Back in 2008, Delhi Metro had limited connectivity and the bus stop at Barakhamba Road, near Connaught Place was a part of my routine. I had befriended a nearby vendor and would have a nimbu soda from his stall every day.
On that day, like every other day, I had my soda and left. 10 minutes after, there was a bomb blast, right at that spot.
The next time when I went to the bus stop, the vendor and his stall were nowhere to be seen. That bus stop was never the same again and this episode continues to haunt me. I got lucky that day but thousands didn’t.
But then, the common man learns to live through those scarring experiences, right?
A Wednesday is the story of the same common man, the one who lives in a constant fear.
Living an otherwise mundane life, he struggles to get through each day. He faces tragedy because he just doesn’t have a way out.
Be it Mumbai, Delhi, Srinagar, Karachi, Paris or just any city in the world, the terrorist attacks claim countless lives. A sea of dead bodies send chills down our spine but we continue to live life like nothing has happened. Yes, it’s an admirable spirit but it isn’t because we’re superior beings; it’s because what else are we going to do?
And this is exactly what A Wednesday tried to highlight.
The common man suffers regardless of his religion.
Death is inevitable. But how is it fair that the average man is killed because ‘others’ have agendas to accomplish? Innocent civilians are targeted if they happen to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
And Naseeruddin Shah portrayed that common man with a lot of integrity in this film.
His character is just a common man, like you and me. He earns his living with honesty, hopes for a better government every time he casts his vote and yet, it is him who suffers in the end. He refuses to divulge his name because as soon as the label of religion is attached, the religion becomes the perpetrator.
Director Neeraj Pandey won a National Award for this brilliantly crafted film.
This was director Neeraj Pandey’s first film and he proved his mettle with this seemingly small film which did not boast of any mainstream commercial heroes.
A Wednesday is a constant reminder for our society that we’ve made peace with our helplessness.
This cowardice has become a disorder and we’ve found ways to live with it. This cloud of fear follows us everywhere. We complaint about the system, the government and the policy makers but we don’t see a way out.
The film continues to be relevant till date and considering the downfall our society’s facing, this film will stay relevant for a long time to come.
Here’s a reminder of the famous Naseeruddin Shah dialogue about the common man that still resonates with us.
“I’m just a stupid common man wanting to clean his house.”