Dawood Ibrahim is a like a ghost who refuses to go away.Every terrorist act in India must have his name involved as the logistics provider and possible perpetrator.However the act for which he is directly involved, the 1993 serial Mumbai Blasts is a distant memory. It’s never achieved the political significance that 9/11 did.While 9/11 became a pivot of global geopolitics and the killing of Osama Bin Laden a political prize that was pursued across party lines, the capture of Dawood Ibrahim never achieved that significance.The Mumbai terror attacks of 2008 were much more serious, but did not throw up a villain like Bin Laden.And General Kayani is the de facto head of state of Pakistan, so taking him out is unthinkable.
The re-election of Barrack Obama, helped significantly by the slogan, ”General Motors is alive and Bin Laden is dead!” and the release of a brilliant film like Zero Dark Thirty about the hunt for Osama has finally elicited a reaction from Bollywood. Nikihil Advaini’s driver asked him,”If they can do it why can’t we” and the seeds of this film were sown.The result is an action thriller fantasy called D-Day about the extraction of Dawood Ibrahim from Karachi where everyone knows(except me of course) he is hiding under ISI protection.
So why can’t we have some fun with this tantalizing premise. Nikhil Advani does exactly that and boy he delivers a cracker.The film sizzles from its first frame and keeps one rooted to the set.This would have been a top rate film even without the Dawood angle or the fact that it uses Pakistan as its setting.But the use of India’s most wanted man as the antagonist raises the stakes several notches.
The task of taking him out falls on Irrfan Khan,Arjun Rampal, Huma Qureishi and Aakash Daahiya. Irrfan has been undercover in Pakistan for years and has a family there, he is patiently awaiting the phone call, when the plan to take out Dawood will be activated.Arjun Rampal arrives and his hardened heart melts quickly for a Karachi prostitute (Shruti Hassan) which gives reason to stage a couple of very well executed song sequences.All the actors deliver stellar performances including Rajpaal Yadav as he belts out Mast Kalander in the gripping opening sequence.The pacing of the film is taut and the Karachi atmosphere feels authentic. Since this is a revenge fantasy and RAW agents are not likely to fall in love or get attached to their Pakistani families who offer a solid cover, we need to suspend our disbelief on several occasions.
Especially fascinating is Rishi Kapoor as Dawood, his character has been written rather sympathetically, portraying him as a somewhat charming and genial uncle with a sinister manipulative core underneath.He commits acts of terrorism to keep his “shop” running but his heart bleeds for the innocent killed.Not bloody likely but entertaining as hell! Mr Advani does a great job of characterization and paints them in distinct shades which come together in the slightly amusing climax.I loved the climax because it mocks us all in style and gives vent to our frustration with the seeming inaction of our government in tackling terror.If you ask Rahul Gandhi if India will ever carry out such an operation he will reply,” Not happening, boss!”.
Zero Dark Thirty was a masterpiece of filmmaking helped considerably by having a bona fide game-changing international event as its core.It dramatized real events while D-Day fantasizes about something similar Bollywood style.Bollywood directors are called dream merchants, and Nikhil Advani spins a dream from which we wake up with a smile.This film is kind of romantic and way more tasty than Karachi halva.
#And the disclaimer that all the characters etc etc are imaginary etc etc. and don’t sue our ass etc etc is quite funny.If Goldman aka Iqbal is not Dawood then surely Dawood bhai will get offended.You don’t steal from people like Dawood, Nikhil Bhai, especially not their looks and personality.
OK so let’s have fun with some stupid conspiracy theories:
1.The film is an ISI plot to make the Indian Govt. go after Dawood and make a fool of itself.
2.The film was financed by Dawood because he is bored of watching terrible fims like Shootout at Wadala.
3.Nikhil Advani made an action film to prove he is not a softie like Karan Johar.
4.Pakistan Tourism board is getting desperate.
5.Narendra Modi is using this film to polarize his vote bank.
6.Sonia Madam wants Rahul baba aka Pappu to become a little more macho if he has to take on NaMo aka Feku in 2014 so this film will give him josh!
7.Javed Miandad is fed up being Dawoods samdhi.
I clearly had fun watching this one.A highly recommended thrill ride with a sly sense of humour.
# If you enjoyed the behind the scenes look at Pakistan may I recommend the wildly entertaining novel- The Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif. It is a fictional look at the assassination of General Zia ul Huq.