Zero Dark Thirty anyone? That brilliant film on Osama’s capture won millions of hearts and fans worldwide. This one sets about on a similar mission. Not to win several hearts. But to capture a wanted terrorist. The terrorist in question is hands down the best Dawood portrayal we have had ever. I say this not because of Rishi Kapoor’s excellent portrayal of the D Man but because in this film Dawood is shown probably the way we imagine him. An enigma of sorts. More on that later, D- Day as a film comes across as a fine mix of fact and fiction which has been blended superbly keeping the tastes of aam junta in mind who expect our thrillers to be high on action and energy.
This film will not break any records, neither will it set the box office on fire. But like wine, this will grow on your mind. It would take rapt attention on your part to digest this film as it refuses to spoon-feed the viewer. Nikhil Advani delivers his best film since Kal Ho Naa Ho, and that was 10 years back. Meanwhile, he stooped down to distasteful levels and served us crass films like Chandni Chowk to China and overlong love story tripe like Salaam-e-Ishq. But with this film he returns and how.
Getting hold of a fabulous star-cast is one thing and extracting superlative performances out of them is purely something else. Advani succeeds on both counts and the result is a freshly baked crime thriller.
Cutting to the chase, the story is about bringing Goldman (Rishi Kapoor) back to India alive. When the prime minister ( a fine spoof of Manmohan Singh with references of Sonia Gandhi thrown in for good measure) refuses to permit a mission to officially bring Goldman back alive, the director of R & AW Nasseer (a bit out of form here) enlists the services of a an army officer, an explosives expert and a criminal who would be pardoned incase he returns successful. The troika sets off for Pakistan where they are joined by another R & AW employee who has been waiting forever (read 9 years) for that opportune moment to catch Goldman alive. All 4 of them come together and almost kidnap Goldman before it goes horribly wrong. How the hunters become the hunted and how do they capture Goldman again forms the rest of the story leading to a brilliant climax.
The performances are all top notch but special mention should be made for Arjun Rampal who is terrific as Major Rudra Pratap Singh. Such searing intensity from the man who many dubbed as a wooden actor. This easily is his best performance.
Irfan Khan is uniformly brilliant and lights up the screen with his eyes and underplays his character beautifully. It is so good to see him getting roles which he can sink his teeth into and deliver marvelous results.
Huma Querishi left me surprised. She is in top form here after Gangs and delivers a knockout performance as the woman among the men. She has all the makings of a superlative actress and with time, she will go places.
Rishi Kapoor is good as usual, but somehow his character takes over and the credit lies in the fact that we see Goldman and not Rishi Kapoor. The man who has gone on a reinvention spree adds another gem to his crown with this performance.
The new actress Shriswara who plays Irfan’s wife is a dynamite of talent and her casting is so apt that not for once does her performance come across as an act. She is unbelievably natural and I would like to see her in more films for sure.
And here I come to the film’s most dazzlying performance. That of Shruti Haasan. She is the soul of the film and quite simply adds gravitas to the story. In a relatively smaller role, she burns up the screen and I must see she has truly arrived and her performance in ‘3’ wasn’t just a one off. In-fact her act in D Day makes me want to watch her more and I wouldn’t be surprised if I land up at a theater to watch the idiotic looking Ramaiyya Vastavaiyya only for her.
The technical crew is fantastic with Tushar Kanti Ray leading the charge on the cinematography front. One of the youngest cinematographers on the block, his snake like camera brings Karachi alive ( shot in Ahmedabad). The music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is terrific with respect to the film. For the second week in succession, I have found their soundtrack more groovy after I have watched the film ( last being Bhaag Milkha Bhaag). The song Alvida is a knockout, especially the way it is pictured. The writers (Niranjan Iyengar and Advani being the prominent ones) deserve kudos here for not getting carried away with the subject in hand and sticking to the most important factor- i.e delivering an entertaining film.
So, for me D-Day is a film which I never really had much hopes on, but what transpired in those two and half hours left me completely transfixed. Extremely topical and extremely well written, this one deserves a watch.
My Rating- 3.5/5