Once again, within a short span of time i cant help myself from writing the same prelude which i wrote for movie Lootera that D-DAY is not just a movie but an acutely accomplished work of art helmed by Nikhil Advani who has masterly crafted a great, taut thriller. The biggest compliment for NIKHIL ADVANI is that when i went to watch D-Day, i took a friend along who was very reluctant to go ( Her Viewpoint being it is gonna be full of gory violence n bloodshed like previous gangster flicks) but while coming back she was so impressed that for the first time in our movie viewing history, she was more than keen to watch this intelligent flick for the second time. Reason being we walked in to the cinema to watch a sleek, crisp gangster movie but what we came back with was experience of watching haunting love stories, one between a mysterious Indian intelligence agent and a Pakistani whore, both wounded and scarred for life. She, in ways, that we can see and he in intangible ways. Second, between an intelligence official whose mind is going through a brutal turmoil whether he should still be Allegiant for his nation (Whose officials have already deserted & disowned him publicly) or towards his family consisting of his wife & his son. Third, where-in a female agent has to make harshest decisions & compromises in-spite of being in unblemished love with her fiancee. But pain, at the end of the day is pain and it is what binds together the whore and the ex-army man. But D-Day, has a lot more to showcase and depict with a tone of unfussy, enrapturing elan that invites us into its mindset without using any gimmicky methods of enticement. Though, a deeply patriotic movie, D-Day does not indulges in that often shown flag waving scenes on celluloid. The Indian flag makes only one guest appearance, and that too at the end. God bless Manoj Kumar.
STORY & SCREENPLAY : D-Day narrates a story that will resonate with every Indian.The film is set against the backdrop of some of the most heinous terrorism in India over the past several years.The credit for the story goes to Nikhil Advani, Ritesh Shah and Suresh Nair who have smartly constructed a collage of characters hell bent on a collision course. Though rigorously researched the erudition sits easily, spontaneously and unobtrusively on Advani's narration. The story about India's undercover agents on a mission in Pakistan to nab and extradite India's Most Wanted is told in a tone that favors a detached distance from the proceedings while ensuring we see each character's life in prismatic close-ups. Every character in D-Day, even the dreaded Liturgical Don, named Goldman, is a prisoner of his own lost dreams and aspirations. The raw agents are thrown in our face without elaborate preamble but yet they manage to hold our attention right from the word go without any character sketching with the help of commendable screenplay and excellent technical finesse. The very talented Huma Qureshi as the RAW agent Zoya has her personal life in shambles but we never see her husband and only hear him. It is the brilliant hold and vision of Advani over the screenplay that we feel relieved to only hear her fiancee speak about their distressed relationship in the voice of talented actor Raj Kumar Yadav. In fact every character, visible or invisible, speaks to us in urgent desperate tones. And within 20 minutes of the playing time we are consumed by these doomed lives that seem to have lived on the edge forever and have nowhere to go except the abyss. The film is set against the backdrop of some of the most heinous terrorism in India over the past several years.Unfolding over a period of four days, it tells the riveting story of a group of government agents who enter Pakistan in a bid to capture the man responsible for the acts of terror, a man who has evaded justice for over two decades. The operation to nab India's most wanted man is carried by four undercover agents and is truly absorbing. Wali Khan (Irrfan Khan) is sent to Pakistan to keep an eye on Goldman (Rishi Kapoor). But Wali falls victim to to dilemma of duty Vs family, one that most undercover succumb to. Rudra Pratap Singh (Arjun Rampal) ex personnel of Indian armed forces, Zoya Rehman (Huma Qureshi) who is a RAW explosives expert and Aslam (Akash Dahiya), a pretty thief from Mumbai, are recruited by RAW and infiltrate Pakistan to join Wali and fulfil the mission - to bring Goldman back to India. On the eve of Goldman's son's wedding, the mission that will result in the downfall of the notorious don is carried out, but is it successful ? How brilliantly the climax is tied up by with surprise elements and action sequences makes D-Day an unparalleled production to watch.
STARCAST : Kudos to Mukesh Chabbra (Casting Director) for assembling the rightful mixture of stars and actors as per their character sketches in the screenplay. The best part is that D-Day is crammed with remarkable actors furnishing the anxious proceedings with a riveting life-like force giving impetus to the screenplay. Rishi Kapoor as the Don is like picture-perfect and has looked every inch the character he has portrayed. While conveying the sinister slimy side Rishi also gives a comic interpretation to the rotund goggled perpetrator of mayhem. For sure, this guy is having a blast at this juncture of his career and is entertaining audience to the core. The other actors too are entirely in their element. Arjun Rampal and Shruti Hassan have portrayed their tragic love story in muted mellow muffled shades. Arjun seems to have evolved with every role that he has played in his last flicks and this is perhaps what we expect from a National Award winning actor. Shruti has also managed to shine in her performance.As for Irrfan Khan, his portrayal of a man on a suicidal mission trying to hold on to the memory of his wife and son is so vivid you can just feel n touch his anguish. Huma Qureshi as the third member of of the RAW team is effortlessly appealing and effective apart from being the stunner that she is. Newcomer Sriswara is extremely credible and appealing as Irrfan's wife and newcomer Akaash Dahiya as the fourth RAW team-member is so much on the edge, you want to hold him back from toppling over. Tamil actor Nasser delivers a well measured performance as RAW chief, Ashwini Rao.
TECHNICAL FINESSE : Music for this flick has been composed by the trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy who have once again been triumphant in providing the apt musical score as per the movie's requirement. The song "Alvida" playing in the background (when Arjun watches battered body of Shruti) is definitely one of the best heart rendering compositions.The cinematography by Tushar Kanti Ray uses cluttered garish spaces to create a sense of spiritual emptiness during times of tremendous stress and anxiety. Shot in expertly constructed brothel sets with the crowded colors of lurid sex suggesting the tragedy of lives lived in borrowed beds is something which has been masterly shot. Undoubtedly, editors of the flick Aarif Sheikh & Unni Krishnan need ovation as they have very intelligently edited a complex subject and that too without giving you a chance to blink your eye during the run-time of 154 minutes. The Direction by Nikhil Advani is unblemished in every aspect of filmmaking and the film's affinity to the business of unfinished lives gives a cutting edge to Advani's narration.Filmmakers have made films on Dawood earlier too, but they tended to loose the finesse because they gave importance to glorify the gangster rather than realistic story-telling. But none could come close to the brilliance of Nikhil's subject,vision,treatment and the purpose with which he has created this film. That's where Nikhil scores - by sticking to the theme without any deviations.His interpretation is simple and acceptable rather than being unduly drawn out or lecturing just for the heck for it.
WOW MOMENTS : Watch out for the climax scene where Rishi Kapoor gives a sneering contemptuous speech on the Indian government's inability to control terrorists and terrorism and featuring in reality show BIGG BOSS. The scene where we see the scarred Shruti's torture and death through eyes of Arjun Rampal as though he were present there when it happened, when he was not even there has been helmed and edited with extreme craftsmanship.
Follow me on twitter at https://twitter.com/smgr105