Junglee Pictures and Dharma Productions’ Raazi (UA) is the story of Sehmat, a young and innocent college-going girl from India.
Sehmat Khan’s (Alia Bhatt) father, Hidayat Khan (Rajit Kapur), works as a secret service agent for the Indian government. He is friends with Pakistan’s Brigadier Syed (Shishir Sharma). When Hidayat learns that he has only a few days left to live because of a tumour detected in his lungs, he asks his daughter to carry on with his work of a secret service agent. Towards this end, he fixes Sehmat’s marriage to Brigadier Syed’s son, Iqbal Syed (Vicky Kaushal). Before the nikaah, Sehmat is trained by Khalid Mir (Jaideep Ahlawat) so that she could become adept at all things, a spy ought to know, like code language, transmitting information, self-defence etc.
Sehmat comes to Pakistan not just as Iqbal’s wife and Brigadier Syed’s daugther-in-law but also as an Indian spy. While the Syed family thinks, she is a simple and dutiful wife, she is actually passing on incriminating information – that too, from right under the noses of her husband and in-laws. This information, which proves that Brigadier Syed and other Pakistani armymen are planning to attack India, is used by the Indian intelligence. Abdul (Arif Zakaria), an Indian by birth, works in the Syed household in Pakistan. He seems to not be very fond of Sehmat.
Sehmat often goes to the market place where she connects with Indian spies who are under cover. Slowly, Sehmat has to resort to the ultimate for her safety – and this includes trying to murder Abdul, the loyal house help of the Syeds, and Brigadier Syed’s older son, Mehboob (Ashwath Bhatt). And then, the Pakistan government gets information that secret messages had been transmitted to India from the Syed residence. The Pakistan government wants to trace the culprit in the Syed household.
So, is Sehmat now safe in her marital home in Pakistan? Will her husband find out the truth about her? Will Sehmat’s father-in-law get her arrested? Will the Indian government save her? Or will Sehmat die in Pakistan?
The film is based on Harinder S. Sikka’s novel, Calling Sehmat, which itself is based on a true-life story. The spy drama is thrilling and supremely exciting. The story keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, making them skip a heartbeat or two on several occasions. The intrigue and the thrill keep the audiences so engaged right from the word ‘go’ that they would actually not feel like even blinking their eyes. The screenplay, written by Bhavani Iyer and Meghna Gulzar, is equally thrilling and very fast-moving. It has a lot of twists and turns, and the viewers sit in rapt attention, with their eyes glued to the screens. The scenes in which Sehmat risks her life to lay her hands on secret information are breathtaking. The scenes in which Sehmat speaks in code language are extremely interesting as the audience tries to guess what message she is passing on and what message is being passed on to her. The scenes in which she breaks down are heart-rending. The scene in which she confronts Khalid Mir in the climax is so impactful that it shakes the audience. There are some clap-trap moments too in the screenplay. Meghna Gulzar’s dialogues are fantastic and appeal to both, the mind and the heart.
Alia Bhatt’s performance is outstanding. The film rests on her shoulders and she delivers such a commendable performance that she can easily pick up awards for it. She has looked pretty and her acting is mesmerising. If she scares you with her daredevilry, she tugs at your heart strings with her emotional outbursts. Her climax scene with Jaideep Ahlawat (Khalid Mir) is absolutely mind-boggling. Vicky Kaushal gives a beautifully restrained performance as Iqbal Syed. He has limited dialogues to mouth and limited scenes too but he does a fine job. Jaideep Ahlawat is first-rate as Khalid Mir. In the scene in which he impersonates a Pakistani armyman, he shows his range as an actor. Rajit Kapur marks his presence in a brief role. Shishir Sharma does a fine job as Brigadier Syed. Soni Razdan lends fine support as Sehmat’s mother. Amruta Khanvilkar lends good support in the role of Sehmat’s sister-in-law. Ashwath Bhatt makes his presence amply felt as Sehmat’s brother-in-law, Mehboob Syed. Arif Zakaria (as Abdul) is terrifying, using his cold stares to great advantage. Aman Vashishth leaves a mark as Nikhil Bakshi. Kanwaljit Singh is decent in a special appearance. Sanjay Suri adds star value in a special appearance. Jairoop Jeevan (as General Beig), Pallavi Batra (as Mitali), Pramod Pathak (as Kabir Murtaza), Simran Sachdeva (as Pallavi Murtaza),Ikatar Singh (as driver Wasim), Navdeep Bandhu (as driver Rafiq), Sima Pari (as Shyama), Gulista Alija (as Salma), Balendar Singh (as driver Ismail), Amol Deshmukh (as Col. Siddiqui), Rajesh Jais (as Sarvar), Veer Samra (as Nafisa), Deepak Saini (as the tailor in Lahore), Syed Rizwan (as the perfume seller), Ankur Tripathi (as Imtiyaz), Sukesh Mishra (as Saadiq), Kanika Dang (as Suraiya Siddiqui), Dharmik Vipul Joisar (as Zain Beig), Hearty Singh (as Anwar Siddiqui), Nilofer Gesawat (as Nazima Beig), Sanjay Gurbaxani (as Commodore Basu), Jogi (as Admiral Nair), Yogesh Sahota (as Siddiqui’s driver) and the others provide the desired support.
Meghna Gulzar’s direction is excellent. She has handled the thriller tautly and with the sensitivity it deserves. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is appealing. The ‘Aye watan’ song is very nice and will become more popular. The ‘Dilbaro’ number is also very tuneful. Gulzar’s lyrics are extraordinary. Jay I. Patel’s cinematography is superb. Production designing (by Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray) is lovely. Nitin Baid’s editing is very sharp.
On the whole, Raazi is a box-office winner and will keep all concerned very happy. The story, script, direction and, of course, Alia Bhatt, will ensure that people flock to the cinemas.