Within every saint there is a beast hidden and behind every beast there is a story. Few circumstances in life can bring out the beast within you. The thin line which separates the saint and the beast, the good and evil is going to be blurred and broken forever.
Within every saint there is a beast hidden and behind every beast there is a story. Few circumstances in life can bring out the beast within you. The thin line which separates the saint and the beast, the good and evil is going to be blurred and broken forever. less
“JohnDay is a boring and tedious thriller. Even Naseerudin Shah's acting couldn't save this futile film.”
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I have always been intrigued to see Naseeruddin Shah portray the subgenre of characters epitomized by the likes of Charles Foster Kane and Daniel Plainview; characters who aren’t so much persons as they are enigmatic walking & talking monsters. Shah plays the titular character in John Day, and the film charts his gradual degradation from being a compassionate and friendly human to a cold-blooded killing machine consumed by the sole motive of revenge. “Mujhe insaaf nahin, tabaahi chahiye,” he declares. And a converse to John Day’s arc is the bad cop Gautam’s (Randeep Hooda, breaking Gen. Buck Turgidson’s record of chewing the most gums on celluloid), deprived of any human emotion, and in one scene much later in the film by when even the most patient viewer would have lost interest in the proceedings, we get a hint that he might be so much of a dissolute not by choice or out of greed but because he sees that as the only way to overcome his childhood trauma.
While the premise (lifted from the Spanish film Box 507, which I haven’t seen) is competent raw material for a gripping thriller, endless psychoanalysis, commentry on the system; the film is an abominably dull exercise in trying to shock the viewer with grotesque violence and twists. What would come across as provokingly morbid in a better film comes across as merely a cheap gimmick in John Day. When Min-sik Choi does what he does in I Saw The Devil, we see a severely fucked up character merely being a puppet to his macabre perversions. When Randeep Hooda bites and plucks out a man’s tongue in John Day, he wears a “I must be the first guy in Bollywood to do something so badass!” look.
Naseeruddin Shah is sincere in a poorly written role that needs him to go from a helpless bank manager to a revenge-obsessed killing machine at the drop of a hat, never fleshing out the drama effectively. Which is a sin, considering that the film doesn’t aspire to be a mere pulp thriller but it’s the moral statements that the three characters – Day, Gautam and Khan (Sharat Saxena as a morally righteous mob boss) are pivoted by and the film ends with a verse from the Bible. It is a morose string of character gradations bluntly thrown at us without caring to explain how the turn-of-events come about.