India Insight

Movie Review: John Day

September 13, 2013

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Ahishor Solomon’s “John Day” is a thriller about a docile bank manager who seeks revenge after the actions of a corrupt cop and his accomplices leave the manager’s life in tatters.

The film starts off intriguingly and in the first 15 minutes or so, Solomon sets up his story well.

Naseeruddin Shah plays John Day, an ordinary man who sets out to exact revenge on those who killed his daughter and brutally attacked his wife.

At the heart of the plot is a mysterious company, an estate called Casablanca, and a savage police officer called Gautam (Randeep Hooda) who does everything but the things policemen are supposed to do.

Gautam conspires with dons from rival groups, abuses his alcoholic girlfriend, beheads people he doesn’t like, and in one scene even pulls out the teeth and tongue of a man he is trying to extract information from.

There are long drawn-out shots of Gautam brooding, and a feeble attempt at justifying his violent behaviour. Solomon also tries to create a sense of mystery and foreboding throughout the film, but all that does is make the plot murkier. For the most part, the viewer is at a loss about what exactly is happening on screen.

There are scattered clues about the real plot, but they aren’t coherent enough to piece together the bare essentials of the story. The pace slackens and Hooda’s attempt at playing the tormented soul grates on the nerves.

Save for the one innovative chase sequence shot to the strains of “Silent Night”, there isn’t much to talk about. The film lurches towards the climax in a blur of bloodshed and tears, but none of it is real enough to touch you.

The only saving grace is Naseeruddin Shah, who as usual is excellent in his role despite being saddled with a rather hackneyed script. Watch this only if you are a big fan of the man and his craft.

 

(Follow Shilpa on Twitter @shilpajay)

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