Banners: T-Series, Panorama Studios
Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan
Kumar, Kumar Mangat Pathak,
Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Ileana D’Cruz, Saurabh
Shukla, Amit Sial, Amit Bimrot, Sheeba
Chaddha, Pushpa Joshi
Writer: Ritesh Shah
Music: Tanishk Bagchi, Amit Trivedi
The review of this film can be summarised in a few lines, such as: Raid is a film that should have been made and watched by one and all; it is a perfect example of how to make a commercial film with content that makes you learn something; the film is entertaining and engaging throughout and that’s the charm of it.
Here’s a BIG shout-out to the people who backed the film, the director who conceived it, the writer who penned it and all the actors, beginning with leading man Ajay Devgn, who live their characters to the fullest. A perfect example of victorious team… that’s Raid.
When the trailer of Raid released, it intrigued the audience, as it is the first time in Bollywood, or in any other film industry, that a movie solely based on Income Tax (IT) raids has been made. The film has many advantages – a strong director like Raj Kumar Gupta, producers like Bhushan Kumar and Kumar Mangat Pathak, and of course, stellar performers like Ajay Devgn and Saurabh Shukla. Fortunately for everyone, which also includes the audience, the film does justice to all.
After giving us movies like Aamir and No One Killed Jessica, which dealt with intense public issues, Gupta’s idea of making a film on this real-life issue was a surprise move, especially since it has a seemingly limited premise. But he uses every bit of that potential to its advantage to deliver a strong outcome.
The story is about an honest-to-a-fault Income Tax officer Amay Patnaik (Ajay Devgn), who moves to Lucknow with his wife Malini (Ileana D’Cruz). A month into his posting, Amay gets cryptic pieces of information about tons of black money being hidden by Tauji (Saurabh Shukla), the local karta-dharta and political baahubali. After gathering evidence on the same, Amay decides to raid Tauji’s house with his team of officers, to look for `420 crore in black money. With Amay leaving no stone unturned to unearth the moolah in the longest recorded raid in Indian history and Tauji using every trick in the book to stop him, the story takes on twists and turns to form the crux of the film.
The first person that needs to be commended for Raid, being the gripping movie that it is, is writer Ritesh Shah. The script, screenplay and dialogue have all been penned by him and he has nailed the trifecta. While the script of the film is simple, with the linear storyline of an IT officer conducting a hard-hitting raid on a powerful politician’s house, the well-written screenplay makes sure that there is freshness in the execution. The dialogue of the film is simply phenomenal, especially when essayed so effortlessly by seasoned actors. The banter between Amay and Tauji in the film goes through degrees of emotions, from cheeky to angry to funny, which balances the mood in the scenes.
Director Raj Kumar Gupta makes sure that even though the subject is serious, Raid doesn’t lack entertainment. With situational comedy and smart, straight-faced one-liners, the audience gets a good laugh.
He also stays true to the outline of his characters. The good guy and the bad guy are clearly defined but there is no predictable, physical altercation between them, no masala-movie display of fighting skills, which helps the story maintain its realism.
Another plus for Gupta is the way he uses his supporting characters. While Devgn and Shukla clearly steal the show with their hero-villain chemistry, the other actors make for a strong support system to the movie, ranging from powerful and pivotal to hilarious.
A scene which proves this, is the one where the director, maintaining the authenticity of the time the film is set in, gives the audience a not-so-subtle indication of a certain female politician who had held a high position at the time and the weight the scene has on the story. What a master stroke!
Gupta has achieved something with Raid that not many directors can do in today’s time. He takes the classic subject of good versus bad and treats it so well that it has the audience invested throughout the film, one way or another.
Musically, the recreations of Nit khair manga and Sanu ek pal are pleasing and help establish the personal life of the central character. The other tracks, Black and Jhuk na paunga, are aptly picked for the narrative, making the music collaboration of composers Tanishk Bagchi and Amit Trivedi, an appealing one.
Cinematography by Alphonse Roy is good even though there isn’t much scope for him to explore the yesteryear, small-town essence of Lucknow and Rae Bareli, where the principal shooting took place. A shout-out to Bodhaditya Banerjee for editing the film and keeping it crisp at two hours long. He makes sure no scene drags.
Performance-wise, Ajay Devgn plays the no-nonsense government servant once again but this time sans the punches. He pulls off his serious face amazingly and blends with the character well. As always, he’s outstanding. Ileana D’Cruz makes her presence felt in the screen time she has. Saurabh Shukla proves he can play any role with ease as he portrays the entertaining yet intimidating villain. Amit Sial is superb. Amit Bimrot is okay. Sheeba Chaddha is good. A special mention to 85-year-debutante actress Pushpa Joshi, who cracks you up with her wit every time she is on screen. Joshi’s presence and performance is one of the highlights of the film.