6 years ago, on 19 July 2013, Nikhil Advani’s crime thriller D-Day was released. It was a conjectural spy drama about a group of Indian intelligence officers nabbing a Don allegedly modelled on Dawood Ibrahim, from Pakistan and bringing him to India by road. Recalling the film and its censored version whereby the Dawood-like figure had to be re-named Nikhil says, “At that point of time we couldn’t be fully truthful, not as truthful as we can be now. But I didn’t resort to subterfuge. I didn’t refer to Pakistan as ‘bagal wala mulk’ or ‘hamara padosi dushman’ etc.”
Speaking of casting Rishi Kapoor as Dawood, Nikhil says, “It was a daring move, considering Rishi Kapoor had a romantic image through his career. But he did play the dark and sinister Rauf Lala in Dharma Productions’ Agneepath. That was my cue for signing him to play the crimelord in D-Day, and boy, was I right in my decision!”
As Dawood…sorry, Iqbal Seth, Rishi Kapoor was an asset to the film. “He brought a childlike quality to the crime lord’s role. It wasn’t the first time that Rishiji had played a negative character. But it was certainly the first time that an international crime lord was played with a mix of hard-core stealth and naïve glee,” says Nikhil.
D-Day was not a remarkable box office success. Does Nikhil feel it came ahead of its times? "Perhaps it was a little before its time. Today when Anubhav Sinha is making films like Mulk and Article 15 and I am ready with Batla House, it does feel as if the time for D-Day is now.”
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