Raazi Could Have Gone Astray...
Strong patriotic fervour
‘Raazi,’ produced by Karan Johar and written by Meghana Gulzar is a film that had all the ingredients of going over-board but did not.
Based on Harinder Sikka’s novel ‘Calling Sehmat’ Raazi is the true story of a Kashmiri girl who is sent to Pakistan before the 1971 war between India and Pakistan which led to the creation of Bangladesh by her own father to find out what sinister plans Pakistan was making to destroy India.
To people like us who had witnessed the 1971 war and its aftermath it was like revisiting the time when for the first time the Indian Army appeared prepared for a deadly assault on its permanent adversary. They call such attacks ‘surgical strikes’ today but it goes to the credit of late Indira Gandhi to actually perform a surgery that has permanently divided Pakistan into two.
We also know that India was training the Mukti Vahini much before the war broke out and helping them with arms and ammunition to support the movement launched by Sheikh Mujibur Rehman against the atrocities of the Pakistan regime against the Bengalis in East Pakistan.
But history is a boring subject unless the characters participating in it are portrayed in three-D. That is where a writer steps in. this being Meghana Gulzar second film after ‘Talwar’ she manages to evoke that fine balancing between reality and hyperbole.
The choice of Alia Bhatt as Sehmat the nubile, nervous but totally focused girl, ready to take out her gun against her loving husband (brilliantly played by Vicky Kaushal) when she realizes that he knows that she is spying against his country, is a master-stroke.
As a just out of college student she is convinced by her father’s plea that she should get married into a top Pakistani general’s family to spy on them because her father and her grandfather have been freedom-fighters.
What complicates matters for her is that she is doted on by everyone, specially her husband who apologises every time a reference to India as an enemy comes up in normal conversation.
So much so that when her plot is exposed and his father abuses Alia he tells him, “She is doing her duty for her country just like we are doing ours for our country.” Alia Bhatt immortalizes Sehmat one of the unknown martyrs of the 1971 war with her portrayal of a staunch patriot.
Having all the right actors to portray the roles they have been given is very important. But what stands out as the super star in the film is Meghana Gulzar’s script.
What gives the film the typical Gulzar (Meghna) touch is the total break down of Alia Bhatt when she realizes that the Indian Intelligence agents were ready to blow her away along with her husband to prevent her getting into the enemies hands.
More shocking is the reaction of her ruthless trainer who tells her that this is normal in war situations. To which she says, “Please send me home before I become like you.”
For Alia Bhatt who has performed amazingly in a variety of roles in her short filmi career, despite her ‘duffer’ image the film has taught lessons which come once in a life-time. "I learnt a lot. What we think is being patriotic is quite opposite to what true patriotism is. We think we are patriotic because we believe in our country and that we love our country. But that is not enough. There has to be action resonating our feelings. We have to add value. We have to participate in activities that are not only beneficial to us. This is what I learnt from this journey of playing Sehmat in Raazi," she has said in an interview.
What adds much value to the movie devoid of glamour is its music by the trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy who use the lyrics by Gulzar not only to create a new patriotic song ‘Ae watan’ sung by Arijit Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan but also one of the most memorable Bidai songs in Indian cinema ‘Dilbaro’ sung by Shankar Mahadevan,Harshdeep Kaur and Vibha Saraf.
The film may not break into the 100 crore bracket, or maybe it does, but if you have not seen it you will miss a film that evokes strong patriotic fervor without provoking slogans of Murdabad.