This essay looks at three films from Bombay that take the issue of terrorism to mediate the landscape of conspiracy, surveillance, and the city. The films are Anurag Kashyap's  Black Friday (2005), Raj Kumar Gupta's Aamir (2008), and Neeraj Pandey's A Wednesday(2009). All three films belong to a body of cinema that has emerged in relation to what is now commonly referred to as the Multiplex era. The filmmakers belong to a community of cinephiles and are therefore extremely conscious of and dedicated to their craft. These twenty-first century films refer to various terrorist attacks of the last two decades and work with an investigative cartography, staging the city through narratives cluttered with evidentiary details, an aggressive marking and arranging of information, and a constant presence of the visual media as the ultimate arbiter of knowledge. Unlike popular melodramas, the films discussed here open out cataclysmic events through reenactments and precision-style unraveling; in this process a "mobile script" is carved out to mediate the relationship between paranoia and citizenship. If the social practice of paranoia is rooted in the belief that the truth is not fully available, then in these films, conspiracy is the form through which the spectator is provided the illusion of comfort and control over contemporary events, the city of Bombay, and history. Conspiracy selectively opens out an archive of memory to frame a city's present, ironing out rival visions of truth for a unified and singular projection


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pp. 143-172
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