Raid movie review: Ajay Devgn, Ileana D’Cruz’s film is repetitive and preachy
Director: Rajkumar Gupta
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Saurabh Shukla, Ileana D’Cruz,
Even as an enraged crowd of armed men hound a hall he has locked himself in, Ajay Devgn is busy gazing at his wife’s photo in his wallet and a romantic number plays in the background. Confused moments like this put a damper on the otherwise decent thriller that Ajay Devgn-starrer Raid is.
Based on the real life story of an Income Tax officer, Raid is about the longest-running Income Tax raid in India’s history. IT officials raided the house of a businessman, and Congress MLA, Sardar Inder Singh in Kanpur on July 16, 1981 and recovered an unprecedented amount of undeclared assets in cash and gold.
After the critically acclaimed Aamir and No One Killed Jessica, director Rajkumar Gupta’s last venture was Vidya Balan’s forgettable affair, Ghanchakkar. Three years later, the filmmaker is back with what he is best at - telling real life stories. And Ajay Devgn’s Raid is the right vehicle for the comeback.
Ajay plays Income Tax officer Amay Patnaik – based on the life of Sharda Prasad Pandey, who was the Income Tax commissioner of Lucknow in 1981 – while Ileana essays the role of his dutiful wife.
Saurabh Shukla essays the role of a menacing and manipulative politician who is clearly a Congress MLA, who is shown meeting ‘Madamji/‘Prime Minister Sahiba’, though we never get to see her face.
Raid is dialogue-heavy, with Gupta relying mainly on Devgn’s intense performance to build his case. Right from his morning tea to a visit to the office, officer Patnaik is all about heavy-duty dialogues that are high on the moral quotient. Not just him, even others tend to speak similar language when the officer is around. While Devgn fans may love these seemingly ‘seeti-worthy’ moments in the film, you are likely to be put off if you aren’t one.
Sample some of the dialogues:
Devgn to Shukla: ‘Aaj tak kisi ko diya hua wapas nahi manga, Pyar aur satkar bhi nahi’.
Here’s another one: ‘Aapke to haath muh Khule hai, fir bhi Raid rukwane ki bheek nahi laa pae!’
You’ve heard Shukla threatening Devgn with his “rajaji ki fauj’, and this is Devgn’s comeback: ‘Rajaji ki Fauj se bada Rajaji ka khazana’.
Shukla talking to his family: ‘Ravan to Parakrami tha paramgyani tha parivaarik tha, usko Raam ne nahi uske bhai Vibhishan ne maara tha!’
Perhaps in an attempt to humanise his lead and add a personal touch to his character graph, Gupta has invested way too much time on Devgn and Ileana’s chemistry. Ileana’s pristine presence in crisply-starched sarees and suits do little to add to the narrative and mostly seem like a disruption.
The film picks up pace once the raid begins but after 10 minutes, it seems like a repetition of the same sequences - every wall in the palace of Tauji aka Rameshwar Singh vomits banknotes and most of the pillars cough up gold utensils when hit with an axe! There are moments that might also remind you of Neeraj Pandey’s entertaining thriller that starred Akshay Kumar in the lead, Special 26. However, we must warn you that Raid is nowhere close to that film.
Ajay Devgn is in top form – the silent, brooding, serious and moralistic officer who loves his family but considers duty and country above all of that. We have seen Saurabh Shukla in similarly evil roles and he performs the loud, devilish character of Tauji perfectly. The supporting actors, especially other IT officials, offer an interesting peek into the way our system works and hints at reasons why corrupt politicians and businessmen are able to get their way around the law of the of the land.
With a tighter editing, slightly less focus on the wannabe love story and a lesser dose of melodrama, Raid could have been a gripping thriller.
Watch the Raid trailer:
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