After being banned for 20 months, controversial docu-drama Black Friday, based on the 1993 bombings in Mumbai, is being released in India and overseas this Friday. Adlabs Films acquired the worldwide distribution rights and is releasing it on 100 screens in India, 10 in the USA and 3 in South Africa.

Directed by Anurag Kashyap, the film is based on a book by S. Hussain Zaidi which documents the 1993 bomb blasts that shook Mumbai. Black Friday is a cinematic representation of investigations and events told through the different stories of the people involved -- police, conspirators, victims and middlemen. The 1993 Bombay blasts left 257 dead and 1400 injured and brought into the spotlight the mafia-terrorist nexus prevalent today.

Produced by Arindam Mitra for Mid-Day Multimedia, the film was ready for release when, in April 2005, a Bombay High Court order stayed its release after a petition was filed by a group of the accused stating that the contents could prejudice the case. Mid-Day appealed to the Supreme Court, challenging the judgment of the High Court. However, it was only once the court verdicts were delivered, late last year, that the court lifted the ban on the film.

Speaking about the release, director Kashyap said, 'It's been a tough journey and it feels like something has finally been unblocked. I don't think the delay in the release will impair the impact of the film. It's a timeless film with a universal theme of religious intolerance leading to terrorism.'

Tariq Ansari, Managing Director of Mid-Day said: 'Apart from being a great cinematic experience, Black Friday is a critical document in contemporary history. We are delighted that Adlabs has come on to add more power to the film.'

Black Friday screened in competition at the Locarno Film Festival in 2004, and also at festivals in Germany, Estonia, South Korea and the US. It was awarded the grand jury prize at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles in 2005.

This has been good news for Kashyap, whose first film Paanch never managed to clear the censors, making this his first release after eight years of filmmaking. Deepa Mehta's Water, for which he helped on the script, has earned an Oscar nomination and is likely to release in India this month.