By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Raid”; Director: Raj Kumar Gupta; Cast: Ajay Devgn, Saurabh Shukla, Ileana D’Cruz, Gayathri Iyer, Ajay Singh, Amit Sial,; Rating: **1/2
Of late, there has been a string of films inspired by true events. The latest to join the list is Director Raj Kumar Gupta’s “Raid”.
Designed to glorify the unsung heroes namely the Income Tax officers who work to make the Indian economy run smoothly, the film portrays one such officer Amay Patnaik (Ajay Devgn). How he relentlessly and honestly goes about his duty ensuring that the government gets its due from defaulting tax-payers, forms the crux of the tale.
The story written by Ritesh Shah is set in the early 1980s. It is a laboured, one dimensional tale which involves the incorruptible and fearless Amay who after getting tipped by a secret source, raids the premises of the well-connected business tycoon and the most powerful man in Lucknow – Rameshwar Singh aka Tauji (Saurabh Shukla).
The raid spans over a couple of days with Rameshwar trying to use all his clout to put a spanner into the proceedings.
While the message against corruption is strong, the plot pivoting around just one case, seems stretched with verbal deliberations and one-upmanship between the hero and the antagonists and overtones of romance and concern between the hero and his wife Malini (Ileana D’Cruz).
Also, the Raid, which is a battle against evil – read corruption, seems to have a diluted effect, not because mythology is dragged into the dialogues, but because Tauji was actually ignorant of how, “so much black money was stacked in his own house”. This is definitely a sore point in the plot. It diminishes the aura of the antagonist and thereby plummets the film notches down the relatability grade.
While the first half of the film is engrossing, the second half turns into a comic exposure of serious events.
Ajay Devgn with his intense look and no-nonsense demeanour slips into IT officer Amay Patnaik’s boots effortlessly. He displays his righteousness and sincerity with equal ease, but does nothing to elevate his performance. He is his usual self and we have seen him perform such roles in numerable films earlier. He is aptly paired with Ileana as his concerned and courageous wife. She hardly has anything to offer in terms of histrionics.
Saurabh Shukla as the chief antagonist is in top form. He delivers with all sincerity. But what elevates his performance is the support he gets from the cast who plays his extended family. Each character has their moment of on-screen glory, but the best is his octogenarian mother who is charming with her bluntness. She steals the show from all of them.
On the production front, the film is well-mounted except that in certain scenes, the lighting seems to be an issue. The frames were too dark to enjoy the visuals. While Amish Trivedi and Tanishk Bagchi’s background score has the right timbre for the drama, the songs in the film are an aberration in the narrative. They break the momentum of its intensity.
Overall, with a tinge of patriotism, Raid is a film that gives an insight into how corrupt our country is.