Review Hindi

One Day review: Anupam Kher’s gamble of playing the 'common man' falls flat

Release Date: 05 Jul 2019 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 04min


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Keyur Seta

The film looks very much inspired by Neeraj Pandey's sleeper hit A Wednesday (2008), but that is not its biggest problem.

What does a judge do after retirement? Generally he or she lives the retired life in peace. But not the protagonist in director Ashok Nanda’s One Day: Justice Delivered.

Justice Tyagi (Anupam Kher) is a respected man in the city of Ranchi. He is known for his efficiency at work and peaceful, polite nature. So, when he hangs up his gavel, people think he wants to lead a peaceful retired life. Little do they know that an ambitious and dangerous plan is hatching in his mind, irrespective of the fact that his beloved daughter is soon to get married.

As soon as the wedding is over, Tyagi puts his plan into action. He abducts a doctor couple (Murli Sharma and Deepshikha Nagpal) and is about to kill them. He then spikes the drink of his hotelier friend Pankaj Singh (Rajesh Sharma) and abducts him too.

These are not the only people on his hit list. It also includes the cunning member of Parliament Rawat (Zakir Hussain). But Tyagi’s plans are about to hit a bump with the entry of crime branch officer Laxmi Rathi (Esha Gupta) who is entrusted with the task of solving the abductions.

You won't take long to realize that the story of One Day is very much inspired by Neeraj Pandey’s cult hit A Wednesday (2008), which had Naseeruddin Shah's 'stupid common man' take it upon himself to fight the bureaucracy and kill terrorists enjoying their stay in prison.

Kher’s character in One Day, though neither stupid nor common, is on a similar mission. Incidentally, in A Wednesday, Kher had played the police commissioner who does everything he can to stop Shah's common man, despite knowing that his intention is noble. Here, Esha Gupta plays a cop out to stop the judge. As if these similarities weren't enough, the film's title too takes from A Wednesday, talking about 'a day' when justice prevailed.

Now, since it is Esha Gupta in uniform, we get to see the supposedly tough cop double up as a sleazy 'item' girl for a song where she pronounces 'One Day' as 'Vande' in Usha Uthup's voice.

Gupta’s performance is as shoddy as the content of the film. The tacky writing and amateur direction don't help either. The director shows us one abduction and immediately follows it up with a flashback of the victims' bad deeds. This format is repeated quite a few times, making the plot highly predictable.

The screenplay not only lacks flow, but is also full of loopholes in almost all subplots and twists. Here's an example: a couple on honeymoon checks into a suite in a posh hotel. The hotel owner captures their intimate moments through a spy camera and leaks it on the internet. The content spreads like wildfire, to the extent that newspapers write about it with the names and pictures of the couple on the front page! True, journalism isn't doing well nowadays, but this is going a bit too far.

Further, the man and his wife are wrongly accused of leaking the footage themselves to earn money. The hotel management claims that the couple never checked into their hotel and nobody bothers to check the CCTV footage or the hotel register.

One Day has some fine performers like Anupam Kher (his acting institute Actor Prepares is one of the partners of the film, so we are no longer surprised that many of the artistes looked like amateurs), Kumud Mishra, Rajesh Sharma, Zakir Hussain, Zarina Wahab and Murli Sharma, but the poor content doesn’t demand any remarkable performances from them.

Watch the film if you have the time and nothing better to do, but don't be surprised if at the end you quite literally go: Judge Mental Hai Kya?

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