‘Dry Day’: Spirited Performance in Quirky Tale

By Dhaval Roy

Story: The film is about a no-gooder alcoholic from a village who decides to fast until death to get alcohol banned when his wife vows to abort their baby. He takes on some influential people during his protest while struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Will he succeed in his endeavor?

Review: The movie starts as a comedy set in a small town called Jagodhar, where a politician Dauji’s (Annu Kapoor) henchman, Gannu (Jitendra Kumar) vows to fast until death to ban alcohol. But here’s the problem – he is himself an alcoholic, and he publicly announces this when he is hungover. The drama unfolds when his protest gains steam and media attention, and he becomes a messiah for the local women who are fed up with their husbands’ alcoholism. The story is about the hurdles he faces, primarily dealing with withdrawal symptoms and resisting taking to the bottle again. He must also contend with Dauji, who owns a local thheka, and his followers Balwant (Shrikant Verma) and Satto (Sunil Palwal) as they try to bring Gannu down.

Written and directed by Saurabh Shukla, the film’s first half deals with Gannu trying to build an image to win the election as a local corporator. His drunken shenanigans and half-witted plans with his stooges, Chainta (Abhishek Srivastava), Kunne (Aditya Sinha), Maddi (Saurabh Nayyar), and Jagat (Padmesh Krishna Tiwari), are entertaining. However, the story and plot take a while to find a firm footing.

Although the narrative deals with alcoholism, it’s understated as a problem, which makes sequences seem abrupt and unconvincing as the story progresses. The narrative has too many tracks and occasionally relies upon tropes and cliches, especially in the climax.

Shukla handles the directorial duties well and mellifluously transforms the film’s tonality from comic to serious. Cinematographer Adri Thakur gets the small-town vibe perfectly and captures it stunningly in top and wide angles.

Jitendra Kumar delivers a strong performance and convinces as both a lout in the first half and a changed man in the second. He is especially good in the scenes where he tries to mend his ways but is unsuccessful owing to his faults and bad habits. Shriya Pilgaonkar, as his wife, Nirmala, performs commendably. The duo has easy on-screen chemistry as husband and wife. Annu Kapoor stands out as the politician, and gets the pretence of being a supportive and loving senior bang-on. Shrikant Verma deserves mention as the cunning liquor shop owner.

While entertaining in parts, the movie could have been more engaging. Nevertheless, it’s a decent one-time watch for the small-town world that’s created and for its quirky feel. — Times of India