Rating : 5/10
Release Date : 13th September, 2013
Time : 150 minutes
Director, Writer : Ahishor Solomon; Music : Kshitij Tarey, Strings
Starring : Naseeruddin Shah, Randeep Hooda, Vipin Sharma, Shernaz Patel, Sharat Saxena
There is a germ of an interesting idea here but instead of making it blossom into a beautiful forest, with greenery and idyllic rivers, in terms of executional style, they chose the dark, gloomy, haunted woods.
John Day, the titular character, played by Naseeruddin Shah, is an upright bank manager who’s had a really bad couple of years. First his daughter dies. Then his branch gets robbed. And his wife, Shernaz Patel, is in a semi-comatose state after the daughter’s death and fully comatose after the robbery.
Randeep Hooda, is a vindictive, brutal cop, the kind who loves inflicting pain just cause he enjoys it. Ten slaps when one will do. Ten bullets when obviously just a single one would be enough. And even gorier stuff. He has no attachments (maybe girlfriend Elena Kazan is an exception but he slaps her around just to be in character), he is an orphan and works for a big underworld don, Sharat Saxena.
The bank robbery makes Naseer’s and Randeep’s paths criss-cross, with Vipin Sharma, as the dishonest cop in charge of the investigation, also playing a key part.
The plot is interesting but they go out of the way to stretch it (movie could’ve been half hour shorter with no one being wiser), throw in plenty of unnecessary plot points (Why did Naseer’s daughter have to be adopted ? Why did a smart cop not keep any extra copy of a crucial file ? How does a girlfriend he doesn’t really trust know all about it ?) and they make it far more gruesome than it needed to be (there is a need for it in Silence of the Lambs and is almost a raison d’etre in most Tarantino films, not here, just puts you off). Also the transformation of Naseeruddin Shah from mild but firm bank manager to avenging angel is surprising to say the least, though, given what he’s gone through, perhaps not entirely inexplicable.
What works are the performances, Sharat Saxena particularly convincing as an ‘honest’ Don and both the leading men pulling their weight, slotting into their roles with ease. Vipin Sharma also caught the eye with a good performance to round up the credits. Its also not a run of the mill Hindi film, something different about the treatment – its not a normal cops & robbers film or a story about corruption or a mindless action flick – and so deserves some brownie points for that.
The makers though seemed to not know whether they wanted to make a ‘noir-ish’ film or a slick action thriller, kind of falling in between, with brooding moments and some action. The film would’ve turned out much better if they’d chosen and whole-heartedly chased the latter…