Nikhil Advani’s D-Day, which released this week, is a rare film. Firstpost.com has run it down. I don’t blame them. They are right when they claim that D-Day is a charade if you were privy to how the agency functions in tandem with the central government and the bureaucracy.
But look at this way, R&AW, has been a topic of much speculation for every civilian in India. There is hardly any information about the agency available in the public domain. The only time we get to hear about the agency is when a new director is ushered in.
This lack of public knowledge is probably the reason why covert intelligence was a subject that the Hindi film industry rarely delved into. We should not run down honest efforts like D-Day. Our expectations are high because of our exposure to global cinema.
The premise of D-Day revolves around an individual, most Indians are aware of. There are references made to the individual that will make you smirk, but that is where the similarity ends.
It is a completely fictional account about the life of India’s ‘Most Wanted man’ and the attempts made at bringing him to justice.
The truth is far from what has been shown in the film. Yet, most of us watch films to get away from the truth for a couple of hours.
The acting is controlled. This isn’t expected when three powerhouse actors like Irrfan, Arjun Rampal and Huma Qureshi are put in the same frame. They eventually step on each other’s toes.
Advani fails to paint a clear picture of any of his leading characters. Perhaps, he intended it to be this way.
As a viewer, I would have liked to know the origin of the members of an agency strike team. It would have made for an interesting five minutes of screen time.
From what I have been reading about the movie, Rampal plays a MARCOS(Marine Commandos) officer, whose history with India’s most elite military unit is unclear. It is hinted that he has been thrown out of the military because of his temperament. Huma Qureshi, dons the garb of an immigration official, who is in fact an agency explosives expert.
She looks pretty as always, and is very graceful in her portrayal of a character so intriguing. Irrfan plays an undercover agent who has been planted on Pakistani soil for nine years. I love Irrfan as an actor, but somehow he has become repetitive in his dialogue delivery.
Rishi Kapoor is magnificent in his role. Lately, he has been playing villainous roles with rare elan. And once again he proves that he is a wonderful actor. He does ham at places, but you can ignore that seeing his stupendous performance as a most-wanted villain.
The movie isn’t action packed. Most intelligent spy-movies are not. However, it is technically sound. D-Day is reminiscent of Munich but is nowhere as good as it.
Advani screws up in the last few minutes that are dedicated to speeches made by characters and an event that India can only dream about.
When asked about the movie’s soundtrack, Advani had expressed hope of it catching public fancy post the film’s release. There is a chance that it might.
Films like Mukhbiir and Chamku gave a glimpse into the world of Indian intelligence, but failed to make a significant impact. The scripts were strong but the Indian audience still preferred Western spy-thrillers, which were technically much superior to whatever was being made in India. Then came Ek Tha Tiger. Even with its borrowed action sequences, it did do the job of bring on screen a subject that the average Indian audience had rarely seen.
A few days back, Amitabh Bachchan, while talking to the media, mentioned that this was a very interesting phase for Hindi cinema. He wasn’t wrong. We have always had excellent films coming out every year.
The problem was that such films were solitary in nature. Diversity, was something that some of our leading film-makers rejected completely.
So, you had a deluge of South-remakes that astonishingly made a lot of money, but left a bad taste in the mouth of the viewers. Having been put through such bad experiences, films like Gangs of Wasseypur, Ek Tha Tiger and more recently Aashiqui 2 offer a much needed relief. Finally, we have films that refuse to stick to stereotypes.
It is a relief to see how R&AW is being treated by Indian film makers. It is true that what they show on screen is a joke compared to what must be going on. But, this is a beginning. The quality is only going to get better with time.
For those of you who are waiting for movies centered around the R&AW, watch out for Madras Café. It is directed by Shoojit Sircar and the trailer looks promising.
Don’t miss watching D-Day! It is a milestone for Hindi spy-movies.