Raid Review: A Harmless Overdose of “Immandari” & all that Jazz
Reviewed by: Sethumadhavan
“Heroes don’t always come in uniform” is what the posters of Raj Kumar Gupta’s latest film Raid proclaim. And you get a sample of the same right at the start of the film when we see a felicitation dinner party being organized for the new head of Lucknow’s income tax department Amay Patnaik (Ajay Devgn) in one of the city’s prestigious clubs. In a scene that nearly reminded me of an old Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar story, Amay is refused entry into the club for not wearing shoes. And it is the businessman host who defuses the situation by enabling a solution, though Amay does use this opportunity to make it clear to everyone that he’s a sincere & honest government official. Not only does he pay for the shoes that were gifted to him, but he also prefers to drink rum instead of expensive whiskey, because that’s what he can afford you see.
Irrespective of whether you’ve seen the promos of Raid or not I’m sure that everyone by now what the core tale of Raid is all about. Amay Patnaik is an honest I.T official who is rewarded for his sincerity with regular transfers, something that his wife Malini (Ileana D’Cruz) is upset with. Amay moves to Lucknow on his latest assignment & very soon he receives anonymous information regarding a huge sum of black money being hoarded by a highly influential businessman and power broker of sorts, Rameshwar Singh aka “Tauji” (Saurabh Shukla). While Amay is convinced that the information is correct and debates upon taking the risk of conducting the high profile raid, he is also aware of the risk involved because he holds no proof of the money being hidden. Listening to his heart and buoyed by Malin’s encouragement, Amay goes on to organize the raid, angering Rameshwar in the process. What happens from thereon is what Raj Kumar Gupta goes about conveying through the film.
The writing by Raj Kumar Gupta and Ritesh Shah definitely is impactful, the narrative does not waste time and we are soon brought face to face with the central plot. There are some interesting, well drawn moments backed with some simple yet effective dialogues which draw the audience attention. Considering that the major part of this 128 minutes long film revolves around the raid, it is to Raj Kumar Gupta’s credit that he manages to hold our attention for a considerable part of the film. The momentum does dip a bit as the film moves towards its finale and by then cinematic liberties appear too jarring for comfort. The songs by Amit Trivedi and Tanishk Bagchi are pleasant to the ears but also act as speed breakers of sorts. Though the film is set in 1981, Raj Kumar Gupta and his DOP Alphonse Roy have shot the film in such a fashion that they’ve probably not had to depend upon something too complex in terms of production design (as it appears) to get the period look right.
While there are multiple characters in the film, with so many members of Rameshwar’s family as well as Amay’s team members being visible during the raid, very few of them actually get enough attention. Amit Sial as Lallan, who strangely transitions quickly from a corrupt official to Amay’s trusted aide, Sheeba Chaddha as Prabha Devi, Rameshwar’s sister in law and Sulagna Panigrahi as Tara could have all been utilised better. The old lady who plays Rameshwar’s mother is the show stealer in the film, her dialogue delivery adding zing to the proceedings. Ileana as Malini plays the ideal foil to Amay, and she is shown as someone with a strong head on her shoulders. Saurabh Shukla as Rameshwar might come across as tad too filmy but he is pretty effective and transitions from someone in command to a scheming bigwig and ultimately to someone who is even helpless in his own inimitable style.
Ajay Devgn plays Amay largely with restraint, staying true to his character. This is easily one of Ajay’s better films in the recent past, especially if you exclude works of Rohit Shetty. Raid is eventually a commercial film which has quite a few aspects that go in its favour, making it worthy of a visit to the cinemas this weekend.
Raid sees Raj Kumar Gupta attempting a commercial film with elements of realism, the end result turning out to be reasonably effective.