John Day loses his daughter in a freak accident. His wife goes into a depression. There is more. The honest man works as a manager in a bank where some real estate sharks have placed secret papers of a land deal which is actually a scam. He is blackmailed into allowing a robbery in the bank. Cut to a dishonest police officer with a troubled childhood. He wants those papers for his political and criminal masters. Sounds like a compelling recipe for a desi dark thriller, but it turns out that first-time director Ahishor Solomon is looking at us through ‘Spanish’ shades — John Day is inspired by the Spanish film Box 507. As a result, the picture is not clear!
Logic, pace and tautness are the main ingredients of a thriller and Solomon’s work disappoints on all the three counts. He keeps the cards close to his chest for so long that we lose interest. When he reveals them, we realise that his intentions are noble but still can’t answer many of the crucial whys. The relentless blood and gore is to garner more attention than required by the narrative. The simmering emotions fail to provide an insight into the core of the characters.
One of the co-producers of the film was behind A Wednesday and after a point it seems that the narrative has been forced to play out in the fashion of Neeraj Pandey’s film. Naseeruddin Shah’s presence and eagerness to be the hero of the piece makes this all the more apparent but there is a vast difference between the two films. Here as the common man who picks up the gun to seek revenge, Shah is left to fend for himself because the script is sketchy and the camera work gimmicky. Take the scene where his hands are shown shaking while picking up the gun. It is shot in such a manner that the director seems to be saying: see his hands are shaking. I am conscious about the details. As the police officer with a violent streak, Randeep Hooda fires blank shots to gain our empathy. His brooding is supposed to disturb you but it leaves you distraught because of his lack of grasp of the character. It becomes all the more clear when he shares the frames with the outstanding Vipin Sharma, who plays his aide.
Elena Kazan as the girl on the edge looks like a poor copy of Kangna Ranaut in a Mahesh Bhatt film. The problem is with the writing. A few more drafts would have helped. Here the characters talk of events of their tumultuous past. Perhaps Solomon would have been better placed if he had shown us some of these disturbing features. Similarly characters trail off talking about what their father or mother told them. It happens when you don’t give your words time to breathe, it happens when you don’t think visually.
Director: Ahishor Solomon
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Randeep Hooda, Vipin Sharma, Elena Kazan, Sharat Saxena
Storyline: A dark tale of how a corrupt system can turn a common man’s life into hell.
Bottomline: A sad day at work!