I thought that in the age of Google, filmmakers would be reluctant to flat-out steal someone else’s work. John Day proves me wrong. Without a hint of discomfort, debutant director Ahishor Solomon lifts plot, scenes and even dialogue from the Spanish crime thriller Box 507. And then, he brazenly gives himself a writer credit.
Box 507 is an engaging film about a mild-mannered bank manager who loses his only child in a fire. Years later, he discovers that the fire was no accident. He sets out to topple the high and mighty who caused her death. It’s an enjoyable but far-fetched premise. In Solomon’s hands, the material becomes gross-out violent, cartoonish and even unintentionally funny.
Naseeruddin Shah, with hair and skin coloured a strange brownish-orange, is the manager-turned-vigilante. Randeep Hooda is a psychotic cop, chasing documents that the bank manager has.
Solomon provides the cop with a backstory of sexual abuse, which turned him into a brutal killer who tells his girlfriend: Main is duniya ko kuch nahi dena chahta – na pyar, na maafi, na baccha. Meanwhile the girlfriend, who is an alcoholic, is so desperate for a baby that she stuffs a pillow into her shirt and drunkenly cries – don’t take my baby away.
At one point, a character bites someone’s tongue off. I think it’s supposed to be dark and gritty. It’s just tiresome.
Naseer sleepwalks while Randeep snarls, growls and takes long, angry drags of cigarettes. Taking a cue from Solomon, I stole a line from the late, great American critic Gene Siskel and asked myself: Is this film more interesting than a documentary of the same actors having lunch. The answer is no.