Saturday, September 14, 2013

John Day 

Dark As Night

The film is a copy of Spanish film Box 507, so no rating points for originality to director Ahishor Solomon. 

Then there are the glaring incongruities—the eponymous John Day is presumably of Goan origin, and speaks Hindi? He is a bank manager in a Mumbai bank and lives in a bungalow?  A cop, corrupt though he may be, lives in a bungalow with a swimming pool and has an Alibaug hideout?

If this is random, what is to be made of a scene in which the above-mentioned cop, Gautam (Randeep Hooda), tortures a man, in a restaurant, by forcing him to eat biryani and currency notes.  To what purpose? Who knows!  This same, obviously loony cop, bites out the tongue of a man he is questioning and then beats an informer to death. His excuse is that he was abused as a child in the orphanage. He has an even more loony girlfriend (Elena Kazan), who is an alcoholic and stuffs cushions up her t-shirt because she wants to have a baby!

Earlier in the film, John Day’s (Naseeruddin Shah) wife (Shernaz Patel) has her head bashed in with a hammer, and later Mr John (as he is called) bites a goon’s neck in vampire mode. A gangster type (Sharat Saxena) whips himself every Friday to the accompaniment of devotional music.

If there was any point to all this cringe-making violence, it would still be acceptable, but the whole film replete with vague characters with a real estate deal as the McGuffin.

John Day’s daughter sneaks off for a weekend with her boyfriend and ends up dead. After two years, there is a robbery in his bank, a nasty episode that leaves him wounded and his wife in a coma.

On scratching the surface, Mr John finds out that his daughter’s death was not accidental, there is a real estate scam in which Gautam and a couple of warring gangsters are involved. All of them are after a file containing papers to do with the land deal, and a lot of violence is unleashed, mostly by Gautam. Mr John wisely walks into the government department concerned, bribes the clerk and gets the papers. Sigh, all that heavy duty rough stuff and no pay-off in the end. Not even some kind of revenge accomplished or redemption gained or scamsters exposed.

Naseeruddin Shah lends his usual acting muscle to a part that doesn’t deserve it, but Randeep Hooda with his grimaces, twitches and slow drawl is a major irritant.  John Day tries to be gritty and noir-ish, but just ends up tedious. The only plus point being, no songs and no item number.


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