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 modeled 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 all 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 crimelord’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 crimelord was played with a mix of hard-core stealth and naïve glee,” says Nikhil.
“D Day started a new phase in my career as a filmmaker which has now culminated in Batla House. Coincidentally Rishji is all set to start a fresh innings in his life and career and Arjun Rampal who played one of the central characters, became father to a son on July 18. I guess D Day has some kind of relevance to all of us who were part of it,” Nikhil ends happily.
D Day was not a remarkable boxoffice 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.”