Sikka also wonders about the sheer patriotism of Sehmat's father, a rich Kashmiri businessman, who pushed his daughter to take up a unsafe task for the sake of his country. With not a single tiresome moment despite of slow pace in the first half, Raazi won't bore you even for a single second. There is none of the jingoism you'd expect in a Bollywood film in this space and yet it evokes a sense of patrotism, aided by Gulzar's moving lyrics in the beautifully composed Ae watan. The book and the Raazi story shown in the movie is about a Kashmiri girl who marries into a military family in Pakistan and becomes an Indian spy. The second half is racy and ominous, and Alia is brilliant in portraying her character which is naïve and gritty at the same time. Syed may be a staunch Pakistani army officer, protective about his country, but that doesn't stop him from embracing his Indian daughter-in-law. The movie is an adaptation of Harinder Sikka's novel Calling Sehmat which is said to be inspired by real events. Originally from Kashmir, belonging to a family of Muslim-Sikh patronage and studying in Delhi University, she follows in her father's (Rajit Kapur as Hidayat Khan) footsteps who works for the Intelligence Bureau. Raazi is Alia's film. "Main hi to mulk hoon", she says to her Intelligence Bureau handler when he asks why she is willing to risk her life for an abstract cause. But he can not expect her to go on such a completely deviant, life-changing and possibly life-threatening route. This is a tradition she has picked in her house of Kashmiri patriots.
Coming from Meghna Gulzar - the director of Talvar, a fantastic film about a true-life murder case that was fearless enough to take a stand - this delicacy isn't surprising.
Nonetheless, above all the temporary distractions is Sehwat's love for her country and the instinct to protect it at all costs, even her loved ones. Alia Bhatt is one such actress who cuts across different genres and performs depending on what the script demands.
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Though Meghna's comments on war, cross-border activities are very simplistic and obvious, she reinforces them for us with stretched scenes. And visible but quickly masked. And relevant in these extremely fractious times where everyone's patriotic credentials are determined on the basis of their identities. Though the film moves you emotionally, it may not work too well with people who don't know or aren't invested enough in Savitri's life.
Meghna Gulzar and Bhavani Iyer's screenplay is taut, with tense moments weaved in that keep you on the edge of your seat. Amidst all the tension, Hidayat suggests sending his teenage daughter to Brigadier Syed's (Shishir Sharma) den. Raazi is a must watch Hindi Picture film of the year. The film scores well with the casting, which helps make it even more believable and the characters relatable.
But you care so much for the girl, or perennially hope that she stays out of harm's way that, for the most part, I ended up watching this film with my hand on the forehead, often veering towards closing my eyes!