The review of John Day can be summed up in three words – ‘La Caja 507’ (Box 507). This 2002 Spanish film and Ahishor Solomon’s 2013 thriller starring Naseeruddin Shah and Randeep Hooda are shockingly similar.
Shah plays John Day, a bank manager who, many years after the death of his daughter in a forest fire, is singled out during a bank robbery. While the contents of the safe deposit boxes are being emptied he spies a file that sets off a series of events that bring Day closer to revenge against those who wrecked his life. Among them is a corrupt and beastly cop (Randeep Hooda) who bites off tongues, breaks fingers, and smokes a cigarette with more love than he shows towards his alcoholic girlfriend. Elena Kazan, as the girlfriend, seems to be channelizing Kangna Ranaut minus the frizzy hair – dysfunctional, drunk and in a destructive relationship.
The other players are members of two warring gangs greedy to get their hands on the same plot of land; Day’s comatose wife (Shernaz Patel), a drunken informer (Makrand Deshpande) and another corrupt cop (Vipin Sharma) who says Amitabh Bachchan in Zanjeer inspired him to join the police force.
Besides the blatant plagiarism, the plot is muddled and the narrative confusing. The film is overtly violent and gory. Worst of all, even an actor of Shah’s caliber seems unable to bring gravitas or layering to his part, though he is the one watchable element in the film. Hooda plays his scenes with a stoical expression throughout.
Solomon is obviously from the Ram Gopal Varma school of filmmaking. Many scenes and build up of suspense, including Sandeep Chowta’s background music, will remind you of Varma’s work. Fortunately Solomon does not use awkward camera angles, which distinguishes his work slightly from his mentor’s, but not enough to make you want to give this film the time of day.