I had walked in for John Day with a lot of expectations. Notwithstanding the entire traffic at the multiplex directing themselves towards the auditorium screening Grand Masti, I was stoic.
The poster looked like the Bollywood version of Dr Faustus (you pick who Mephistopheles might be - Hooda or Shah) - this couldn’t be bad, I thought. And this would be one of those rare Bollywood moments when content would score over crass adult humour and middle-aged men trying to do an American Pie.
John Day (Naseeruddin Shah) is your regular god-fearing bank manager whose daughter dies on a camping trip with her boyfriend. The reasons behind her death are not revealed. Two years down the line, one fine day, John’s wife is held hostage while John is bound and gagged and his bank robbed. Why? Beats me. In comes bad-cop Gautam (Randeep Hooda) who realises that a stack of very valuable papers have gone missing from that bank. Then begins a wild goose chase that ends in an unceremonious pile of bodies.
John finds the underworld connect that ties a huge land deal to the top bosses in Mumbai and Dubai aided by a corrupt police department and ultimately his daughter’s death. So out goes John to avenge her. End of story.
John Day is Shah’s game, he is the reason for the deaths of far too many before actually killing a few himself. What John Day unwittingly becomes is a chain reaction that stems from an accidental death ending in a shoot-out. This movie could be well titled Chaos (I mean no disrespect to the Jason Statham, Ryan Phillippe, and Wesley Snipes starrer). Fine. There is a connect but after a while the ever-mounting body count seems redundant.
Despite being actors with mettle, Shah and Hooda actually disappoint. At times Shah goes back to his A Wednesday mode as he tries to avenge his daughter’s death. But he was much more convincing there. Hooda has a free run with cigarettes and expletives but a more sinister and gristling Hooda had entertained us in Jism 2.
Newcomer Elena Kazan should give up on her Bollywood career, she seems to be aping the unstable Kangana Ranaut (Woh Lamhe) in both acting and accent.
Good thing - the movie has some slick dialogues and no naach-gaana. If you watch John Day it must be for Shah and Hooda. The plot has strength - the final execution falls through. I liked the poster best.