Raazi Review (No SPOILERS): Every Country Has Humans

Well, this was a shockingly good movie!  I highly highly highly recommend it.  Also, I am now in love with Vicky Kaushal.

This is a very small story, a very human level story.  We don’t see the big troop movements, the explosions, any of that.  We just see the household and the people within it.  And our heroine.  And when you keep the story on that human level, suddenly all those big speeches about the country and nationalism and all that start to seem empty.  What does some abstract concept of country matter versus the person in front of you?

It’s a bit of a bait and switch, the trailer and the songs and the promos emphasized the patriotism of the story, how even a fragile young girl was emboldened by the love for India and so on and so on.  And then you watch the movie, and it’s not that at all!  There are patriotic speeches, sure.  But there is also a love story, and a story of a family, and a community, and a father and daughter, and a mother and daughter, and just generally A LOT.  Patriotism is just one part of a person.

The most important lesson is that everyone is patriotic, no one country is necessarily better than another, but you have to choose simply because it is your country and it is right to be loyal to it.  The Pakistanis aren’t terrible villains, they are simply being loyal to their country.  And the Indians aren’t perfect heroes, they are just doing the same.

This is a film that resists the emotional moment at almost every turn.  Not that their are no emotions, but rather than building the audience up to a peak of hatred, or despair, or fear, the camera keeps us a little at a distance.  We can enjoy the story and the puzzle and the pretty house and the clever moments, without feeling over-whelmed by them.  Until the very end, when, finally, our heroine lets herself break down and suddenly it all comes out.

But until then, the other interesting thing about this film is that it is a bit of a female fantasy.  At least as much as spy movies are usually male fantasies.  Our heroine’s love interest, Vicky Kaushal, is the perfect man.  He is handsome and kind and thoughtful, a wonderful reward in the middle of all her fears and struggles.  And our heroine always wins, she is so smart and quick witted, she shows up everyone who doubts her always, it’s a great adventure for little girls to watch and fantasize about being a part of.  Or for older woman to watch, I enjoyed it too!

Oh, and Alia does a predictably wonderful job.  She is a perfect lead for this film, although I am beginning to get a bit tired of the “Alia sobs as her life falls apart around her” scenes.  Let the poor girl smile sometimes!

But while Alia is good, it is the two male leads around her who steal the film.  Vicky Kaushal as a new kind of perfect quiet laidback hero, and Jaideep Ahlawat as the unpredictable spymaster who trains Alia.  And now that I see that, I realize that isn’t a coincidence.  In India, Alia has the withholding complicated amoral spy master, and in Pakistan she has the perfect kind generous husband.  She may love India more, but that doesn’t mean it treats her right.

This film was sold as a patriotic film, but it is not that at all.  It is a female fantasy of being an awesome spy, and a subtle contradiction to patriotism.  There is a reason that the patriotic song in the film is called “Ae Watan”, it simply means “country”, the word “India” is never mentioned.  It is a plea of love for your country, whatever country that is.



14 thoughts on “Raazi Review (No SPOILERS): Every Country Has Humans

  1. This film’s opening day collections were ~ 9 cr, which is respectable, but also, is about twice as much as October, and, I think, is the highest for any “heroine-centric” film in recent times. Please do correct me if I am wrong. So is Alia a bigger star than Varun? It’s an interesting spin on the box office.

    I’m glad it’s an interesting film, on its own, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My knee-jerk reaction is that Alia and Varun are equally big stars, but for once the female lead picture got the catchy soundtrack, the big release, the interesting trailers, and all the rest of it. While the male lead picture was left with an odd script, strange songs, and trailers that were more confusing than intriguing.

      On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 9:27 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • BOI has Raazi’s opening at 7.5 cr, and it is the fourth highest heroine centric film, behind Tanu weds Manu Returns, Mary Kom, and Ragini MMS 2.


    • I’m glad to hear it! That’s almost always my goal, I want people to see more movies and enjoy them more thanks to me. And in this case in particular, it really is a good movie that deserves to be watched.

      On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 5:40 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. I’m intrigued.I’m glad it’s more complex than what the trailer was promising.It’s interesting to explore the psyche of double agents.How does Alia’s character compare with Irrfan Khan who plays another double agent in D-day?


    • I was thinking about that too! There’s not much comparison, because Irrfan builds connections outside of his spy work and then has to realize that even those must be sacrificed. While Alia thinks everything is spywork and doesn’t expect to build real connections.

      Arjun in D-Day would be closer, thinking he was going in with his eyes open and a relationship of convenience, and then surprised when it turned into something more, and heartbroken when it was sacrificed to his mission.

      The whole D-Day team really combines to come close to Alia’s emotions, Huma’s feeling of betraying herself, Irrfan’s loss of family, and Arjun’s heartbreak he wasn’t expecting. Man D-Day is a good movie!!!!

      On Sun, May 13, 2018 at 2:01 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • D Day is in a league of its own. Irrfan was the soul of that film! I’m glad I caught this review. I might have an afternoon sometime this week to catch one film and I’ve been torn between Omerta and Raazi! Are you reviewing Omerta anytime soon?


        • Probably not, Omerta didn’t open big here. Or at all? I’m not sure. Anyway, it’s not in theaters I can get to.

          The real answer to your question is, Vicky Kaushal!!!! You will be in love with him, you should pick Raazi.

          On Sun, May 13, 2018 at 9:14 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • I already love him from Masaan!! And I absolutely love Alia!! But I also love Rajkummar and I’ve recently watched Newton so I’m absolutely torn about it. Omerta is 40 minutes in traffic and maybe a single evening show and Raazi is 10 minutes away and a show every half hour. Maybe I should be a really bad girl and go for two films in one evening 😈


      • I just finished watching Raazi and it was all I expected it to be. D-Day has always been on my top ten Indian film favorite list and this definitely has the same qualities to it. I too am a little tired of the Alia Bhatt roles where her life is falling apart and she tried to be tough until she breaks down in an overwrought scene. I thought the confrontation with Iqbal was done much better than the confrontation with her handler at the end. It was more restrained and terrifying and sad all at the same time.

        Vicky Khaushal is so dreamy and I wanted to lift those scenes of them listening to the records right out of the film and create a new story around it where they get their happy ending.


        • I want that too! A happy ending for Alia and Vicky.

          Maybe the same story, only she is a police officer and his father is connected to a gang boss instead? Like, his father runs the gangster’s charity wing and helps provide a respectable cover for him, Alia’s father is also a police officer and has been working an undercover identity for years, she is fresh out of the academy and given this mission. And then I guess she would kill the servant who is secretly a spy for the gang boss, but not the brother. And maybe the final confrontation would play out with her revealing to Vicky the crimes of his family that he never knew and him heartbrokenly deciding to let her go because his father deserves to be in jail.

          On Sun, Jul 22, 2018 at 9:55 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  3. What I especially loved about the movie was the balanced approach of the director, Meghna Gulzar without taking any side. Although there were a few unconvincing moments in the movie, but still the movie struck the right chords. Alia Bhatt has been growing in stature with each passing year, as far as acting is concerned. What a tremendous performance she has given in Raazi! Very natural. And superb direction too by the dynamic Meghna Gulzar. For the music, “Ae watan” is my favourite


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