It's been a long while since I saw a spy thriller that is based on history and in Hindi, I can't remember once since "Madras Cafe". Forget those "TIGER" movies, they are Salman Khan movies and not typical spy thrillers. So there is a dearth of compelling spy thrillers in Indian Cinema and here comes one and indeed this is a good one.
It is dramatic and thrilling all at once and yet the driving force in the movie are basic human emotions. Yes, patriotism is an emotion and it instigates the plot and after that, the human emotions of compassion, belonging, survival and pride take over and thus make it a more emotional film than a typical spy thriller. When I asked myself, how many times my patriotism was put to test, then the answer would be only when I see Sport. My patriotism comes to the fore when I see an Indian Cricket Match or Hockey or see Indian athletes in Olympic or world events. So apart from cheering our Indian sportspersons, my patriotism was never seen. Yet, when I see this film where each side wants to do something for their nation by serving through spies and military, my respect goes higher for them. I believe those who do anything for their family or for the nation or for the society at large have a better purpose of life than those who have individualistic goals.
To give away a hint of the plot, it's a film based on the book "Calling Sehmat" by Lt Commander Harinder Sikka. It's admirable how a book has been adopted without any voiceover or sensational background music. Even a patriotic song comes as the one that a teacher teaches school kids. There is no spoon feeding or preach about patriotism whatsoever and that is what I loved most about this film.
I am told that is indeed a True Story and there is authenticity in the film. Kashmir is not just about Pashmina silk or Dal Lake or Natural beauty. Kashmir is just another state in India that shares the border with Pakistan and Kashmir also has individuals who want to serve India. This aspect was something that touched me because we have often seen in films like "Roja" that even Kashmiris want freedom from India and while that is one point of view, Kashmiris fighting for India is another point of view.
Loved Alia Bhatt in the role of Sehmat Khan. I resisted watching this film in the theater as I was apprehensive if Alia could do justice but I was pleasantly surprised and now I am happy for making the right decision to go watch the film in the theater. Among the performances, I rate Jaideep Ahlawat's performance as Mir the highest and his dryness and composure added a lot to the character.
The editing was wonderful and the cinematography was just amazing. The most impressive of all the technical departments were costume design and production design. Just kudos for all those who put their heart out to make it look authentic and detailed. The dialogues are worth the money and are fulfilling. Just super happy to have seen a full-fledged Urdu film that has a lot of deeper meaning in almost every line. There is fun deciphering the dialogues.
Thanks to Meghna Gulzar and I am sure Gulzar Saab would have been proud of her daughter when he saw this film. I truly wish, she keeps rolling such wonderful films.
A 4/5 for this thriller that is for the intelligent and involved audience. I shall watch the movie multiple times for sheer dialogue.