A Thursday, written and directed by Behzad Khambata and co-written by Ashely Lobo, is a spiritual sequel to “A Wednesday,” a 2008 drama directed by Neeraj Pandey. The makers have tried to build a franchise by keeping the essence of both films similar. An individual who becomes a victim of an unjust system, takes the reins in his hand, and decides to do something so outlandish that it puts him or her in a position of undue advantage from where they can dictate their terms.
The film stars Yami Gautam Dhar, Neha Dhupia, Atul Kulkarni, and Dimple Kapadia in the lead roles. Let’s understand the nitty-gritties of this world and if it was gripping enough to make us invested in the story.
‘A Thursday’ Plot Summary
Naina Jaiswal is a teacher at the Little Dots play school in Colaba. She was on leave for three weeks for some unknown reason. We come to know that the school is located in the front portion of the property owned by Rohit Mirchandani, Naina’s fiance. Rohit also lives on the same property. The parents come to drop off their kids, and Naina requests one of the parents to send a cake, as she remembered that it was their daughter, Niharika’s, birthday the next day. She asked if their driver could deliver the cake to the school. Everybody leaves the premises, and something snaps inside Naina. There is a devilish fervor inside her that is ready to burn anything and everything that comes her way. She calls the Colaba police station and informs them that she has 16 children as hostages.
Just then, Niharika’s driver arrives with a cake. Savitri, the helper, also, unfortunately, returns to take her phone, which she had forgotten. Both of them are taken into captivity as Naina has no other option.
The police officials came to see if the call received was a prank or if there was actually something happening. Naina fires a shot to let the authorities know that she means business. Catherine Alvarez, the ACP, gets in touch with her, and Naina keeps an unusual demand that she would only negotiate with an officer named Javed Khan.
Naina initiates her death game, and Javed Khan is brought to the scene. She tells Javed that she would free one kid for every demand met. The first demand she makes is that she wants five crore rupees transferred into her account. Catherine Alvarez and Javed Khan had a history together, due to which they were not very compatible while working together. Catherine does not listen to Javed and tries to send a force inside. It results in Naina killing one of the kids, named Aakash. The commissioner of police gives the complete charge to Javed and sends Catherine to do the background research as both of them had major disagreements that were not benefiting the current situation.
Naina’s second demand is that she wants to talk to the Prime Minister. Unable to find a solution, the forces give in to the demand. The Prime Minister, Maya Rajguru, talks to Naina on the phone, and the latter urges her to come in person and meet her.
Naina tells Javed Khan to find two guys, Rakesh Mathur and Charan Kumar, who she last knew were working at BWC school in Goregaon, and bring them to her. The police are able to locate Rakesh Mathur, but they cannot find Charan Kumar.
No one knows what Naina is up to, and Javed Khan and his team have no choice but to agree to what she says because the children are still in her custody.
‘A Thursday’ Ending Explained
Catherine discovers, while conducting a background check, that Naina has been taking antidepressants and visiting psychologist since she was 16 years old. She searches Naina’s house and finds receipts for the medicine prescribed by doctor Juneja. She gets in touch with Dr. Juneja, while Javed Khan gets hold of Naina’s mother. The information that they get from both of them makes the picture a bit clearer. Naina had been raped when she was 16 years old. Javed Khan and Catherine were the officers in charge of the case. They both did not pay attention to Naina’s case as they were chasing this high-profile case to get into the limelight. Naina’s mother begged them for a couple of years and then started living with the trauma as there was no one who would address her grievances.
Prime Minister Maya Rajguru decides to meet Naina in person. She is accompanied only by Javed Khan. Naina brings up the POCSO Act, which came into effect in the year 2012. It was enacted in order to protect children under 18 years of age against sexual offenses. Naina asks the Prime Minister why there isn’t anything for people over 18. She demands that the Prime Minister assure her right then and there that rape offenders will face the death penalty. The PM tells Naina that amending the rules or passing an act is a complex task that requires time, but also assures her that she will make sure that her rapists are found and put behind bars. That is when Naina reveals the final information that shocks both the people present in the room and those watching it live on social media.
For some reason, the police were not able to find Charan Kumar. Charan Kumar was the same person who had brought Niharika’s birthday cake and was working as a driver for the family. It was an accident that Charan Kumar landed with the cake. Naina had asked Niharika’s mother to send her driver with the cake, as she had figured three weeks back that Charan Kumar was working for them. He was the one who had raped her while Rakesh Mathur held her hands. Naina shoots Charan Kumar and takes her revenge.
The commandos enter the house and take Naina into custody. While Naina is being transported to prison, Maya Rajguru brings up the issue of capital punishment in parliament.
“A Thursday” picks up in the last 20 minutes, and you find yourself vested in the proceedings. For most of the time, the film suffers from a lack of tension, which is the key ingredient of any thriller. “A Wednesday” was able to create that tension through the ambiguity of the actions and demands of its protagonist, Naseeruddin Shah. “A Thursday” isn’t compelling enough, and soon you find yourself questioning the logic behind the events and if at all it is plausible. The dialogs do give a punch or two, but largely are ineffective. The last monologue in “A Wednesday” was efficacious in nature and stirred something inside all of us. “A Thursday” lacks that potency.
Yami Gautam Dhar is convincing as a caring teacher, and she nails the climax sequence, but the same cannot be said for her performance as his criminal, who is enraged and refuses to give in. The sudden camera movement when the actor has a change in expression makes it even more gimmicky than evil.
“A Thursday,” streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, raises an important issue that we as Indians should collectively think about, but isn’t able to create that gripping impact that keeps you on the edge of your seats.