Raazi: Patriotism sans Jingoism!
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Reviewer’s Thumb Mark
Meghna Gulzar and Bhavani Iyer crafted this film ‘Raazi’ so deftly that its commendable and worth mentioning that the film stands apart from all those commercial Bollywood spy thrillers that had been made with a lot of noise, venom and jingoism. Raazi is least interested to portray any country as an enemy, rather it is all about the importance of safeguarding one’s own country’s security in situations of crisis and war. Raazi, rightly depicts at the end in its credit lines that it is dedicated to all those unsung heroes who are unknown in the history written.
The film is based on the book ‘Calling Sehmat” written by Harinder Sikka. His debut novel is about an Indian Kashmiri Muslim undercover agent operating in Pakistan during the 1971 Indo-Pak War. To keep the main character in anonymity he named her Sehmat Khan in his novel. She married a Pakistani Army officer to provide India with classified information during the 1971 war.
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Sometimes what we have planned for ourselves may not be what we are destined to do. Every person has a purpose to fulfil and when one chooses and realizes the purpose of his/ her own will, then the consequences are also owned by the person for a greater cause. Sehmat Khan, played by Alia Bhatt, may not have ever dreamt in her wildest dream that she will end up as a spy, wife, and daughter-in-law in one of the most influential family who holds key positions in Pakistan’s Military. Called back from her college in Delhi suddenly by her father Hidayat, a businessman with strong connections with the who’s who in Pakistan, she is told that he has a tumour in his lungs and his days are numbered. Saddened by her father’s illness she gets another jolt from him when he says that he is a spy for the Indian intelligence bureau and he is worried about the current state of affairs of his country’s security. Hidayat is a double agent and has gained the confidence of the elite in Pakistan. Hidayat wants his only daughter to take up his role as he did what his father asked him to do. Inspired and proud of her father and grandfather for serving the country’s interest always, she agrees (Raazi) to take up the challenge of becoming a spy and cross the border legally as the wife of Iqbal Syed (Vicky Kaushal) a military officer in Pakistan.
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Alia Bhatt as Sehmat Khan needs to be applauded for her constant attempt to try different and challenging roles, be it in Highway, Udta Punjab, and now Raazi. From the sassy stylish teenager, Shahnaya Singhania in ‘Student of the Year’ to Sehmat Khan in ‘Raazi’ she has stated boldly that she is a promising actor and has much in store for the audience. She very well portrays the challenge of being a daughter in law fitting into the daily domestic chores as well as handling the challenges of transferring the classified information to her handlers in India living amidst a family of high army officials. She believes that "No one comes before the country. Not even yourself”.
Vicky Kaushal as Iqbal Syed is fantastic as a self-restrained, understanding husband yet a staunch Pakistani Military officer. His Deepak in Massan and Iqbal Syed in Raazi shows his mettle as an actor. Unfortunately, his Zubaan and Raman Raghav didn’t fetch him the required attention of the audience but Vicky seems to have a host of films coming up for him that can reiterate that he is indeed a powerful performer.
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Rajit Kapur, Soni Razdan, Shishir Sharma, Asif Zakaria, Ashwath Bhatt are well etched in their roles and leave a lingering impact on the viewers. It is a treat to see both Soni Razdaan and Alia Bhatt together as mother-daughter on reel too. Jaideep Ahlawat is the talk of the town for his role of Khalid Mir, the intelligence trainer for Sehmat Khan. He caught the audience attention for his role in Gangs of Wasseypur and he got noted as Nawab in Raes.
Raazi, as a film is watchable though there are some instances where one feels that the life of a spy has been portrayed too smoothly to execute her plans in a high profile military officer’s family as a wife and daughter-in-law. Meghana Gulzar’s attempt to portray the human side on either side of the border is commendable. What makes Raazi a delight to watch is the temporary relief it delivers you to escape from the jingoism flooding on social media these days. So go for it.
Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 3.25/5
Cast: Alia Bhat (Sehmat Khan), Vicky Kaushal (Iqbal Syed), Rajit Kapur (Hidayat Khan), Soni Razdan (Teji Khan), Shishir Sharma (Brigadier Syed), Jaideep Ahlawat (Khalid Mir), Ashwath Bhatt (Mehboob Syed), Amruta Khanvilkar (Munira),Sanjay Suri (Guest appearance), Kanwaljit Singh (Guest Appearance)
Genre: Spy Thriller
Director: Meghna Gulzar
Producers: Vineet Jain, Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar, Apoorva Mehta
Based on the novel: ‘Calling Sehmat’ by Harinder Sikka
Screenplay: Bhavani Iyer, Meghna Gulzar
Music by: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Cinematography: Jay I Patel
Edited by: Nitin Baid
Production Company: Junglee Pictures, Dharma Productions
Distributor: AA Films
Release Date: 11 May 2018
Duration: 140 Minutes