‘Ek Tha Tiger’ aspired to be there. ‘Agent Vinod’ could never reach there. ‘The Hero- Love story of a spy’ was never there. After a spate of wannabe spy entertainers, we finally get to see a complete package in D-Day, replete with the right casting (Rishi Kapoor, Irrfan, and Arjun Rampal give a power-packed performance), music (yes it has the mandatory Sufi number!), script (with enough twists and turns to keep you glued to your seats), editing (makes you forget you’re wearing a watch or carrying a smartphone), and direction (manages a tightrope walk between action and emotion with an enviable ease).
Loosely based on a chapter from S. Hussain Zaidi’s book, ‘Dongri to Dubai, the narration is one of the high points of D-Day. While the first half is about the actual action – nabbing the Goldman, a euphemism of Dawood Ibrahim, the second half delves into the minds of the characters, their dilemmas, vulnerabilities, and ‘qurbaanis’ after a mission gone kaput. In fact, the editing and narration of this film is what makes D-Day a winner, right from the opening credits to the fade out.
Irrfan Khan towers other actors and uses his eyes to express vulnerability and a leitmotif-like line, ‘Woh sweater kahan rakha tha meine…’ which speaks volumes on a father’s love for his child. It’s perhaps the experience of playing Ashoke Ganguly in Mira Nair’s ‘Namesake’, which proved handy here.
The song, ‘Alvida’ achieves what ‘Raabta’ couldn’t in the movie, Agent Vinod – capturing the true essence of love and loss amid action and chaos (the comparison is inevitable). Kudos to composers Shankar Ehsaan Loy for bringing mellifluent ghazals back in films with a track like ‘Ek ghadi’ rendered by Rekha Bhardwaj (a perfect follow-up after ‘O Rangrez’ in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag).
The action sequences seem as if you are actually witnessing them taking place, thanks to Tom Struthers, the guy who did action for the Dark Knight and Lara Croft series. The import is worth it, and it shows. The only grouse against D-Day is surely the climax, which seems to be playing to the gallery and a tad naïve, especially the monologue of the Goldman and the last ‘shot’.
Nevertheless, director Nikhil Advani’s D-Day is everything that Vidya Balan meant when she famously quoted, “Entertainment3”, without resorting to mediocrity in the name of the E-word. Worth a watch indeed, if you wish to be entertained, and guess what, you can carry your brains along too.