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‘Raagdesh’ Movie Review: Tigmanshu’s war flick takes you back to India’s struggle for Independence in 1945

We all are familiar with the story of Subash Chandra Bose Army ‘Azad Hind Fauj’, and how it became an important part in India’s struggle for Independence and Bose’s sudden disappearance.


By   |  Updated On : August 05, 2017 01:26 PM
‘Raagdesh’ Movie Review: Tigmanshu’s war flick takes you back to India’s struggle for Independence in 1945

‘Raagdesh’ Movie Review: Tigmanshu’s war flick takes you back to India’s struggle for Independence in 1945

New Delhi :  

We all are familiar with the story of Subash Chandra Bose Army ‘Azad Hind Fauj’, and how it became an important part in India’s struggle for Independence and Bose’s sudden disappearance.

The story of ‘Raagdesh’ basically revolves around the three decorated officers of ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ and the trial against the three young soldiers – a Hindu, a Muslim, a Sikh (Prem Sehgal, Shah Nawaz Khan and Gurbaksh Dhillon). The trial which took place in 1945, was meant to be a showcase of colonial superiority of the British.

National Award-Winning Director Tigmanshu Dhulia, who is known for making different kind of cinema in which his characters bring out a narrative and leaves an impression on the audience. The characters of ‘Raagdesh’ sought to bring out nationalism and patriotism which became more of a movement than sentiments in 1945.

With the starcast of Mohit Marwah, Amit Sadh, Kunal Kapoor and Kenny Desai in the key roles, ‘Raagdesh’ manages to create a sense of curiosity amongst the audience. So, if you are planning to watch the flick, take a look at the quick review of ‘Raagdesh’ by leading dailies.

Here’s ‘Raagdesh’ Movie Review:

Indian Express: The story is told through a series of flashbacks and the trial of three young soldiers (Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh and Mohit Marwah) of the INA, charged with murder and treason, whose case is fought by the celebrated lawyer Bhulabhai Desai (Kenny Desai). Through the eyes of the three soldiers— a Hindu, a Sikh, and a Muslim–we see how a remarkable ‘army’ was born, and how ‘desh ki azaadi’ was also its motto, even if its ways were so antithetical to Mahatma Gandhi ‘s nonviolent struggle. The war scenes are plentiful but you can’t help seeing the clunkiness (when will Bollywood make a film like, for example, the recent Dunkirk, which you can slam on many counts but not in the solid recreation of battle scenes). And the back-and-forthing between the past and present is not as clear as it could be, given the complexity of the events the film is trying to unravel. Making the three INA soldiers represent the religious diversity of the Indian people could have been a wonderful device, given the times we are passing through, but it comes off clichéd. And with a few exceptions (Sadh, Verma, and Desai, who excel in a few moments) the performances feel forced. Raag Desh has lofty ambition, but the stagey treatment lets it down. The definitive INA film is still to be made.

NDTV: Raag Desh is part war film, part legal procedural. But above all, it is a drama designed as a reminder of the sacrifices of brave men and women - the INA had a full-fledged Rani Jhansi regiment commanded by Lakshmi Swaminathan (Mrudula Murali), who was to later marry Prem Sehgal - presented in the larger context of the struggle for independence. The film constantly harps on the fact that of the three under-trials are Hindu, Muslim and Sikh respectively - representatives of a diverse nation in the making. It was only natural that their fate fired up people across India in the years leading up to Independence.

Scroll.in: Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Raag Desh provides a snappy history of the Indian National Army through the court-martial of three of its soldiers at Delhi’s Red Fort in 1945. The trial, one among many, was meant to be a showcase of the colonial imprimatur on its vast colony. Prem Sehgal, Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon and Shahnawaz Khan were being tried for the specific act of killing deserters during battle with the British forces and the general act of treason against the Crown. The Congress mounted a legal defence, led by Mumbai lawyer Bhulabhai Desai, and although the men were found guilty, their sentences were commuted after unrest raged across the country.

Hindustan Times: The actual film begins when trials start and the British regime decides to handle it with an iron fist. Raag Desh finds its flow here and Tigmanshu Dhulia slowly absorbs us into the terrific detailing of the case. Bhula Bhai Desai (Kenneth Desai), a lawyer on the verge of retirement, helps Dhulia in getting the perfect narrative tone for the film. Dhulia doesn’t manipulate the court proceedings to earn our sympathy. After all, it’s a film with heavy patriotic fervour, nobody would have minded that, but he sticks to the facts and narrates the story of all the major characters from a neutral perspective. The back and forth in narration hampers the flow, though. There is a strange thing about patriotic films. You know what’s going to happen, but your eyes still get moist when it happens. The same will happen to you as well when Kadam Kadam Badhaaye Jaa will play on the screen. This 137-minute soldier versus traitor story is totally worth your time.

First Published: Friday, July 28, 2017 05:41 PM


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