John Day, directed by Ahishor Solomon, is not an extravagant multi-starrer. Naseeruddin Shah and Randeep Hooda are the lead protagonists. One of the producers is Anjum Rizvi, of A Wednesday fame. Can the crackling combination create a box office success yet again? We’re hoping so.
Because the film, despite being inspired from the Spanish film ‘Box 507’, manages to keep you rooted to your seat. It is the story of the mild-mannered and God-fearing John Day (Naseeruddin Shah), who is grieving after the mysterious death of his daughter. After a bank heist, John discovers some papers which hold the key to a very bitter truth.
Gautam (Randeep Hooda), who is a dirty cop working for the mob, needs to find the papers that John has discovered and hand them over. Therein, begins a cat and mouse game where you see a transformation in the meek John while a sadistic Gautam is hot on the paper trail.
Naseeruddin yet again plays a common man pushed to the brink by tragedy and corruption. But needless to say, he does a fantastic job. Randeep Hooda is no stranger to playing grey and morally ambiguous characters. But his Gautam is more layered, more sadistic (he loves inflicting pain on his victims) and also vulnerable in love. Elena Kazan, as his love interest has a very haunting presence. Shernaz Patel, Vipin Sharma and Makrand Deshpande also do a good job. The rest of the cast lends able support.
The film’s background score (Sandeep Chowta) is worth a mention. Ahishor Solomon, who is also the writer for the film needs to take a bow for the effort. John Day may lag on occasion, but it is taut for most part. Be warned of some graphic scenes of violence which may shock the faint-hearted. The film has no light moments to compensate either.
But if you’ve got the stomach for it and a need to take a break from masala cinema, this is the film to watch. Films of India gives it three stars.