D is, in a way, an art director's movie. Language is sparse, while the background score and lighting convey mood. Scenes are framed like paintings, with light and dark often creating tension out of nothing in an environment that we are familiar with. This is apt, for it tells us that violence is never far in this city. It is this subtle message that runs across the movie; a man is pushed off a train and people pretend to not notice; a daytime shoot-out occurs at a bungalow off a road in Juhu.
The movie's director is Vishram Sawant, who did time in the gritty underworld of advertising, where knives and shredders lie easily beside 2b pencils and yellow writing pads (I'm kidding, it's not that bad.). In his version of Bombay there is no agonising over moral dilemmas or some such. You want to shoot? Shoot. Don't want to? Don't. In hindsight, I like this movie even more because it presents Deshu's journey as a set of clear-cut decisions which he knows he alone is responsible for.
There are wonderful moments that help us understand this man who covers his emotions with a straight face and sunglasses. One such instance is when Deshu exercises his power without moving a finger, imagining a policeman who tormented him previously squirming somewhere while wondering when Deshu would pack him off. These throwaway lines and thoughts are what help us form impressions of people. They may not always be accurate, but they are good guides. For example, the first time he smiles is during a conversation with an actress he's protecting. It's a part of him not many others will see.
On opening a few papers this morning, I noticed the reviews were harsh. Perhaps they know better, but I didn't see much wrong with it, and feel that even if this movie's setting is similar to the one in Ab Tak Chappan, Satya, and Company, it adds to our understanding of the different characters who make up the underworld. And even if it doesn't do that for you, why not look at it as an individual piece of work, rather than compare? If there's anything I don't understand, it's the mind of an Indian newspaper movie reviewer.
Postscript: This was on Rediff's movie review: "...Randeep Hooda [Deshu] is star material, as long as he does not shave his stubble."
One big sigh.