Movie Review: D-day
Director: Nikhil Advani
Actors: Rishi Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Irrfan Khan, Huma Qureshi, Aakash Dahiya, Shruti Hassan, Chandan Sanyal Roy, Nassar, KK Raina, Sandeep Kulkarni
I will be honest. A spy thriller coming from a director whose previous attempts at movie making wavered from romance to family dramas is surprising. To top that, it apparently revolves around the most dreaded gangster and India’s ultimate enemy, Dawood Ibrahim. The subject, actors and subsequent promotions… all have valid claims to attract crowds. But a film’s real test is when it sustains the interest and garners appreciation. Nikhil Advani’s latest offering D-Day does exactly that!
The very beginning intrigues you. You see a wedding taking place and some unusual characters trying to make sure they get the groom’s father, dreaded gangster and India’s most wanted Iqbal or Goldman (Rishi Kapoor), who lives a life of luxury and style in Pakistan. The story goes into flashback of how the plan is hatched by Ashwini Rao (Nassar) of Indian intelligence agency RAW, involving four secret agents. The most important one is Wali Khan (Irrfan Khan) who is staying in Pakistan to gather information and even has a family there. Other members of the crew involve ex-army captain Rudra Pratap (Arjun Rampal) and Zoya (Huma Qureshi), an RAW explosives expert. The fourth unlikely member is Aslam (Aakash Dahiya), a small-time crook who wants freedom via espionage. Together, they almost get their man in “Operation Goldman”, except for a small mistake that changes the whole scene.
The movie is gripping since the get-go. Yes, it is an Indian espionage drama but when you compare it to recent espionage dramas that were released, it is very believable. The film also revolves around the lives of RAW agents which is shadowy life full of danger. The script and screenplay is full of twists and turns and almost all characters are quite well-etched. While other characters have been given a background, you do not understand Rudra’s background and why he is the way he is. Dialogues support the script fairly well.
If there is one area where the film says it has a trump card, it has to be the acting department. You have to give it to Rishi Kapoor for being a convincing Goldman AKA ‘Dawood’. His Goldman is menacing, manipulative, scheming, and larger than life. He knows that he is both a burden to the Pakistani government and their ‘Hukkum ka Ikka’. But when he realises his position is in danger, he makes sure he can escape. The next winner here is Irrfan Khan who plays Wali Khan, a character who has spent nine years of his life in Pakistan trying to get every detail for the covert operation. Irrfan’s eyes are the mirror to the man that is Wali Khan, caught between familial duties and duty towards the country. Huma’s character is intelligent but has to deal with family issues over her work, while Aakash’s Aslam is a coward but with little intelligence which helps him redeems himself in an interesting way. Nassar is a convincing Ashwini Rao, the RAW chief and is brains behind the covert operation. A special mention has to be made of Chandan Roy Sanyal who plays Goldman’s Bhanja, (and that’s also his name in the movie) a complete psycho and womaniser. Roy manages to scare you out of your wits. Shruti Hassan as the prostitute Suraiya who becomes Rudra’s weakness has a small but effective presence. By the way, Mr Advani (not Lal Krishna but the director Nikhil. Had to clarify it before this becomes a political topic!) had tried to negate the fact that the base for Goldman’s character is Dawood, saying it was a mix of various villainous characters. In that case, one is left asking why Goldman is shown spouting Marathi dialogues in the movie (FYI, Dawood is a Konkani Muslim from Ratnagiri)?
What’s an espionage drama without good piece of action? D-Day wins in this section, hands down. While the music is good, the picturisation of two songs is striking. The first is the semi-classical song Ek Ghadi where you see a tender connection happening between Rudra and Suraiya. The second is Alvida where Suraiya gets brutally murdered by Bhanja and the episode is recreated before Rudra’s eyes. Cinematography and editing are a great support to the film’s pace.
We keep the best for the last – the director Nikhil Advani himself. Kal Ho Na Ho sparked interest in Advani but forgettable films like Salaam-E-Ishq, Chandni Chowk to China and Patiala House made everyone dismiss him as just a one-hit wonder. However, he finally hits bull’s eye with D-Day to get back the appreciation he garnered in his first movie. Advani manages to give the direction which the film demands. The only trouble with the film is the climax which somehow seems unconvincing.
I had gone for a late night show with literally droopy eyes. But D-Day did manage to keep me awake and engaged. Not one soul was heard passing silly comments (neither was I btw). Everyone was busy watching the episode unfold before them. That in itself in commendable. Bravo to the makers!
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