Heroes don’t always come in uniforms
Set in the 80s in Uttar Pradesh, India, Raid is based on the true story of one of the most high profile raids India has ever known. Amay Patnaik (Ajay Devgn), an upright and no-nonsense Income Tax officer has already been transferred 49 times in the past seven years owing to his idealistic and courageous disposition to uncover tax frauds, hitting hard the pockets of many a big shot. When Patnaik is assigned the case of Tauji (Saurabh Shukla), a highly influential and feared man in Uttar Pradesh, little does he know that his unerring determination to bring Tauji to justice would culminate in the longest and most challenging raid of his career and also the history of the Income Tax Department of India. ‘Would Amay succeed in the facing of increasingly stubborn and belligerent Tauji?’ forms the crux of the story.
On the morning of 16th July 1981, the Income Tax Commissioner of Lucknow Sharda Prasad Pandey raided the house of the Congress MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) Sardar Inder Singh. This raid is said to be the longest-running raid in India’s history. From Sardar Inder Singh’s home exceptional amount of undocumented possessions were found.
Although this film is based on this story, it is not an accurate depiction of what actually happened. It is a creative interpretation of the incident that took place.
The story definitely has a ‘feel good’ aura to it with its concept of war, good v/s evil. It arouses a feeling of satisfaction and optimism amongst the viewers; at least it did for me. Far from being a typical masala movie, Raid is almost entirely shot in one location. Of course, there are some masala elements in the movie but they do not overpower or steal away from the essence of the movie. In the beginning, there is also a blooming romance taking place.
You might wonder how romance fits into a movie based on a fight against corruption and exploitation of power. Despite romance not being a core element in the movie, showing it was important in order to understand the connection between the husband (Pandey) and his wife. It shows how the wife understands the risks related to her husband’s work and how she supports him in his stance for integrity and justice. No matter how upright Pandey already is, he probably wouldn’t have been able to do his job properly if he did not have the support of his wife.
Along with being an inspiring movie, the film had a good blend of comedy in it which prevents it from getting too monotonous. The formula of subtle comedy works wonderfully for this movie and is put together well.
Even the character development is done quite well and I couldn’t spot any noteworthy flaws. The only slight glitch for me was when the officer made an arrogant decision which added some drama which spanned about half the movie. Not saying that the dramatic element was bad, but I would have appreciated if the movie did a closer take on the actual events that had occurred. That would have made this even more interesting for me.
The movie actually starts off really slow which puts a damper on the thrill element of an action-packed high-power bust. Yet, despite the movie picking up its pace after the slow beginning, it again loses its grip around intermission. It also loses its element of surprise (about the question of the identity of the person who gave the tip for the raid), as because of certain scenes it becomes fairly obvious who was the tipper. The movie also felt unnecessarily stretched at times. However, despite it, all the ending scenes bring back a sense of excitement and thrill to the story.
The music was nothing special and I didn’t think that the songs added any value to the story. They were simply there for entertainment purposes, yet thankfully, they did not pose to be huge obstacles in the story either. However, the songs did break the continuity in the story which is essential in such adaptations of real-life incidences but if you are used to Bollywood movies then you will find that this was no big deal if you consider the bigger picture.
The romance, however, was a bit overdone for my tastes and it sometimes broke the continuity here and there. But I assure you it is not a make or break deal and can be mostly overlooked.
Saurabh Shukla has, yet again, delivered a memorable performance. He is exceptionally good at portraying the thug-like politician in the movie. In fact, both the main characters are brilliant. Ajay Devgn shines in these types of roles but I think his performance was slightly lacking in this movie compared to his other works. His screen presence is not as powerful as his other films. Not saying that he is bad, but he is not exactly at his best here either. Ileana D’cruz is very likeable as a typical Indian wife. Thankfully, her role is not simply a showpiece to sell the movie and actually has some worth to it. She is definitely worth her salt in her tiny role in this film.
Even though it is not the best that is out there, I would still recommend this film. It is definitely worth a one-time watch.
I think India is pretty well known for its high levels of corruption. Despite how many might think or react to the issue of corruption in India, I think this is not simply an issue for the law or politicians to handle. It is something which has to be enforced by the people. The people need to join together to overthrow the amassed power of the politicians and bureaucratic clout. Sharda Prasad Pandey was just one man, if he could make such a difference then if the people of India came together then a chance can certainly take place.
But, at the same time, with the rampant poverty existing in India, even in a democracy if people do not have their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing fulfilled, then one certainly can’t expect them to speak up against corruption. Unfortunately, the issue of corruption is not as easy to deal with as one thinks. Not everyone can be as fearless as Pandey in a fight against of the most powerful class of people in India. Yet, I might not know when corruption would end in India but we certainly need more people like Pandey to inspire the people of this country and continue the fight against corruption.
Good performances by the leads and a ‘feel good’ factor. A strong recommendation for a one-time watch.
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