“Is this a circus?” asks police officer Rathi, played by Esha Gupta, when she exits her prison cell after pummelling a criminal brutally, while her male colleagues observe her with reluctant admiration.
They don’t answer, but there’s a good chance that the audience will ask themselves the same question after watching ‘One Day: Justice Delivered’.
The film is a disjointed thriller that just doesn’t add up.
Veteran actor Anupam Kher plays Justice Tyagi, a gracious legal man who turns vigilante upon retirement. Tyagi, who has always played by the rule book during his service, is out to torture and eke out a confession from all those criminals he let go due to lack of evidence in his court. As a premise it’s intriguing, but the execution by director Ashok Nanda is choppy and lopsided.
It’s dressed up a taut vigilante thriller, but the director’s propensity to insert titillating dance numbers leaves a bitter aftertaste.
Consider this: Gupta — as the fierce cop Rathi from Ranchi — is introduced into the film as a seductive dancer in a seedy nightclub in Kolkata. In her racy red gown with a dangerous slit and plum-stained lips, the bodacious Rathi — a terribly miscast Gupta — is part of an undercover operation to nab a bad guy drinking in that nightclub. There’s a gun strapped to her thigh and the dangerously high slit of her gown reveals her ‘armed and dangerous’ persona. Her introductory scene is cringe-inducing and laughable.
Come to think of it, Gupta isn’t a name that you would instantly associate with a police officer’s role and unfortunately she isn’t talented enough to convince us otherwise. Hearing her speak in a native Hindi accent doesn’t help her cause either.
Her attempt to sound like a native from Ranchi is jarring and cringe-inducing.
Even as seasoned actors such as Kher and Kumud Mishra try to save the dull, insipid thriller, they have very little to work with. The ageing Justice Tyagi as a scheming vigilante — who’s a complete family man by day but moonlights as an avenging superhero intermittently — isn’t convincing. How he gets away with kidnapping so many men without raising any suspicion remains a mystery. You aren’t smarter by the end of the film either.
While Kher and Mishra — as an unassuming cop — do their bit to add life and verve to the languid thriller, the two cannot salvage this haphazard storyline. Kher’s dark side as a disillusioned judge who takes law onto his own hands isn’t fully fleshed out.
However, his physical quirks, like his square shoulders and stooping gait, are consistent with the persona of an unassuming law-abiding citizen, but him going rogue isn’t built on a solid ground. On the bright side, there’s an interesting twist in the climax, but it’s too little too late.
Be warned, the pace is also fractured. The titillating numbers with skimpily-clad women — inserted as a tool to distract — are uncalled for. If you think justice delayed is justice denied, then this film has committed that cardinal sin too.
The verdict isn’t favourable for ‘One Day: Justice Delivered’. So watch this on your own time.
Film: One Day: Justice Delivered
Director: Ashok Nanda
Cast: Anupam Kher, Kumud Mishra and Esha Gupta
Stars: 2 out of 5