"“Raazi”" | A balanced spy thriller weaved with emotions
When plot of the movie revolves around India-Pakistan war with a Kashmiri girl who is ready to go to any lengths to safeguard her country, the story becomes quite predictable. But, it is not the case with Meghna Gulzar’s directorial Raazi. The dramatized version of Harinder S Sikka’s novel, ‘Calling Sehmat’ will surely keep you engrossed throughout. It’s not just another film helmed with patriotic connotations but a heartbreaking saga that beautifully presents the idea without a hint of jingoism.
Set in the 70s, Razi unveils the story of an unsung hero Sehmat – a vulnerable and innocent teenage studying in Delhi University – who is taught to keep the nation before her life. Seeking her permission, Sehmat’s father Hidayat Khan (played by Rajit Kapoor) marries her in a family of high degree Pakistani officials with the intention of espionage. How a girl, with no experience in spying learns the tricks and tactics of an intelligence officer, and the circumstances under which she uses her knowledge to pass on relevant information to the Indian army – until her cover gets ripped to shreds – forms the crux of the story.
Besides the balanced presentation of patriotism, it is Alia’s acting that deserves applause. History is evident that whenever this young diva takes on a non-glamorous role, movie lovers get to see a brilliant performance (except the part where her shrieks and uncontrollable tears make you a little uncomfortable). Though she works as a spy, the fears and vulnerability is evident on her face. Meghna didn’t attempt to present her as a superwoman (like most of our Hindi filmmakers do) and that’s what helps the audience build up an emotional connection with the protagonist.
Alia’s grey character would throughout confuse you of whether to be sympathetic with her or be callous for her insensitive behaviour towards in-laws. Adding to it, Vicky Kaushal’s performance as a supportive and lovable husband undoubtedly sparks a feeling of hatred towards Sehmat. He is a perfect half to Sehmat.
At moments, you will find yourself questioning the working of intelligence agencies who don’t think twice before risking the lives of their own undercover agents. In a scene, the senior officer orders to kill Sehmat out of fear of losing her to enemies (Pakistani army), which makes one think twice before devoting their life to the service of the nation.
Attention has been given to the minutest details – ranging from depicting the customs and traditions of a Pakistani Muslim family, to the crisp pronunciation of Urdu words. Alia’s diction was given special consideration, which can be clearly witnessed in the movie. She convinces you as an ideal Pakistani bahu.
Shankar-Ehsan-Loy’s music interweaved with Gulzar’s lyrics is incredible. ‘Ae watan’ is a gem of a track and gets into your
head, leading you to stomp your feet on the beats. Also, the lyrics of Allama Iqbal’s dua ‘Lab Pe Aati Hai Dua might bring a sudden rush of patriotism in your veins. The extended cast, comprising of Shishir Sharma, Jaideep Ahlawat and Soni Razdan had nothing extraordinary to offer but still did their best to fill the blank.