There is something about the vigilante thriller genre that always throws up a surprise or two. The core concept of such a film is always exciting because invariably you root for the protagonist. Of course one of the core aspects of this genre is also that the central protagonist is never really all white and carries quite a few grey shades. However, it is considered to be the part of the job and since inherently it is about the good taking on the evil, you look for the results without really worrying about the means.
This is what happens in filmmaker Ashok Nanda’s One Day as well which talks about the justice being eventually delivered ‘one day’. ‘Der aaye par durust aaye’ could well be the underlining theme of the film here as Anupam Kher, a retired judge, goes into a vigilante spree as he takes on the wrongdoers of the society who were let free when sheer ‘kanoon’ was followed. The idea is to bring justice, even if not quite in a ‘kanooni’ way and this is what keeps the narrative engaging.
Some time back Harshvardhan Kapoor had gone into a vigilante mode with Bhavesh Joshi Superhero. As a common man, he got into a rather realistic space with the Vikramaditya Motwane film. This time around Anupam Kher gets into a core Bollywoodish filmy drama mode and torture is his way to lend his own brand of justice.
Other than him, the ones who have good screen time are Kumud Mishra and Esha Gupta. Kumud Mishra is one fine actor who just like Pankaj Tripathi can raise any scene just with his presence and unique dialogue delivery. He does that in One Day as well where his characterisation too is meaty enough to warrant his presence. From De De Pyaar De to Article 15 and now One Day, he is indeed having a good run.
On the other hand Esha Gupta has played a cop earlier too on Chakravyuha. However, that Prakash Jha directed film was more realistic in appeal whereas in One Day, Esha is required to go over the top. Had she played a regular Hindi speaking girl instead of getting to go the Haryanvi zone, her part in the film may have come across as more absorbing.
The film as a whole too absorbs for a good part of it though at places you do realise that a few cinematic liberties have been taken. That was expected as well though as the genre is such, though you do feel that without its song and danc routine the end product may have been even crisper. After all, A Wednesday had managed to do that and that too featured Anupam Kher in there.
In that film, the veteran actor was on the right side of the law as Naseeruddin Shah had turned out to be the vigilante. In case of One Day, he is practically playing both the roles, though in different time frames, and this is what makes his characterisation further interesting. No wonder, he is enjoying his time out there and shines all over again, which by the way is always the bare minimum expectation as well from him.
You can watch One Day for its masala entertainment appeal.