Hindi Reviews

Raid Review: A Riveting Drama That Bats For Honest Officers

About 15 minutes into Raid, and after Ajay Devgn’s Amay Patnaik has delivered a punch dialogue with a deadpan face (“I only drink for what I can pay”), the camera zooms into his haven with wife Malini (Ileana D’Cruz). It flits over a home that has been hastily set up — his frequent transfers ensure that — using available resources. But, there’s a lot of joy here. She’s playful, but behind it hides a wife who’s deeply concerned about her brutally honest Income Tax officer husband. He seems too matter-of-fact, but she’s the one thing he seems to care for other than work, the one photo he sees when hope seems to be fading. Theirs is the kind of love story that needs no songs — sadly, we have two — ‘Nit Khair Manga’ and ‘Sanu Ik Pal Chain’, forcibly placed, and that too with Punjabi inflections in a city of Nawabs and with a hero who goes with the surname of Patnaik! But, composer Amit Trivedi’s background music adds to the riveting drama.


Raid celebrates the Income Tax officer, a person often reduced to a footnote in a movie, his/her honesty, and why that breed of people is important to keep the cogs of the country moving. Many might not even identify with Amay’s earnest enthusiasm to toe the line of duty. That kind of eagerness to do good and be right has gone out of fashion in movies. As Amay, Devgn stands taller than he ever did in Singham. He picks up a few goons at some stage, but that’s just an aberration; he prefers speaking. His eyes convey determination and a gentle snigger indicates displeasure. When stopped from entering a club because he’s not wearing shoes, he actually appreciates the man for following rules!

In 1981, Amay and Malini land in Lucknow, after yet another successful raid and the transfer that eventually follows. Once there, he receives a tip-off that consumes him till he gathers enough evidence to conduct a raid on politician Rameshwar Singh (Saurabh Shukla). He leads a team, some of whom are on the payrolls of the bigwig, into White House, Singh’s palatial residence, where they hope to unearth black money running into hundreds of crores. There’s no trace of money till another tip off, and then some more, which leads to gold and currency raining down. So, he’s located the hidden loot, but will Rameshwar, the wounded lion allow him to take it out?

At some stage, when pleas for calling off the raid falls on deaf ears, Rameshwar decides to take things into his own hands. He knows there is a mole at home, but who is it?

These two issues — the mole and how the team will leave the fortress that is the White House, now surrounded by marauding mobs — make up the second half of the movie. It is to director Raj Kumar Gupta’s (Aamir, No One Killed Jessica, Ghanchakkar) credit that you never once move in the second half — even to laugh, even if some of the dialogues (Ritesh Shah) in adaah-laden Hindi are a hoot in the middle of a tense scene.

Some characters stand out simply because they’ve been so well-etched out — Rameshwar’s mother, a wizened old lady with diabetes whose eyes light up at the sight of jalebi at the dining table, and whose smile freezes when her eldest forcibly feeds it to her; and Lallan, Amay’s deputy who bats for the wrong side before being won over by his boss’ sincerity.

When the end seems near, Amay sets aside the rifle in his hands, and waits with resignation. It takes some blaring police sirens to make him smile again. Of course, there’s a transfer waiting. By now, Madam Prime Minister knows of the existence of an officer who said he would heed to her request only if she faxed him a copy, and grudgingly admires him, and understands why the country needs someone like him.

After the movie, college kids tapped at the false ceiling in the lobby of the cinema hall, not in jest, but with near-seriousness and, in a world of scams, almost seemed to believe that honesty is cool too. For that one reason, you must appreciate the director and the star who backed his vision.

Production designer Rita Ghosh has been exemplary with her work; not a single prop screams for attention. The 80s come alive in all its muted glory. Alphonse Roy’s camera brings alive the darkness inside White House, and the kindness of certain others.


For some films now, all we have seen is a listless Ajay Devgn; reviews blamed it on the actor’s disinterest. This film shows that when a director gives him enough to chew on, the performer in Ajay can overtake the pitfalls of stardom. Ileana is a delight as Malini; the kind of wife who probably does not have a career outside of home, but who’s the rock behind her husband. The kind of woman who’s brought bravery as dowry, like her husband says.

Go watch Raid, for taking you back to an idealistic world that does not seem fake, and for making you believe in the system.


The Raid review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.