Story: A Kashmiri businessman Hidayat (Rajit Kapur) travels back and forth between India and Pakistan under the pretext of business dealings. His friend in Pakistan, Brigadier Syed (Shishir Sharma), is convinced that Hidayat is spying on India for Pakistan while truth is on the contrary. Hidayat is a loyal agent of India’s Intelligence services and, as it happens, the son of a freedom fighter.
Hidayat is diagnosed with a deadly tumour in his lungs, but he does not want to disrupt his mission, hence he recommends his college going teenage daughter Sehmat (Alia Bhatt) to take his place. Sehmat marries the Brigadier’s son Major Iqbal Syed (Vicky Kaushal). Brigadier and his sons serves the Pakistani army at high posts, thus has access to the confidential documents / information about the army operations, which Sehmat has to pass on to India. Rest of the story is all about whether or not an untrained college going teenager Sehmat accomplishes her mission.
Firstly, this is one of the finest performances of Alia Bhatt and she competes with the brilliance of director. How many times will she win over her own performances and how long will she continue to give flawless performances? Throughout the 140 minutes, I never felt I’m watching Alia Bhatt, but Sehmat whose patriotism is undefined and human relations are unconfirmed in conflict with national interest.
Based on Harinder S Sikka’s novel ‘Calling Sehmat’, the film ends with a naval officer’s statement “War leaves some casualties alive” which rightly describes the 'genuineness of being and behaving' of a war agent and makes the whole point of Meghana Gulzar’s heartbreaking espionage drama; Raazi.
Raazi is undoubtedly ‘rarest of the rare’ films of its genres that is not overly patriotic or unjustly vilifying the other. It has nothing of such sort to lure the self declared patriots or extreme nationalists we have today in our polity. On the contrary, it has everything that doesn’t reduce patriotism to the religious faith of a person. No routine filmy dialogues to blatantly differentiate ‘good Muslim’ while showing others as anti-nationals, thus attracting some claps of the infant patriots. The film is a slap on the face of those charged with religious extremism and political infantilism because it depicts the idea of ‘patriotism is equal even amongst the enemies & that patriotism lies in loving his/her own nation more than hating an enemy’.
If anyone has to be appreciated in this whole project, it is the director Meghana Gulzar. This film is a perfect blend of the tense thriller with human emotions, yet keeping the patriotism on top. Raazi is no less to the sensitivity that marked her direction in Talvar. Raazi says so much else without feeling the need to say it. Gulzar is successful again in convincing her audience with sensitive drama and minimal yet heartbreaking dialogues.
Jay I Patel’s camerawork is realistic to the core and worth praising. He is particularly responsible for capturing Sehmat’s awestruck emotions. There are many scenes where minute details of Alia’s extreme stress levels are not missed even while she was running in a lonely street just before killing a person or when she stands under a shower after the murder. Technical departments, especially the camera and music are a perfect competition to the director, all has won!
Supporting cast is a roll call for strong artists who lived in the face of their roles. Raazi is one of the finest and responsible films that dealt a espionage dramas. This is surely a must watch this weekend, especially if you are open to interpret between genuineness of being and behaving of an agent who appears as a weapon to the world but is still a human being with all emotions and shortfalls.