Raazi reviews: Alia Bhatt shines in this espionage drama

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The story is simple. After her training with a Pakistani Army officer Iqbal Syed as an Indian spy.

This is 1971. The diplomatic relationship between India and Pakistan is tense because of Mujibur Rahman's activities in East Pakistan. Sehmat is married with a single goal. Her assignments include trespassing the uncharted territories and making key information available to the Indian government. She was an inexperienced college girl.

Meghna's direction is brilliant in that it manages to fit the long story in little over two hours.

Alia though doesn't transform into the tough, level-headed agent, she needs to be.

The cast of the movie is what makes the movie. May be, because she is a woman, a Kashmiri and the daughter of a spy (The Pakistanis were under the impression that Sehmat's father was on their side). She doesn't overdo it. Sikka says that his novel is about the real essence of patriotism shown by Sehmat Khan and her family, and also about the loyalty of the Kashmiris for India. Vicky Kaushal, who is himself an accomplished actor, is then a cherry on the cake.

It takes one great poet to quote another great poet, regardless of political ideology or religion.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music goes well with the film, and a special pat on the back is in order for the instantly-catchy riff of "Ae Watan".

The songs of the movie have gathered much appreciation.

Though the 140-minute movie piles on the implausibilities and the Pakistanis prove to be as gullible and clueless as in the book, the events are injected with enough suspense to draw out the gasps. Meghna's detailed characterisation of each of the prominent players and her treatment of the spy subject (that leans more towards the emotional and less towards the explosive), makes this thriller a complete treat. As per the reviews, there is hardly anything that you won't like about the film.

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! Meghna Gulzar basks in the quietude that underscores the turmoil of a soul tormented by the guilt of her betrayal. She doesn't get caught up in the jingoism of it.

She is, after all, a Muslim, and a Kashmiri Muslim. The trailer of the flick introduced us to the courageous Sehmat, for whom nothing matters than her country. That leads to a confused Alia, who lets out one too many shrieks during the movie. Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Meghna Gulzar hosted the screening where we saw celebs like Manushi Chhillar, Karan Johar and Swara Bhasker rooting for the film. Watch it for Jaideep Ahlawat and Shishir Sharma.

Kunal Guha of Mumbai Mirror gave 3.5 stars to the movie and said it is a relevant watch.

Overall, Raazi celebrates the spy-thriller genre and proves good content prevails.

One of the best things in the flick is that the Director has resisted any temptation of bringing in jingoism or crass nationalism in the film. Vicky Kaushal, who made his name with the film Masaan, and Rajit Kapur co-star. Just don't get caught up in the intricacies of the film. As a result, the film is competently crafted but never gripping.

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