Meghna Gulzar’s latest directorial venture “Raazi” is a sensible spy thriller film with a lot of heart and substance.
“Raazi” revolves around Sehmat (played by Alia Bhatt), a 20-year-old college-going Kashmiri girl who agrees to work as a spy for the Indian Intelligence on the request of her ill father. The story traces her journey from being trained as an undercover agent to being married to a Pakistani army officer (Iqbal Syed, played by Vicky Kaushal). The rest of the story deals with how Sehmat succeeds in unearthing vital information while concealing her actual motives.
An adaptation of Harinder Sikka’s novel “Calling Sehmat”, “Raazi” is driven by a gripping storyline and a tightly knit screenplay. Not a single scene in Meghna Gulzar’s latest offering appears unnecessary. The screenplay is effective and keeps you at the edge of your seat. With a watertight story in place, the viewer’s interest in the film remains intact.
As far as the dialogues are concerned, “Raazi is powered by a set of forceful dialogues. “Cigarette toh kabhi pee nahin, zindagi ke kash lagta hai zyaada lagaa liye,” is one of the many dialogues that evoke a wide range of emotions, right from grief to melancholy. This film had its dialogues in place.
Alia Bhatt is in top form. The sheer sense of innocence with which the 25-year-old has played Sehmat on-screen makes you fall in love with her. She has pulled it off almost single-handedly. She is shown going about her business like a typical Indian action hero. What has worked well for Alia is her ability to portray a wide range of emotions from bravery to fragility and everything in between.
The likes of Jaideep Ahlawat and Vicky Kaushal have played their parts with sincerity. Jaideep in particular, who plays Sajid Mir, Sehmat’s mentor, has looked quite convincing. At times you tend to feel both Sajid and Sehmat share a strong bond, covered in a shroud of patriotism. Vicky Kaushal, an extremely underrated actor, has played his part to perfection. He hasn’t relied on dialogues, but on expressions throughout the course of the film. The likes of Arif Zakaria, Rajit Kapoor, and Shishir Sharma have all made the most of their limited screen presence. Also, it was indeed a pleasure to watch Soni Razdan playing Alia’s mother on the big screen.
As far as the music is concerned, Shankar, Ehsaan, and Loy have been able to recreate the good old tunes of the 1970s. The song ‘Ae Watan’ brings out a feeling of patriotism. The trio’s compositions lend authenticity to the entire setting. The film’s music succeeds in evoking the right emotion at the right time.
Meghna Gulzar’s direction ensures that we get a sneak-peek into the dangerous lives agents led in those days. The best thing about the film is that Gulzar has succeeded in maintaining a flow. Every shot fits perfectly into the film while the clutter has been kept completely at bay. Also, she hasn’t overloaded the script with unnecessary melodrama. The director’s comments on war and turmoil are simplistic. The highlight of Meghna Gulzar’s direction has been her ability to keep the sequences tight and crisp. Not a scene looks unnecessary in this 140-minute spy thriller.
All in all, “Raazi” is a sensibly written film, with a tight script in place. Watch it for the performances of Bhatt and Ahlawat.
Overall Rating: 4/5