Reader Rating (Rate Here): [Total: 5 Average: 3/5]
Directed By: Meghna Gulzar
Cast: Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Jaideep Ahlawat, Shishir Sharma, Rajit Kapur, Soni Razdan
Raazi is an Indian spy thriller set during the peak of 1971 Indo-Pak war. It’s an adaptation of Harinder Sikka’s novel “Calling Sehmat” which is based on the real life of a spy whose crucial intel won India the 1971 war.
The year is 1971 and India is trying to free East Pakistan from West. Sehmat (Alia Bhatt), daughter of Hidayat Ali (Rajit Kapur) is studying in Delhi University. Her cancer stricken father suddenly calls her back to Kashmir. All throughout his life he has spied for India by feigning friendship with Brigadier Syed (Shishir Sharma) of Pakistani Army. He orders her to take up the mantle after him and arranges for her marriage with the brigadier’s son Iqbal Syed (Vicky Kaushal). Sehmat trains under Khalid Mir (Jaideep Ahlawat) who teaches her the tricks of the trade. How she ingratiates herself into the family and spies for India forms the rest of the story.
Raazi explores the emotional turmoil a spy has to go through while on the job. It has a very gripping script and kudos to Meghna Gulzar for the tense narrative. Since its a spy movie, a lot of dialogues have code words. Since we don’t understand what the code word means, it builds up the excitement and tension till the code gets executed and hence keeps the audience involved.
Sehmat is in a job which requires her to grow up quickly. Khalid tells Sehmat that there is no room for error: she needs to remain calm and focused or her body would be found on the street. It requires her to memorize stuff and not leave any paper trail. Also, it requires an unflinching love for the country- she has to murder innocents and even loved ones without a moment’s hesitation.
The only flaw in the whole movie is Alia Bhat, though its no fault of hers. She is a wonderful actor and has acted very well. But the problem lies with the makers for defining such a role. There are too many needless emotions, she cries a lot. That’s her go to emotion for everything: a mistake- she cries, a regret- she cries. Her character makes Raazi needlessly melodramatic. I do understand that Meghna wanted to show that spies also have emotions but they are supposed to be adept in keeping it under check. Besides, there is a range of expressions that can portray all that she is going through apart from crying. It created unnecessary breaks in the otherwise gripping tale. Her last act bit is outstanding but its too little and too late.
There are things which are good like the love story between Sehmat and Iqbal. It is slow and steady and time is given by both for it to blossom. Meghna and Bhavani Iyer have written a beautiful character called Iqbal. Iqbal truly loves Sehmat, he gives her respect even though she is an Indian and he is a military officer in the Pakistan army. He never forces Sehmat for anything and gives her, her space. Vicky Kaushal is so good as a lovable husband that you feel for him in the end. Vicky is growing as an actor in every movie. The lack of ultra- patriotic and extreme nationalistic diatribes is another commendable thing. Both sides of the border have a restrained and dignified dialogues.
Equal to Vicky is Jaideep Ahlawat in his stern avatar as the spymaster. He is patriotic and though he cares about Sehmat he will do whatever it takes for the country. Soni Razdan as Sehmat’s mother has a brief but a powerful role.
A movie like Raazi needs to made and seen. Its not just the soldiers but also people like Sehmat who have made this country safe. They don’t get a mention or any medal or probably they get but we don’t know. Raazi has its flaws but is still a good watch. Watch it and share your ratings above.