After much deliberation, Bollywood pulls off a sensational espionage film. Nikhil Advani, who has been hitting all the right notes off late, delivers a thoroughly professional and grim thriller which will find takers in the thinking masses. The film centers on a subject which has been a topic of discussion at varied levels. Ever since the US gunned down Laden in Pakistan, discussions and arguments have erupted over what could be the reason for India to not do what the US did so bluntly. Why can’t we bring back or at least exterminate the man who has planned a dozen terrorist attacks on our soil. Deriving its steam from such a delicate and controversial subject, D-Day steers clear of any hot spots and doesn’t even name its antagonist as you know who.
Dwelling too much on the plot would spoil the fun for all those who have not seen this movie yet and hence I will stick to the official Yash Raj films synopsis. 9 years ago Wali Khan (Irrfan Khan) was sent into Karachi by the Chief of RAW Ashwini Rao (Nasser) to report the activities of The Most Wanted Man in India referred to as Goldman. 9 days ago Rudra Pratap Singh (Arjun Rampal) Indian Armed Forces, MARCOS unit, Zoya Rehman (Huma Qureshi) RAW Explosives expert, and Aslam, a murderer from the streets of Mumbai recruited by RAW, infiltrated Pakistan to join Wali Khan and carry out the mission to bring back Goldman to India. The man who was going to break all ISI protocol and security and attend his own son’s wedding. The team sent in to bring him, did the unthinkable – they carried out the most daring operation and almost got away with it. Almost because, something went horribly wrong.
The film is unrelenting from start to finish. It’s impossible to take your attention away from the screen; such is the power of the screenplay. The narrative doesn’t follow a strictly linear path and moves back and forth in time to make the viewers think. By the time we reach the interval, the story is poised to travel either upward or hit a road block like so many other Bollywood offerings this year, which were reduced to unsatisfactory achievements by the second half jinx. Thankfully for once we see a film which has a power packed first half and an equally grueling second half. The narrative moves forward at a breakneck speed with no indications on how it was going to end. The success of a thriller is measured by its ability to thrill and this is where D-Day scores. The viewer is kept guessing all the way through. With numerous motifs, indications and references to men and situations that we are well aware off even though they are not named, the story takes a very personal approach which will grab the attention of the viewers.
The action, though limited is one of the most realistic that you will see in Bollywood. The sequences are not choreographed and what it does is gels seamlessly with the narrative making the moments of action more worthwhile, believable and powerful. Watch out for the action sequence at the border. The action departments deserve a special mention for their astounding achievement. There are just about three songs in the film and the narrative moves ahead in the course of the three songs which make them worthwhile. “Alvida” worked wonders for as. Arjun Rampal walking through a crime scene visualizing the plight of one of his dear lost one with the track playing in the background creates a haunting effect which is difficult to ignore.
With every film, Rishi Kapoor seems to be redefining himself. D-Day is no exception. Here is a man who has shrug off all reserves and is practically busking in his own glory. He brings to life the character of Goldman with such aplomb that the audience can’t help but feel that the Don from Dongri must age into something like what Mr. Kapoor was portraying. Arjun Rampal has been grabbing attention for his performances off late and D-Day will easily rank as his best performance till date. Rudra’s nomadic existence, his twitched facial muscles and his insufferable pain at the loss of the only relation he holds dear is shattering to watch and Rampal leaves no stone unturned to bring them to the viewer in its entirety. Irrfan’s Wali is the most volatile of the characters. He plays a RAW agent who also happens to be a father and a husband of citizens of the same country that he is spying on. He is torn between the love for his family and his duty towards his country. No one could have brought such a natural duality to the role of Wali than Irrfan. Watch out for the sequence where he listens to Goldman as he tries to mold him to his own advantage. Huma Qureshi is apt in a role which thankfully doesn’t bank on her charm but her acting skills. Shruti Hassan in a brief but poignant role is electrifying. Her eyes speak volume and her chemistry with Arjun Rampal is so potent that the audience actually feels their emotions. She knows she is doomed to a brothel and yet there is a strange glimmer of hope in her poise every time she looks in the eyes of Rudra. Nasser is wonderful as always.
Overall, D-day is by far one of the best films of the year so far. It has everything working in its favor. But one must remember that it is not one of those run of the mill thrillers. It’s an intricately woven human drama which will need the viewer’s attention to be enjoyed fully. One has to let the movie grow on you for its artistry to reveal itself. It deserves more than one view and that in itself is no meager achievement. A wonderfully crafted film which should not be missed at any cost.