After Talvar, Meghna Gulzar’s last film, she is all set to narrate us a unique story of pastel-clad spy Sehmat, a true story adapted from Harinder Sikka’s novel Sehmat Calling. She’s vulnerable but determined to do anything for her “vatan”. The film not only shows the patriotism but also portrays the righteousness of the character. Her devotion to her family and wedded family and getting tossed around emotionally.
With a period drama like Raazi, it is very important to handle the responsibility of directorial craft. “I was pretty faithful to the core story of the book. You will have to take certain liberties to make it cinematic. I’ll give you an example. In a book, it is said she was trained for two months and then was married off to Iqbal. But in movies, we can’t show that. We need to thresh out that part. At that point in terms of cinematic background, we have to use our own creativity”, said Meghna.
The India – Pakistan ties have always been unpredictable whether in 1971 or 2018. Now in this era when patriotism of an individual is always questioned, Raazi displays a selfless patriotism for the country where the heroine is ready to sacrifice everything for the country. “This is the story from 1971. The principles, idols of people from that period were quite different from today. You see as the society keeps on progressing, the sentiments of the people gradually change. The type of patriotism we have discussed in Raazi might appear unfamiliar in today’s world but since it’s a true story it will raise the question that whether we still have those sentiments for our country or not”, stated Meghna.
But is it the first time the Hindi Film Industry has offered patriotism to us through the films? We have Rang de Basanti, Swades, Pinjar, A Wednesday that were uniquely made and earned accolades. Since the youth have a different opinion when it comes to portraying love for the country, will Raazi be able to come out as an eye opener and create a debate among the viewers?
“You know what if Raazi manages to bring back those patriotic feelings back, I can’t think of anything happier than that”, Meghna said. “Not that we intended to start out like that. For us, it was a very powerful story that we wanted to tell. But if by any chance people start questing what is the essence of patriotism, what is the feeling of loving your country and sacrifice for your country and if it opens the way for introspection, I’ll be very happy.”
Sehmat (name changed) portrayed by Alia, is a very strong and inspiring character in the Indian history of heroes. The Kashmiri woman who married a Pakistani Army Officer single-handedly provided the Indian Intelligence with information through her wit and courage. Gulzar said, “She is not a superhuman. There is a vulnerability to her and that quality stays with her till the end of her story.” The film deals with contradictions like a spy who is always demure unlike other bad-ass spies, wifely duties on one hand and agenda on other. Meghna agrees that the film is full of dualities and she wants to celebrate it. On the face of it, the film may come across as this espionage drama or thriller and also a huge upheaval that moves along with it.
When some people numbly witness the misdemeanors around them, there are many unsung heroes who broke the norms their way with determination, courage and the fighter spirit in them. When asked about them Meghna said, “For me, the army people, who take so many burdens and face a lot of difficult times, stay at adverse conditions to protect us, our country and are less talked about, they are the unsung heroes.”