Inspired from a Spanish film, is it? I really don't give a fig where writer-director Ahishor Solomon got the raw material for this gripping cat-and-mouse tale. Does the kitchen where the food on the table originates really mean anything? What counts is the quotient of curiosity and suspense simulated by the script. And there, John Day ranks very high.
Not for a while have we seen a film so steeped in despair, so swathed in anxiety, so audaciously draped in despair and yet it engages our senses without miring the plot in morbidity.
The story is not for the squeamish. The two main characters are constantly haunted by their irrevocably tragic parts. Naseeruddin Shah and Randeep Hooda, real-life guru and pupil, play people who know no happiness. Incidents from their past continue to shadow and chase their present. There is scarcely a moment in the plot when John (Shah) and Gautam (Hooda) are happy except when they are with their beloved 'Other'.
But then Shernaz Patel, who plays Naseer's wife and the very beautiful foreigner Elena Kazan who plays Randeep girl are troubled by their own ghosts. So where do we go for comfort?
John Day is a restless edgy drama of the doomed and the damned. This not the first time Randeep has played a fugitive shadowed by his own past. But this is certainly his most layered character which he performs with the kind of gravelly gusto that allows us to get only as close to the sullen character as he wants us.
Some of the things that the characters do are unmistakably brutal. An innocent woman's head is shattered by a hammer, a man's tongue is bitten off and another man's neck is also bitten off. It's a cold brutal world with no comic relief, at least none where you laugh out loud at the ironies of life.
While the two principal actors get under their characters' skins, other actors seem equally at home in this inky kingdom of greed and gluttony. Vipin Sharma and Makrand Despande are very engaging in their supporting parts. They make doom seem anything but dull. But the film's third hero is Sandeep Chowta's background score. It creates a world of emotions beyond the spoken words for Naseer and Randeep. For a film about losers John Day proves to be a paradoxically profitable movie-viewing experience for the audience.
Have a look at the slide show for images and a detailed review