Two women have given 2018 its best movie of the year. Meghna Gulzar deftly directs the most cute looking and girl-woman Aalia Bhatt, in the role of an Indian spy in Pakistan, a true story leading up to the Indo-Pakistan War of ’71.
That this chota packet can act, like Wow! has been proven over and over by her unassuming and hard hitting performances in film after film.
First she steals your heart with her dimpled smiles and doe-shaped eyes, and while you drown in her innocence she blows punch after serious punch, coming alive in front of the camera ‘becoming’ the character she plays. Be it Veera in Highway, Kaira in Dear Zindagi or Pinky in Udata Punjab, she pulls it off like a seasoned pro .
The chick flicks, like Student of the Year, the Humpty /Bunty ki Dulhaniya series, Two States, etc. that she keeps interspersing in her repository among such high power drama films must feel like a stroll in the park to her.
And so again, Alia Bhatt is just brilliant in Raazi. Carrying the whole plot of the film on her frail figure, like a ballerina Alia evokes a range of emotions from the viewer.
Now on to Meghna… crediting her genes for the few but fantastic movies she directs would actually take away merit and credit she truly deserves for picking up true stories and giving them a spin of real life drama and eventually offering the audience good cinema. Much like her last movie, Talwar, Raazi too keeps you fixed to the seat, making you wonder how she gets so much out of her characters and her actors who are facing the camera.
On to the movie, Raazi is an espionage movie. I don’t think there are many spy movies that get made in Bollywood, so the movie scores at first go for the subject chosen.
And then, its about India- Pakistan and the war of ’71 that makes the movie that much more interesting.
With superb research, Meghna has given the viewers a good sneak peak into the making of a spy, and a spy’s life, in real life.
So, there’s Hidaayat, a Kashmiri, who frequents Pakistan for trade and business and works as a double agent for India and Pakistan. At least, the Pakistan side thinks, that Hidaayat has been spying for Pakistan and passing on sensitive information about India to them. When in reality, he was a true patriot who was doing just the opposite. When diagnosed with a terminal disease, without an iota of hesitation, he decides that his young and delicate daughter Sehmat should continue his role of a spy against Pakistan.
Sehmat, a chip of the old patriotic block, without a blink of an eye agrees to fit in her dad’s shoes and offers her life and desires at the mantle of service to the nation.
The plan was to get Sehmat married to the youngest son of Brigadier Parvez Syed of the Pakistan Army. And then the ‘insider’ would spy on the going ons in the Pakistan Army and pass on critical information to the Indian side. A very dangerous mission, which could very well cost her her life.
What follows is the training of Sehmat by the top spy of India, Khalid Mir, brilliantly essayed by Jaideep Ahlawat and the transformation of a girl next door to a ‘Raazi’, i.e. willing and secretive spy.
The plot thickens by the minute as the new bride in an enemy country, married to the most gentle, sincere and understanding man has to win hearts and confidence of strangers and then back stab unsuspecting members of her new family by doing what she came here to do.
No, the movie does not go into any melodrama of ‘choosing’ between love and duty. There never was even a shred of doubt in Sehmat’s mind about the calls she has to make in the line of duty.
And yet the tears that cloud her eyes and flow down her cheeks are of real empathy towards the enemy that now has real faces and meaning in her life.
With so many thrilling situations playing out in front of you, and the frame of a solitary woman leading a life so dangerously on the edge, don’t be surprised if a small prayer reaches your lips for her safety. That’s how captivating the drama is in the film.
Vicky Kaushal’s portrayal of Sehmat’s husband, Iqbal, is so touching, you forget that he is from the enemy camp.
Of course, there are some loose ends in the movie, but that does not hamper your movie experience or riddle your logical sensibilities.
With no star power to brag about, except Alia Bhatt, watching Raazi makes you realise that you don’t need glamour and glitz to get your ticket worth of entertainment. You just need a compelling story well told and well enacted.
If you have not yet seen Raazi, please go and see it.
It was Four shining stars experience for cinema crazy me!!