“Main kisise darta nahi hu. Kisika bhi darwaja khatkhatane ki himmat rakhta hu. (I’m not afraid of knocking on anyone’s door)” – says IT officer Amay Patnaik in this weeks Bollywood release “Raid” capturing courage as the underlying essence of his character.
Genre – Thriller
Duration – 2hr 08 mins
Based on the real life incident of the longest Income Tax (IT) raid in the 80’s in UP, “Raid” is the story of an honest and upright IT deputy commissioner – Amay Patnaik. He’s been transferred 49 times over a period of 7 years in his job yet he is a man who takes every transfer in his stride. A man of principles, he believes bringing his own drink to any party. Like he announces to a shocked audience, “Main wahi peeta hu jo khareed sakta hu (I only drink what I can afford to buy).” He abides by the rule book.
Within a month of his arrival in Lucknow, he’s tipped off by an anonymous call about a local businessman/political goon whose assets far exceed his income on paper. Amay, being the undeterred soul gets his team together to knock the door of Tauji’s White House after carrying out a thorough research. Tauji goes from being stunned to amused and finally annoyed at this man’s invasion of his life.
Gradually the layers of secrecy start getting unveiled. Amay’s secret informer continues helping through different ways and he manages to crack the mystery. Rameshwar, apparently also a family man is in for a bad shock when he figures out that his own blood has been looting him on the side. However, when things go berserk, Tauji is let loose by Amay to explore all points of help to stop the raid. Knocking the doors of the CM until PM, he turns a wounded soul on a prowl. What starts off as a verbal confrontation between the protagonist and antagonist gets nastier when Tauji’s defence starts cracking.
“Raid” belongs to the rare genre of movies highlighting the unsung heroes of our society. It brings a refreshing perspective of hardworking and honest officers in a Government set up perceived to be full of corruption. For every Lallan, sold to the business of money-making in any department, there’s an Amay trying to set things right and probably that’s why we still have the country running. This is the story of a man who has no qualms about the umpteen transfers he has been handed over because he has accepted that to be a part of his office. In fact, during one of the scenes, when he goes to meet the head of IT seeking permission on this raid, his superior asks him “Aur tumhe kya milega? (What else will you get?)” He curtly answers – “Ek aur transfer (Another transfer).” It leaves one wondering how different any country could be if only every officer was honest and doing their duties the right way. “Raid” also has some wonderful insights on leadership qualities. Amay, while leading his team walks the talk and that is how he finally gets the whole team to believe in his vision.
1. The confrontation – This is a movie that essentially relies on conversation full of challenges between the two main characters. This is carried out not just through words but also through the expression of eyes, face and body language. The end effect is a fast-paced thriller that keeps the audience hooked till the end.
2. Actors – Ajay Devgn is back in a role that has always been his forte. He is flawless and gives a powerhouse performance. Saurabh Shukla as Tauji is unbelievably amazing. As the menacing Tauji, he stands tall with the protagonist. Both these actors are a sheer delight to watch. I wouldn’t be surprised if both these actors take home most of the awards this year.
3. Moments – There are few moments in the movie that stand out for being subtle yet impactful. The scenes at the dining table in Tauji’s house clearly bring out the power game in the family.
4. The story – Ritesh Shah does a fab job of creating a thriller that keeps one guessing until the end. There are quite a few edge-of-the-seat moments as well.
5. Realism – The makers deserve an applause for sticking to the ground realities of the functioning of a Government department and political parties. At no point, the protagonist is made to look or act like a larger than life hero. that is why it becomes easy to relate to his character and decisions.
6. Relevance – This is a movie that as relevant, if not much more in today’s society. Corruption, money swindling, dishonesty, poverty and goon terror has only gotten worse with time.
1. Romance – While the husband-wife relationship was essential to make a point about how the decision of a government employee affects his family, their romantic scenes set at irregular intervals kind of takes the focus away from the main plot. Few scenes were quite unnecessary like Malini bringing tiffin for Amay and his team in the midst of the raid at Tauji’s house. The relationship could have been depicted in a much subtler way.
2. Songs – While the music by Amit Trivedi and Tanishk Bagchi are soothing to the ears, they feel hugely out-of-place in the movie. Raid is the kind of movie that deserves to be told sans song. It would have made it a much tighter, focused and gripping tale.
My rating for this stupendous movie stands at 4.5 out of 5
During one of the scenes, a character essaying the role of the head of an educational institution tells Amay that all his efforts of recovering black money are going to soon turn futile because the wealth that he has assimilated from Tauji will never reach and benefit the ordinary citizens. As an answer, Amay asks him, “Masterji, aapka koi student fail ho jaye to aap padana chor dete ho kya? Balki aap aur mehnat karte ho taki woh aur achcha kare (If one of your students fails, do you stop teaching? In fact, you work harder so that they can do better).” That is precisely the thought “Raid” leaves the audience with. In an era of hopelessness, there’s always a ray of hope in the form of ordinary men like Amay Patnaik through their extraordinary strength of character and selfless commitment to service.
This review was first published here.