There’s nothing heroic about decorated super cop Manoj Hesi (Jimmy Sheirgill). He’s effete before Shoeb Ali (Sparsh Shrivastav), the lone suicide bomber who’s holding a hall full of school children as hostages. He even nods and lets a teacher take on the bomber without lifting a finger to help her. Despite the many opportunities, Manoj AC can’t overpower Shoeb or the mysterious twisted mind behind the intriguing goings-on.
When the main character of the show, a super cop no less, shows neither smart thinking nor swift action, the narration that leads to the unveiling of the villain had better be taut, gripping and engrossing. That’s where Collar Bomb doesn’t quite make it.
There is intrigue and many issues including child abuse, obsessive parenting and racial profiling are neatly woven into a curious case.
That it’s not the usual terror plot becomes apparent when the bomber’s demands target the parents more than the kids. There’s a bomb ticking away and to deactivate it, Manoj is blackmailed with a video from his past to carry out a series of cruel tasks.
Why the mystery person seeks revenge on Manoj does get explained. And Manoj’s big ‘crime’ which was more accidental than intentional uncovers a common khaki weakness – to want glory at the expense of the truth. There’s a casualness to the cop who shrugs off a killing as, “Teri galti nahin, iski kismet ne aaj ki tareek likhi hogi.’
So Collar Bomb does make quite a few statements but the telling lacks the thriller touch. For instance, with time ticking away, when Manoj asks his junior Sumitra (Asha Negi) to meet him, he goes into a leisurely flashback which takes away the urgency and intensity of the situation. Red herrings like a local politician, angry crowds and the burning of a hotel also sidetrack the intrigue.
Jimmy Sheirgill is a good fit as the cop whose past catches up with him, and as the dad who wants the best for his son Akshay (Naman Jain).
Director Dnyanesh Zoting and writer Nikhil Nair aspire to tell a different story. Never mind where it’s sourced from. But Jimmy’s scenes and the unspooling of the sick mind orchestrating so many gruesome killings, required a smarter narration with sharper, fast-paced twists to keep one truly enthralled.