Raazi – Review

FTV Entertainment News, Mumbai, By Rashmi Sarkar: This movie was waited for eagerly by my mother in law who normally doesn’t like to go out much.She is the one to watch multiple Bengali soaps,TV programs and read the Bengali magazines I pick up from Mayur Vihar and Gol Market and undoubtedly, having watched all these and the trailers of ” Raazi”,she was the keenest to watch it .She also felt that Alia Bhat looked endearing and vulnerable from the promos.
For me,my reason is Meghna Gulzar,the director.I have enjoyed seeing her grow in every movie of hers whether it was the not so well reached out “Filhaal”( on surrogate pregnancy and women bonding) which definitely deserves better,or “Talvar” which rightfully did well critically and commercially and now the seemingly interesting “Raazi”.As in her warmly written coffee table book,” Because he is……”,which she wrote on her father,the wonderful Gulzar,Meghna keeps it subtle and believable even in this movie.Her little book is one of my favourites and I do recommend this to many and there are a few who I may have gifted it. This book is often out of stock.
Coming to this movie,the tone is set right in the beginning ,without wastage of time.
Sehmat,the protagonist,played beautifully by Alia Bhat,is sent by her terminally ill father who works for the Indian intelligence,across the border,married to his friend’s son to pass on information to India to avert an impending war between the two nations.Sehmat is shown as a frail,sensitive, beautiful girl from Kashmir,who is very difficult to be suspected as a spy.
The movie has many strengths.
1.First and foremost,it moves fast with practically no frills.As my son pointed out,it was difficult to make out how the 2 hours passed.It has a relatively simple plot,laying stress more on human relations.It takes you right into the house of Sehmat’s in-laws ‘ kitchen,study,garden-subtle touches by Meghna Gulzar.
2.The star cast is really apt.A lot has been criticized about Alia putting in a lot of effort in her role but as a movie watcher,not sure what it means.i think it is a difficult balance between enacting a delicate Kashmiri girl dressed in pastel shades of salwar kameez and utterly delicate anklets afraid of the sight of little blood and a smart calculating spy,who spies on her husband’s family occasionally evolving into a ruthless killer.I think she is most adequate in her generation of actors to play Sehmat,with the exception of perhaps,Kangana.Vicky Kaushal impresses as the tall,dark and handsome, understanding husband.The fresh pair works well for this film.Jaideep Ahlawat,as Sehmat’s trainer,stands out in his performance.The other roles like Rajat Kapoor,Arif Zakaria,Soni Razdan lend ample support.
3.The movie is apt for our times.It takes no sides,and puts across this subtle message that common people across the border are exactly the same.A great touch is the song”Ae Watan…” sung with a lot of passion which stays with you,as this song is apt for the love of just about any country.The end lines sung by a boy stands out and is striking.Nice to get back Shankar Ehsan Loy’s compositions with “Dilbaro” having wonderful words by Gulzar.
4.The movie bears a minimalist look but brings forth the beauty of Kashmir and the delicately woven Kashmiri embroidery which I am sure may catch up on the modern fashion scene soon.The training sessions of Alia Bhat is also kept minimalistic and believable.Nothing fancy about it.
Overall,it is a movie worth watching for so many different reasons.It raises several questions,does not give all answers as it was in “Talvar”.It aims to disturb a bit and stays with you.
My mother in law gives it 8 out of 10,my son,9/ 10,my husband 7.5 /10 and myself ,9/ 10.
Do go for it!