Two scenes, isolated by well finished a hour in Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi, are vital to understanding the circular segment of the film’s hero, Sehmat, a 20-year-old Kashmiri young lady played by Alia Bhatt, who is inserted in Pakistan to accumulate intel for the experts back in India.
The primary happens while Sehmat is experiencing preparing to wind up a government agent. On being educated that the activity can include taking a man’s life, she’s immediately shocked. “Koi issue?” her coach asks derisively. Her cutting reaction – a solitary line of exchange, no more – is a decent indication of her young age, and her blamelessness or innocence maybe in imagining that there may be space for essential mankind on the planet she is going to enter.
The other scene, which comes considerably later in the film, is additionally depended on a solitary dangerously sharp discourse. This one represents adequately how a similar individual has advanced, while immediately noting that prior inquiry regarding space for empathy when the stakes are so high.
None of what I’ve quite recently imparted to you are spoilers in any capacity on the off chance that you’ve viewed the trailer of Raazi. To recap the plot, this is 1971 when relations amongst India and Pakistan are particularly tense; war is around the bend. Induced by her dad, Sehmat, an understudy of Delhi University weds into a high-positioning Pakistani military familyto spy for India.
In view of a genuine story recorded in the book Calling Sehmat by Lt Commander Harinder Sikka (retd), the film is a solid spine chiller that is refreshingly ‘object free’. Chief Meghna Gulzar, who has co-composed the screenplay with Bhavani Iyer, avoids chest-pounding patriotism and energetic enthusiastic monologs that have turned into a staple of this type. Outstandingly, there is none of that “my-nation is-superior to yours” grime raking that such a large number of comparative movies discover hard to stand up to. There’s an innate respectability in both the film’s aims and it’s characters, regardless of what side of the outskirt they’re from.
Sehmat’s endeavors to sink into her new home and win the trust of the family so as to carry out the activity she’s been enlisted for, is the most convincing piece of Raazi. Meghna dials up the pressure as Sehmat puts her preparation to utilize, as often as possible arriving in situations where her cover verges on being blown. There is likewise the matter of her marriage with Iqbal (a pleasantly helpless Vicky Kaushal), which, once more, plays out uniquely in contrast to what you may anticipate.
If there are speed bumps in the film, it’s the apparent ease with which our protagonist is shown to conduct her espionage right under the nose of a family of army men. There are other little details that rankle. The film demonstrates the quickest acquisition of singing skills since…forever. And a turning point in the film’s final act hinges on the discovery of a key piece of evidence, but that portion just feels convenient and contrived.
These are minor complaints in an otherwise gripping film. Meghna assembles gifted actors to infuse further credibility into the storytelling. Rajit Kapur and Shishir Sharma are especially strong as Sehmat’s father and father-in-law respectively, but Jaideep Ahlawat makes the biggest impression, bringing a winning dryness to the role of Sehmat’s handler Mir, a ball-busting agent in charge of her training.
It’s Alia Bhatt though who is the beating heart of Raazi. She plays Sehmat with zero affectation, giving us a fully realized character that feels entirely authentic. The film gives her great scope to flex those dramatic chops, and Alia delivers not only in the big emotional and breakdown scenes, but also in smaller moments, making every little head-turn count. It’s a solid performance – from the sheer rigor of her training to be a spy, to the grit she brings to the mission, Alia doesn’t miss a beat.
The film is admirable also because it’s a measured, mostly intelligent thriller that asks us to consider concepts of patriotism and honor without spoon-feeding us with manipulative background music or provocative dialogue. It’s well paced, and set to a thouhgtful score by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy that never distracts from the drama. I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for Raazi; a worthy follow-up to the director’s last film Talvar
Director: Meghna Gulzar
Cast: Alia Bhatt, Rajit Kapur, Shishir Sharma, Vicky Kaushal, Jaideep Ahlawat, Ashwath Bhatt, Arif Zakaria, Amruta Khanvilkar, Soni Razdan
Rating: 3.5 / 5