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Posted at: Mar 16, 2018, 6:32 PM; last updated: Mar 16, 2018, 6:32 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW: RAID

You can Raid this one

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Film: Raid

  • Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
  • Cast: Ajay Devgn, Ileana D'Cruz, Saurabh Shukla
You can Raid this one
A still from Raid

Nonika Singh

To make a full-fledged film on an Income Tax raid requires both imagination and guts. Director Raj Kumar Gupta, no doubt, has both. But is his latest outing Raid the film that epitomizes his twin talents? Now, that is a question that has no easy answers. 

No doubt, at the core of the film is a pertinent issue. Based on an actual Income Tax raid, longest in the history of IT department, the film opens with an attempt to humanise and eulogise its hero Income Tax officer Amay Patnaik (Ajay Devgn). His honesty is established in first few minutes as he makes his entry into a party in the club wearing slippers and drinking his own whiskey. His human side appears as he is seen romancing Ileana D'Cruz, who looks lovely as his wife. A few romantic scenes between the two further establish his upright character. And then begins the raid on a tip off by an insider. 

Indeed, there is no denying the relevance of the subject, especially in today’s times when corruption and black money seem to be high on the government agenda. But, this is 1981 when Indira Gandhi was in power.   Nevertheless, a crusade is a crusade. Besides, Ajay Devgn and Saurabh Shukla are spot on. Neither raise their voice beyond the requisite decibel. Yet, be it the integrity of Devgn’s character or the menace of Saurabh’s… both come through as they emote with an understated assurance. Shukla as the influential Rameshwar “Rajaji” is pitch perfect. From harried to aggressive to cocky to despondent seeking favours from powers above him… not for a minute does he falter! Indomitable, he seems to carry the film on his shoulders. Other members of his extended family, especially his old mother add flesh and meat to Gupta’s realistic métier.

Ritesh Shah’s dialogues are once again close to real life, even when he brings on the reference of Ramayana and foregrounds the righteousness of the protagonist. The verbal volleys between his lead players too are well pitched, yet not over the top. To Saurabh, he doesn’t give too many menacing dialogues. Only a few filmy lines such as ‘Koi officer machaar maarne bhi nahi aa sakta…’ already seen in trailers. Then there is a pungent one ‘Bheed ko kabhi saza nahi hui hai’. Much, however, is said when he forces a jalebi down his mother’s mouth. There are many moments that go beyond the obvious right vs. wrong line, the film adopts. Shukla accidentally perforates the ceiling and amma ji inadvertently gives away the secret... there is mirth and a dash of intrigue too. We too wonder who is ghar ka bhedi here, especially since a secret about Tau’s late wife lingers on. Then the bit about Indira Gandhi (they neither name her or nor show her face) is interesting too.

But this is no nail-biting film that races to a high-on-adrenalin climax. Mercifully, Gupta spares us the tropes as well. Just when you think action hero Devgn will pick up the gun and take on his adversaries who clearly outnumber him by hordes… Devgn holds his horses and we are surprised. The film may not have too many revelations in its folds. After all an Income Tax raid is only about hidden wealth and one has already heard of accounts of it being stashed in the most unlikely places. 

Yet, Raid is not staid but an engaging watch topped by Shukla’s stellar act. By the way Gupta’s promise on the musical front remains unfulfilled, songs just flit by and make little impact. The film, however not exactly a potent statement, strikes home. 

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