asks for nothing less than a personal audience with the country’s prime minister.

Naina not only has a gun, but is an expert marksman. The Mumbai police, led by the heavily pregnant Catherine (Neha Dhupia) and aided by her deputy Javed (Atul Kulkarni), flail in disarray. Parents of imprisoned children tremble with fear.

It’s being broadcast live, of course, on the scoop-hungry TV networks. And it rains all the time, putting Catherine and the others one sneeze away from pneumonia. The lights are out in the police corner of Mumbai, but even the country’s leaders don’t seem very bright. Protocol, what protocol, thunders the Prime Minister (Dimple Kapadia), whose entire team of advisers comprises a single man.

The biggest gift of Virgin the new film from director Behzad Kambata is its title. a thursday is inspired by that of Neeraj Pandey A Wednesdayin which a self-proclaimed “ordinary man” gives the Mumbai police a run to demand vigilante justice for the victims of terrorism.

Atul Kulkarni and Neha Dhupia in A Thursday. Courtesy of RSVP/Blue Monkey Films.

The Disney+ Hotstar release tugs at the little shoulders of kids and their heartbroken parents. The thriller ends with a message on behalf of a vulnerable part of the population. a thursday reserves its wrath for sensational TV channels – ironic in a film that itself exploits trauma and violence.

The police’s inability to move on actionable intelligence adds an unintended comedy track to the 128-minute film. Catherine de Neha Dhupia is reduced to barking into her walkie-talkie, clutching her bloated stomach, and enduring Javed’s taunts and misogynistic lectures about motherhood.

It’s not like the unnecessarily aggressive Javed is in charge either. Despite being described as an elite negotiator, Javed is always close to Naina.

The scattershot script, by Kambata and Ashley Lobo, is paced and entertainingly performed. Atul Kulkarni looks like Javed. Yami Gautam Dhar plays Naina with a menacing gaze straight out of a horror movie and a military zeal that belongs in a Commando comic book.

A tribute to Kalyanee Mulay, whose maid is one of the many unfortunate victims of Naina’s warped mission.

A Thursday (2022).
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