Movie Review : D-Day (2013)

D Day - DVD (Hindi Movie / Bollywood Film / Indian Cinema) 2013Rating : 4.5/5
Genre : Thriller
Year : 2013
Running Time : 2 hours 33 minutes
Director : Nikhil Advani
Cast : Irrfan Khan, Arjun Rampal, Rishi Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, Nasser, Shruti Haasan, Aakash Dahiya
Kid Rating : PG-15

Well-done Hindi spy-films are rare. If they appear, like Saif Ali Khan’s “Agent Vinod” and Salman Khan’s “Ek tha Tiger” they are cliché-ridden and suffer from Bond hang-overs. D-Day is a breath of fresh air for this genre, because it is a well-scripted, tight thriller which creates brave, intelligent spy-agents who are also uniquely desi. Nikhil Advani, the director of frothy fare like Patiala House and Kal Ho Na Ho, surprisingly delivers the goods with this very accomplished thriller.

Wali Khan (Irfan Khan) is a sleeper RAW agent situated in Pakistan, waiting his chance to nab wanted criminal Iqbal “Goldman” Seth (modeled on Dawood Ibrahim). When he gets news that Goldman will be attending the wedding of his own son, despite ISI pressures to keep him away, he communicates this to Indian intelligence, and soon three more RAW agents Rudra Pratap Singh(Arjun Rampal), Zoya (Huma Qureishi) and Aslam (Aakash Dahiya) are sent into the country.

The four hash out details to take Goldman alive on D-Day, but Goldman is a wily enemy and when things start to go wrong, they struggle to make the best of a bad situation . . .

D-Day is brilliantly plotted. It develops as an espionage thriller with a strong emotive component. The drama ensues from the emphasis on the toll this will take on the agents’ personal lives. We know that Wali Khan in Pakistan for 9 years as a mild-mannered barber, has sprouted roots, marrying and even having a son. Zoya has a lover in England, and has come on this mission against his will. Rudra has a murky past and has holed up in Karachi in a brothel with beautiful prostitute Pooja (Shruti Haasan). Aslam, a small-time criminal in India, is the weakest link in this chain.

The fast pace of the film is complemented by sound characterization and impressive performances all around. The four agents are matter-of-fact and capable. Their interactions are spare and to-the-point. They behave like adults with none of the tom-foolery/gaana-bajana which hero-heroines in ordinary Hindi films are so adept at. We expect nothing less than impeccable acting from Irrfan Khan and Huma Qureishi, but even (artistically challenged) Arjun Rampal does well as taciturn, secretive Rudra. Shruti Haasan has a small role as Pooja, but manages to light up the screen with her hopeful wistfulness. Rishi Kapoor, handed several cheesy dialogs, makes the best of it as Goldman, his seeming geniality, corpulent frame and rose- colored glasses subtly menacing. Nasser is soon-to-retire RAW chief Ashwini Rao, treading the fine line between overt political correctness and covert intelligence operations. K. K. Raina is the Prime Minister, who we see rushing to report to “Madam”.

Nikhil Advani does a bang-up job of juxtaposing pulse-pounding thrilling moments with delicate poignant ones, the most stupendous of those being the gut-wrenching picturization of the song Alvida (see below). Wali Khan’s attachment to his family conflicts with his duty as a RAW agent and Irfan movingly portrays a father’s warring emotions. Hard-faced, stoic Rudra finds himself moved by Pooja’s scarred face. Zoya faces inner turmoil when her job demands more of her personal integrity than she is willing to sacrifice. Her character remains one-of-a-kind for Hindi films, because she is the rarest of the rare, a female espionage agent with real guts and gumption. When push comes to shove, she doesn’t hide behind the excuse of delicate get-me-my-smelling-salts female sensibilities, but holds her own among her male comrades.

I couldn’t see much wrong with this film; D-day seems to have it all. A must-watch, this is so far the best movie of 2013.

P.S. : If ever there’s an Indian film series on a desi Bond-like agent, Arjun Rampal would be the clear choice for the role :-) .

Kid-wise : This film has been given a U/A certificate, but D-Day is probably only suited to kids 15 and older. It has several adult situations of a violent/sexual nature, besides a very adult-oriented theme, so caution is advised for younger children.

This entry was posted in 2013, action, bollywood, drama, outstanding, rating-PG15, recommended, spy movie, suspense, thriller. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Movie Review : D-Day (2013)

  1. Sneha Arora says:

    Really awesome movie.I enjoyed this movie.Arjun has done good job.Really nice movie.

  2. nimmie says:

    i agreed with your review 100%. this movie had a tight script and was superbly acted. particularly impressed with Arjun Rampal too.
    Keep up the good work

  3. This movie deserved a lot more praise than it got.. i loved the acting.. it’s only of recent that i started watching Indian films (am not indian…. just work here now).. i usually stay away from the action ones coz they usually.. uhmm.. suck
    to my surprise.. this one was pretty awesome.. and i got to know about it from your reviews. I have watched a couple of movies that you reviewed as good, very good and one excellent and I haven’t been disappointed … :)

    • amodini says:

      Thanks for the complement Nabila. And welcome to my blog! I hope you keep reading and finding many more good movies to watch.

  4. Watched this movie on a whim. On a lazy Saturday afternoon while browsing through the Netflix queue I came across D-Day and decided I’ll give it a shot. Didn’t read any reviews before watching it. To say that I was moved would be an understatement. It has been too long since a Bollywood movie has had the kind of visceral reaction that D-Day evoked in me.

    For the first time since Sholay I found characters that were not laughing like idiots. For the first time the main characters don’t automatically transport themselves to Switzerland for no reason. This is a grown up movie about grown up realities. I’m watching the songs on Youtube and am close to coming unglued.

    “Ek ghadi aur …” is haunting to say the least. I lose it every time Ms. Bharadwaj sings “…tere lab pe mera hone ki nishan baaki hai…”

    Alvida makes my pulse race. Arjun killed it. The tight control he has over his fury is fascinating. His sorry is deep. No histrionics because nothing can compare to him reliving what his love went through. He internalizes it. As a viewer, you know right then and there that Chandan’s character is going to meet with a brutal end.

    I could go on, but you get the point. This was one of the (of not *the*) best movies I have ever seen in my lifetime. So when I saw your review it made my day :)

    • amodini says:

      Aneesh, Thanks for your comment. This was my #1 film for 2013 – am glad you liked it too. Luckily for us, the viewers, there are a bunch of good Hindi movies on Netflix, so I hope you watch them too.

  5. Pingback: Movie Preview : Katti Batti (releases 18th September 2015) | Amodini's Movie Reviews

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