Saying the name of a perceived enemy leaves a sour taste in our mouth. However, we must learn to respect the individuals who are willing to sacrifice everything, including their lives for what they believe in, even if they’re our enemy. This is the biggest message that the movie “Raazi” gave me. Based on a true story of a young Indian girl, Sehmat, who marries into an important Pakistani family to spy on them, the film is in equal parts heart-wrenching and thrilling.
Alia Bhatt’s character development is perfect, from the naïve college girl just beginning her spy training to the skilful spy who kills people to avoid detection. Her acting, beautiful in its simplicity, makes one more involved in the realistic scenes in the movie than ever. The love blossoming between Sehmat and her husband is so genuine and sweet that you get invested in even their little story amidst all the subterfuge.
Perhaps the best part of the movie is that it’s refreshingly devoid of any frills and fancies, even though it’s a patriotic thriller about an Indian spy. The director Meghna Gulzar has done a brilliant job of showing us both sides of the story, instead of extolling India’s virtues and denouncing Pakistan like movies of this genre are prone to do. In fact, a viewer feels genuinely sad for the Pakistanis as well, which is no small a feat. The fact is that everyone in the movie is fighting for their own country, be it the spy Sehmat or her new family. There is an air of decency and mutual respect throughout the movie, shown clearly by Iqbal’s (Sehmat’s husband) fierce defence of his wife even after being betrayed by her. His deep understanding even in the face of betrayal is truly heart-breaking.
That said, the movie keeps you at the edge of your seat throughout, with its twists and turns, and some sweet moments thrown into the mix. The casting is nothing less than perfect. Alia Bhatt steals the show, of course, but the vulnerability of Vicky Kaushal as Iqbal, the staunch patriotism of both Rajit Kapur (Sehmat’s father) and Shishir Sharma (the father-in-law), and the no-nonsense attitude of her mentor Jaideep Ahlawat are played perfectly as well. The songs in the movie are also so beautiful and well-timed that they echo in the ears long after the movie is over. In fact, the song “Ae Watan”, is so apt in the sense that it applies to both the nations in the mix, as it doesn’t mention any particular country.
All in all, it’s an intelligent thriller that shows how people can survive with only their brains and no technology in a hostile environment, and which makes us understand the concept of honour and patriotism without excessive drama. The movie gets a 5/5 from me!