In his retirement speech, Judge Tyagi (a bored Anupam Kher) ponders, “Does the court provide justice for one and all?”
It made me think of a similar monologue by the veteran actor towards the end of the 2008 film, A Wednesday.
While Naseeruddin Shah was the ‘One person fighting against the system’ in the Neeraj Pandey-directorial, it is Anupam himself who turns into Ranchi’s Batman in One Day: Justice Delivered.
Towards the end of his career, Anupam’s Tyagi decides to punish the criminals who went scot-free from his courtrooms thanks to loopholes in the legal system.
Though I could rally behind the premise of One Day: Justice Delivered, the Ashok Nanda directorial lacks the finesse to shoulder this wafer-thin plot, which crumbles even further due to some amateurish staging.
The high ground taken by Tyagi after his retirement doesn’t quite ring fair either, especially since his personal moral compass starts to work only after being humiliated for being a ‘bikaao’ judge.
Zarina Wahab, as the mother of a hapless youth who is dead due to medical negligence, slaps the living daylights out of Anupam for keeping these medicos out of jail.
In another case, Rajesh Sharma as Pankaj Singh uses a hidden camera to capture the intimate moments of a couple on honeymoon and leaks it, which ultimately results in the death of the woman in the video.
Despite knowing Pankaj was a crook, Tyagi had to let Pankaj off the hook because of lack of evidence. However, he has no qualms inviting the doctors and even Pankaj to his daughter’s wedding.
If the writing lets One Day: Justice Delivered down, the inconsistent performances fail to keep the film afloat.
Anupam blows hot and cold even as Kumud Mishra tries to enliven proceedings with his turn as the workhorse cop Sharma.
Esha Gupta channels her inner Chandramukhi Chautala (the effervescent cop from Hindi serial, FIR) to deliver a decent performance as Crime Branch officer Laxmi Rathi with a heavy Haryanvi accent, which disappears as often as special dance numbers appear in this film.
The film is reminiscent of Ramana (Gabbar is Back) when Justice Tyagi gets help from unlikely allies in his mission to right the wrongs that occurred in his courtroom.
He uses some ingenious methods to wring out confessions from his captives, and I was looking for Garuda Puranam or a similar book in Tyagi’s study.
But due to the insipid writing, there is no palpable tension in the film, which is essentially a cat-and-mouse game between the police and Tyagi.
The battle of wits is restricted to Tyagi and Laxmi, and it doesn’t help that none of the criminals are even remotely smart.
Despite some big names in the supporting cast, the actors don’t even get a scene each to establish their impressive acting credentials.
But that’s the least of the worries in this film that ends on the note of a possible sequel. Considering the fact that Justice Tyagi had a long career, it is clear that there might be a number of cases where his hands were tied by the legal system of the country. Well... Justice Tyagi could be back, but in my opinion, this Batman is surely not the hero Ranchi needs nor deserves.
|Director: Ashok Nanda
Cast: Anupam Kher, Kumud Mishra, Esha Gupta