The Bollywood’s idea of a spy-thriller has generally been chest thumping characters and trumpeting dialogues oozing patriotism. The lead is always loud and is capable of accomplishing the most impossible adventures. Raazi is different.
Sehmat an innocent homely girl is delivered by his father to Indian Intelligence department to spy on Pakistani military’s intentions through marriage at the time of the Indo-Pak war. The naivety and innocence in the character of Sehmat is Alia who we see not Sehmat and that makes all the difference. This also brings the realism that spies are no different species but the daily life characters who equally feel the emotions and pain. But I also think Alia definitely has a way ahead learning to shake off her child-like visuals of actions and impressions a bit specially when serious movies like Raazi are concerned. Meghna Gulzar sure has ensured Alia to have her own way in the most of the film and due attention to all the other characters while Alia remains the sailor of the boat.
The spot-on cast takes the maximum credit to make things fall in place for the film. This is a story of Sehmat but the characters woven closely with her hold the equal weight and are brilliant in their roles from short to long screen presences. Vicky Kaushal is a great fit for the part and a balance to Alia’s unpretentious character. And their tender romance enhances the beauty of the film and brings it closer to the reality. However, there is one thing that makes you question the less dramatic and more authentic appeal of the film. How can a family with army men and intelligence officers be so gullible not to notice the unusualness of Sehmat.
Vicky’s character maintains a nuanced personality of a respecting husband and a dedicated patriot. While actors like Jaideep Ahlawat (Shahid Khan from Gangs of Wasseypur) and Rajit Kapur (Panditji from Baar Baar Dekho) are already the masters of character actor genre. Shishir Sharma, Ashwath Bhatt and Amruta Khanvilkar are all consistent in their respective roles. But it’s Jaideep Ahlawat whose character is the most stoic and uniformly poised. His relation of a strict trainer with an inexperienced college girl Sehmat is the most substantial of them all.
There are moments where your heart skips a beat or you can’t help being teary-eyed but all in a certain noiseless way which makes a strong impact. Sehmat had a long journey ahead since the moment her employment in Pakistan was decided, so the movie had to cover her entire journey which it manages to do deftly. Raazi not being a roaring drama also makes the right statement about the definition of patriotism because patriotism is better felt than announced on loudspeaker. It beaurifully ducks being jingoistic. Although the subtle end could have given a stronger message of peace between the two neighboring nations but it was in line with the tone of the film in the same time. There was definitely a need to be politically correct.
The placement of songs is commendable as the characters just don’t break into them. They (songs) have more to their role than just being a musical lapse. Ae Vatan number is Sehmat’s dedication to her nation she is currently living in but in fact her tribute to her own she is loyal to. Similarly, Dilbaro is a story in itself in which, it talks about daughters that are married off never look back (Faslein jo kaati jaye ugti nahi hain, betiyan jo byahi jaye mudti nahi hain). But Sehmat enters a new family after marriage only to sacrifice herself for her own.
In this current time of hate-mongering and pseudo jingoism, Raazi is a soothing touch that stresses on pure patriotism. It smoothly conveys the fact that to love your country you don’t have to hate the other. Don’t wait much and get ready for this emotional, heart-stopping thriller not only for its gripping storyline but for the amazing cast and the heartfelt emotions too.