Director: Dnyanesh Zoting
Cast: Jimmy Sheirgill, Asha Negi, Sparsh Srivastav, Rajshri Deshpande, Naman Jain
Once, the master of mystery and murder Alfred Hitchcock famously quipped that a film must be only as long as one can hold one’s bladder. Playing on Disney+ Hotstar, Collar Bomb, true to this, is a mere 86 minutes. Nikhil Nair’s screenplay and Dnyanesh Zoting’s direction packs in quite a lot in this happily short movie, but the road along terrorism, skeleton-in-the cupboard and deception is paved with potholes, sorry loopholes – a bane in Indian cinema writing with the result that a compelling actor like Jimmy Sheirgill appears sadly inconsequential.
Sheirgill is a local cop, Manoj Hesi, in Sanawar, nestled in the Himalayan range with picturesqueness all around. Some of the shots are fascinating, but as we all know a string of picture postcards cannot compensate for bad story telling and a sloppy script.
An ordinary school function where Hesi’s son, Akshay (Naman Jain), studies, turns into madness and mayhem, when a terrorist enters the function hall with a bomb tied around his neck and threatens the children. Hesi is there as well with Akshay, and the terrorist, Ali (Sparsh Srivastav), singles out the police officer and orders him to carry out a series of gruesome stuff – including a murder. Otherwise, Ali says he will detonate the bomb. With his assistant Sumitra (Asha Negi), Hesi follows Ali’s instructions to the T.
All this appears ridiculous, even when we are told that Hesi has a dark past that forces him to act the way he does. And mind you, he is the town’s hero and a decorated officer. All this can crumble if the skeleton tumbles.
Sheirgill is a good actor, and he is just about the only redeeming feature in the entire movie, with Negi taking a consolation prize. She is not bad, and has promise, but come on, we need the characters to be written with conviction. Even Sheirgill could have been much better had Nair worked harder.
The climax has a twist, but yet all these do not add up to make Collar Bomb worth a watch. And what begins with a bang ends in a whimper with the explanation for the terror attack looking downright silly.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is author and movie critic)