It has taken him a decade since he directed KAL HO NAA HO under the banner of Dharma Productions, but with D DAY Nikhil Advani has finally carved a niche of his own, a niche which is in the form of a fast paced thriller, a genre which has an element of espionage seeped in credibility and reality as also highlighting the role of counter espionage, the key edifice of D DAY. D DAY could be perhaps the first film in the history of Indian cinema which has tried to rationalise the role of counter espionage in a detailed manner and could also be the first film which has approached the subject of Dawood Ibrahim in a totally different manner, delineating the process of bringing him back into India from his hideout in the neighboring country, and it is owing to the imaginative thinking of Nikhil Advani who has approached the flogged horse of Dawood Ibrahim in a rather different manner, shredding it totally from the romanticism associated with Dawood.
It goes without saying that the inspiration for D DAY is the attack of American Seals who decimated Osama Bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan, but it is the only point of connect. Nikhil Advani has developed the narrative on his own in a very imaginative manner. From the time the foursome land in Pakistan, it is a journey which is high on adrenaline, suspense keeps one bound to the seat and with thumping Dama Dam Mast Kalandar as the accompanying music like a staccato firing, one feels really proud about the new generation of cinema makers who are creating their own genre of film lexicon, not in any way having any vestigial association with Hollywood.
The choice of characters in the form of magic four, Irrfan, Huma Sidiqui, Arjun Rampal an Rishi Kapoor has been a brilliant brain wave by Nikhil Advani, especially Irrfan with his smoldering good looks, moist and glistening eyes that, at times, have unfathomable depth of an ocean a face like an opal stone, amazing mixture of vulnerability and defiance, makes him inevitable choice to play Wali, a committed RAW agent, wedded so holistically to the cause to take a regular Paki wife, beget a biological kid from that unlikely wedlock, and paradoxically enough, remain equally true to all, as the tragically violent denouement reveals.
Arjun Rampal as renegade Rudra, however, is a surprise that Nikhil Advani has unleashed on the viewers, for here’s a rakishly handsome, ex-army man, sleeping with sleaze in the flesh-bazaar of Karachi, having for his cover a sensuous, sensitive and scarred prostitute in Shruti Haasan, and yet, all the while keeping his inscrutable insouciance and seething undirected anger in place with great elan. Deft camera work is manifest in the manner in which it has captured the Pakistani ethos-its bazaars, its sleaze streets, its mosques and dargahs, and how interspersing these lovely vignettes, is some sublime music- throaty, soulful and hauntingly melodious.
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Icing on the cake is manner in which Rishi Kapoor has portrayed character of Dawood, the swagger, the attitude the get-up, gait and girth, down to the pink goggles and lazy, dismissive drawl of the character, Kapoor seems to have hit the bulls eye. While the guru Karan Johar deconstructed Rishi Kapoor as a villain in AGNEEPATH, Nikhil Advani, the shishya has added another dimension of performance into oeuvre of Rishi Kapoor by choosing him as his Dawood Ibrahim in D DAY.
Indeed, Rishi Kapoor in his sixties in reveling as devil incarnate, but Nikhil Advani has not been able to deal with Huma Qureshi in a justifiable manner, and may be her character could have been left out. But what is a cinema, if it does not have flaws, what would the critics write about? Nikhil Advani has created a genre of desi-spies and one hopes that more sequels of D DAY would follow henceforth.