A Thursday Review 4.0/5 & Rating
A THURSDAY is the story of a woman who takes 16 children hostage. Naina Jaiswal (Yami Gautam Dhar) is engaged to Rohit Mirchandani (Karanvir Sharma) and stays in his sprawling home. Part of his apartment has been converted into a kindergarten run by Naina. She falls ill and goes back to kindergarten three weeks later, on a rainy Thursday. After the parents drop off the children and leave, the maid Savitri (Kalyanee Mulay) asks Naina for a leave of absence the next day as she has to go to the Aadhaar Card Center to update her details. Naina insists that she gets her work done the same day. After Savitri leaves and Naina is all alone with the children, she calls the Colaba Police Station and informs them that she has taken 16 children hostage. Her demand is to speak to respected police officer Javed Khan (Atul Kulkarni). After she finishes a conversation, she gets a visitor, a driver (Boloram Das) from one of the children, who has come to deliver a package. She lets him in. The driver notices that she has a gun. He gets scared and tries to sound the alarm. She ties him up. As luck would have it, Savitri returns, having forgotten her cell phone. She is also tied up. Meanwhile, a pregnant police officer, Catherine Alvarez (Neha Dhupia), arrives at the scene. Naina shoots them and the cops realize things are serious. Javed is asked to come down immediately. Javed calls Naina and she says she wants Rs. 5 crores. She assures that after her demand is met, she will release one child and will inform about the rest of the demands later. After her demand is met and a child is allowed to leave the country, Naina makes her next demand – to speak to Indian Prime Minister Maya Rajguru (Dimple Kapadia). What happens next forms the rest of the film.
The story of Ashley Michael Lobo and Behzad Kambata is very compelling and relatable. It is also in the same zone as A WEDNESDAY (2008). The screenplay by Ashley Michael Lobo and Behzad Kambata is very captivating and exciting. The authors have a firm grip on their material and have peppered the story with many exciting and unpredictable moments. Vijay Maurya’s dialogue is badass. Some of Atul Kulkarni’s sarcastic dialogues make for laughs.
Behzad Kambata’s direction is superior. The last film by director BLANK  was decent but A THURSDAY shows he’s improved a lot. The almost two-hour film has no singing and dancing or lighter moments. The focus is only on the story and the main characters. And Behzad manages to keep viewers hooked from start to finish. What’s commendable is that the finale is hard-hitting and commendable, living up to a large degree to the legacy and impact of its predecessor (a kind of A WEDNESDAY). On the downside, it’s a little convincing to see that one person was able to single-handedly take the kids hostage, with the cops and commandos standing outside as silent onlookers. The trail of the journalist Shalini Guha (Maya Sarao) is also weak. These are minor flaws, however, and the twists and turns in the second half make up for any shortcomings. The tension is unpredictable.
The beginning of A Thursday gives the feeling that this is a sweet, light-hearted film. But soon the exciting background music sounds and you realize that Naina has a sinister plan. The way she takes the kids hostage without making them feel like they are in that kind of situation and the way she negotiates with the cops is beautifully done. That do-do-main-main between Catherine and Javed increases the entertainment quotient. After the break, Rohit’s interrogation is captivating. The film stagnates after this sequence. However, the scene where Naina is attacked while the kids listen to meditative music in their noise-cancelling headphones rekindles interest. The last 15-20 minutes are terrific.
Yami Gautam Dhar delivers the best performance of her career. She’s always been a good actress, but after this film you’ll see her in a different light. Her performance is spot on and the way she transitions from menacing to very cute is believable. Atul Kulkarni is highly entertaining and likable as a sarcastic and kindhearted police officer. Neha Dhupia had played a similar role in SANAK  but here their role is better fleshed out. And their performance is top notch too. Dimple Kapadia is very good and suits the role. Karanvir Sharma is pretty good in the supporting role. Maya Sarao is nice but doesn’t get much leeway. Kalyanee Mulay and Boloram Das provide strong support. Others are fine.
A THURSDAY is a songless film. The background music by Roshan Dalal and Kaizad Gherda is one of the film’s USPs and contributes very well to the thrill factor. The camera work by Anuja Rakesh Dhawan and Siddharth Vasani is very good. Madhusudan N’s production design is rich. Ayesha Khanna’s costumes are realistic and not glamorous as the script calls for. The same goes for Vikram Dahiya’s action. Sumeet Kotian’s cut could have been tighter early in the second half, but overall it’s good.
All in all, A DONNERSTAG has a big surprise in store. It’s laced with a tight script, top notch execution and the best performance ever from Yami Gautam Dhar. It’s a film that ideally should have hit theaters. Had it been released on the big screen, especially during Women’s Day week, it would have been the sleep hit of the year, if not the sleep hit smash. Highly recommended!