Starring: Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Jaideep Ahlawat Director: Meghna Gulzar India release date: May 11, 2018 Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller Rating: U/A Language: Hindi Duration: 2 hours, 18 mins
“The word “mulk” – meaning, nation – is repeated several times in Raazi. Close your eyes, and it won’t be clear which side of the border it’s coming from. And for most part, it won’t even matter. This, in a nutshell, is perhaps director Meghna Gulzar’s most remarkable achievement. In hyper-patriotic times such as these, it’s hard enough to make a spy thriller that humanizes the enemy; it’s even harder to suggest that the enemy lies in the eyes of the beholder.”
“Jay I Patel’s camerawork is intrinsic to the nervous edge that is a constant in the narrative. He seems to shadow Sehmat rather than shoot Bhatt, and is particularly responsible for underlining heightened stress levels in a scene involving a chase down a lonely street.”
“Alia’s Sehmat is far from the glamourised version of spies you usually find in Hindi films. She is gritty yet tears up frequently. She blinks before the opponent and acts faster than expected. She is lethal, but it’s not in her habit. Like other girls of her age, she also has desires, but they don’t dilute her determination. Her transformation is not dramatic, but a natural progression in dangerous circumstances.”
“Despite her combat training, Sehmat can’t seem to negotiate the climbing of a high stool, and there is also the niggling detail that nobody in this Pakistani family, a family of army-men and decoders of intelligence, ever thinks to suspect the Indian girl in their midst.”
“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! It’s the textured use of sound and some superb, textbook camera-work that, experience wise, it almost feels like you’re going through David Fincher’s stellar mystery-thriller Zodiac (2007), no less. This is director Meghna Gulzar’s first outing after Talvar (2015), proving, without doubt, she is at the top of her game.”
“Contains at its core an unlikely comment — perhaps an in-joke even — on marriage. How different is marriage, especially an arranged marriage, from spying? After all, both are new life situations marked by unfamiliar people and milieu. Both demand transformation of identities. Both are united in their pursuits and ends: of uncovering and protecting secrets. The nudge-wink part about Raazi is that, in this thriller, spying and marriage not just mirror each other – thematically – but also complete each other, literally.”
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