What would happen if an Indian James Bond movie was actually made? Well, you would get Raazi, almost!
Meghna Gulzar’s direction and powerful storytelling make for an entertaining watch, with emotions running deep and strong throughout the movie, occasionally subtly. This is a testament to the actors’ skill and ability.
The cast is incredibly talented with the protagonists strongly supported by the rest of the cast. Alia Bhatt’s performance is incredible as a young girl, Sehmat who is thrust into the highly dangerous life of an international spy under heavy emotional stress.
We see her character develop from this young, naive, and sheltered girl to that of a spy in all but name. Her sweet, demure facade hides beneath it the potential to be extremely ruthless and unforgiving, which she is forced to be.
Her abilities are tested almost from the get-go. With numerous close calls that keep you on the edge of your seat, she finds her way in a strange land and gets successively better at her job, finding cunning ways to overcome obstacles and in the film’s climax, flipping the plot-line on its face. By the end of the film, she is a totally different person.
As for Vicky Kaushal, his role as a dedicated army officer, son, and husband (in that order) is more than convincing. His humility and respect towards Alia coupled with his adorable advances make us and Alia fall in love with him.
Alia’s trainer, Khalid Mir, portrayed by Jaideep Ahlawat (who was awesome as Sardar Khan’s father in Gangs of Wasseypur) is also a standout performance. He is the counterbalance to Vicky in Alia’s life, forcing her to choose between the two of them, an analogy to her choice between India (her original home) and Pakistan (her adopted one).
But throughout Alia’s character arc, her commitment towards her cause is unwavering, even though she sometimes questions the means she has to adopt. And I think that is the USP of this film, packaging the message of patriotism without the jingoism and vitriol that other movies adopt.
There is no over the top dramatization of tense situations which make you go “India! India”, there is just this young girl who is trying to serve her country by risking her life.
You feel for her, you cry for her, you ARE her.
Further, it humanizes the Pakistanis as well. Making them seem less monster and more misguided humans with an ideology opposite to ours.
The background score rises and falls with the tension in the movie and helps grip the audience even more. The famous ‘Ae Watan’ song is beautifully rendered and is a treat to listen to.
As for what I did not like, the film suffered from the usual Bollywood traits of over-dramatization. The authentic look and feel of a pre-war India and Pakistan that Meghna Gulzar has tried to achieve have been slightly disturbed by the dramatic close-ups and what I like to call “extra acting”, where actors act more than they needed to.
The storyline also becomes predictable after a while, as it does in Bollywood movies. Had it not been for the twist, in the end, the entire feel of the movie would have been ruined.
All in all, Raazi was a pleasant movie to watch and delivered on its promise of being an entertaining Bollywood style spy thriller. Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Jaideep Alahwat, Shishir Sharma, all delivering fantastic performances and more than satisfying the requirements of their characters.
I rate it 3.75/5 Rajeev Masands.
ED is proud to be the official blog partner for Raazi.
Image Credits: Google Images
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