What is the story about?
Manali SHO Manoj Hesi travels to the prestigious St. George's School in Sanawar with his son Akshay, who will join the school shortly. Manoj is the Chief Guest at a prayer meet for a former student who passed away years ago. As the programme goes on, a young boy, Shoeb, storms into the school with a collar bomb strapped to him. He orders Manoj to folow instructions and carry out a certain task every hour, which will give Shoeb one of the codes to deactivate the bomb. As Manoj runs around Sanawar trying to complete each task, with the police in hot pursuit, he and ASI Sumitra Joshi try to investigate the real reason behind this attack.
Everyone's past eventually catches up with them. At the same time, it is also true that most of us are prone to make assumptions about others based on our first impressions. This idea lies at the heart of most conflicts, and it is an idea Dnyanesh Zoting plays arounds with masterfully in his film Collar Bomb. Zoting, in collaboration with writer Nikhil Nair, utilizes the space of a posh English-medium residential school--considered the ticket for a better life by most parents--as the site for his twisted hostage thriller. Over the span of several hours, however, it is the circus and cacophony unfolding outside the school compound that becomes more important than the lives trapped inside. The idea that people are ready to jump in and outrage about someone on the basis of their appearance, religion or even class becomes the grounding idea around which Collar Bomb revolves. Zoting and Nair craft a relentless screenplay that never eases the tension, and there isn't a moment in the 87-minute runtime where the narrative pace lags. This is a solid, crisp thriller about people and what their insecurities make them do.
Jimmy Shergill is remarkably assured as the unflappable Manoj Hesi, who realizes he must pay a price for his past. Asha Negi is terrific as the rookie ASI Sumitra Joshi, who quickly learns about the depths of human nature over the course of a single day. Rajshri Deshpande is decent as Rita, the ayah of the school. Sparsh Shrivastav is good as the terrifed "militant" Shoeb. Naman Jain makes an impression as Akshay, Manoj's son. While Ajit Singh Palawat is all right as Ratan Negi, Manoj's ex-colleague, Ajay Ashok Purkar lends grit to his portrayal of Commander Bhaskar Chandra. The rest of the cast is decent.
Music & Other Departments
Anshuman Mukherjee's background score lends urgency to the proceedings. Jitan Harmit Singh's cinematography is impressive, with several panoramic shots of Sanawar. Tariq Umar Khan's production design is all right.
The sequence in the market where Sumitra rescues a shop-owner from an angry mob, and the sequence with Manoj in the Fernandes household, are well-done.
No drawbacks as such. However, certain characters such as Ratan Negi and Akshay are slightly underwritten.
Did I enjoy it?
Yes. It is engrossing.
Do I recommend it?
Yes. This is a solid thriller that will leave you engrossed.