John Day: Some thrills, some gore

New directors often choose to make their place in the film industry the hard way. They tend to experiment but to do that, one not only needs solid work on the script but also total conviction and confidence. The trick is also in knowing ones limits with experiment.

Producers: K Asif, Anjum Rizvi, Aatef A Khan.

Direction: Ahishor Solomon.

Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Randeep Hooda, Shernaz Patel, Sharat Saxena, Vipin Sharma, Elena Kazan, Makrand Deshpande, Bharat Dabholkar, Anant Mahadevan.


Naseeruddin Shah and Shernaz Patel is a loving couple living with their adopted daughter. Then things suddenly start going wrong with them. Their daughter goes out with her boyfriend on the pretext of going out for a school project. They land up at a huge empty property far from crowds which is full of shrubs.  They go for a dip in the lake on the property. Her friend is still in the lake as she returns to the shack they are put up in, when the whole property along with the shack goes up in flames.


The grief is great on the couple, especially Shernaz who, even after two years since the incident has not come out of it. Shah has got busy again with his job as a bank manager. That is when another tragedy strikes the family. Shernaz is kept hostage at her home by a thug whose partner has gone to the bank to rob it. Reluctantly, Shah hands over the keys for the sake of safety of his wife. But the goon has different plans; he hits Shernaz with a hammer even as his partner clears out all the bank lockers. Shernaz does not die. Worse, she goes into a vegetative state and is in no condition to help with the search for the culprits.


This is only the beginning of Shah’s problems though he is not aware of it. The coin drops only when a bank customer, Elena Kazan, comes to the bank to claim her papers back from the locker. The file she describes has Casablanca marked over it. Shah realises that the property where his daughter died was, in fact, called Casablanca. Shah now has a reason to believe that his daughter’s death was not an accident. He decides to start his own personal investigation.


Kazan takes the file to Randeep Hooda, a suspended ACP, she also happens to be his mole. To Hooda’s surprise, the folder is the same he was looking for but the papers inside are missing. Hooda is a cop turned criminal. He blames the world for everything that has gone wrong with his life.He was an orphan who was exploited by the orphanage keeper and sodomised when he was nine. Hooda now plays up both sides of dons, one in Mumbai (Sharat Saxena) and the other in Dubai though both are sworn enemies. The Casablanca papers relate to the very property where Shah’s daughter died. The property is sought by both the dons and the Dubai don has promised Hooda Rs 50 crore if the papers are handed over to him. Hooda belives that the papers have gone with rest of the loot that the bank robbers took.


Now, Hooda and Shah both are looking for the thieves. As expected, their paths are bound to cross but Shah manages to be one step ahead of Hooda most of the time. Gradually, Shah cracks the secrets and decides to finish all those who ruined his world.


On and off, the film resorts to violence and some scenes have been made explicitly gory; the idea is to make Hooda’s character devilish and soulless. Unfortunately, the director fails to control his script and the ‘experiment’ seems to slip out of his grasp. A lot is taken for granted and illogical things happen to make the latter parts confusing. The mostly outdoor film has been shot well. Background score is effective. Performance wise, Shah excels. Hooda has his limitations as his character is one shade. Saxena and Shernaz are good. Vipin Sharma impresses. Bharat Dabholkar, Anant Mahadevan and Makrand Deshpande make cameos.

John Day has gory scenes and an inconsistent second half going against its chances at the box office.


Grand Masti: ABCD of sex

Producers: Ashok Thakeria, Indra Kumar.

Direction: : Indra Kumar.

Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani.


This may be a money-making formula but it sure isn’t cinema. Gather a bunch of not-in-demand actors (the term actors is used loosely because they are the only recognisable faces in the film), give a ‘break’ to as many new, aspiring starlets since they don’t matter anyway except they are willing to play along in a all the vulgarity that is dished out and let loose two and half hours of crassness backed by lewd gestures (acting is not part of the scheme here).


Director Indra Kumar always exhibited the traits of a wannabe Dada Kondke when he made Gujarati films,which thrived due to the Gujarat government’s 100 per cent entertainment tax exemption policy. But Kondke at least tried garnishing his vulgarity under a veil of double meaning. Indra Kumar starts off his Grand Masti with cheap and gaudy titles in the fashion of 1960s and 70s films and then never looks back. It is cheap (in making) and vulgar and crass in its content. So much so that the next few rapes that happen in the country should probably be credited to this film.


There are three guys, Riteish Deshmukh, Aftab Shivdasani and Vivek Oberoi, doing their final year in college. In the college they pursue women as if they were fed on Viagra instead of milk as toddlers. It is not romance they seek, it is sex. In a quantum jump to five or six years after college, all three are married and one would think that their lust would have subsided by now. No, in a theme seen in many films before, these poor souls never get privacy with their spouses and are always left craving for some action.


An opportunity comes their way when their college invites them for a reunion. Of course, the wives are too preoccupied to join them, opening the scope for three more girls willing to titillate and be part of the film. There are some imaginary seductions and there are some almost-there kinds but, it is a ‘clean’ Hindi film and the men must emerge clean and untouched at the end. Both parties realise their mistake and decide to mend their ways.


For performance, the characters need to indulge in tomfoolery, which also takes some talent. Of the boys, Riteish does it the best; Aftab is passable while Vivek cuts a sorry picture in this department. Girls do what they are required to. Direction is okay. The gags are mostly reruns. Music has nothing much to write home about.

Considering the opening response Grand Masti has got, this one seems to be working with the young lot despite or, probably, because of its vulgarity. However, its audience should soon dry up as this film, touted as Adult Comedy, is not the kind made for a family outing.

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