RAW Looks Like A Film Made After Pulwama (But It Is Not)

 Like Alia Bhatt in Raazi , John Abraham  is  air-dropped into Pakistan(don’t miss those  fluttering  green flags  with moon crescents)  by  a gravelly-voiced Intelligence officer Jackie Shroff who reminds Dear  John  that country comes first.

John looks all clenched-jawed and  determined. His only condition ? Please  look after myAmmi , no matter what happens.

Ammi is fine. But what  about  our  spy hero’s love interest? Slinking in  the shadows  isMouni Roy.  Clearly she has  no say in what goes across  the border.

RAW(Romeo  Akbar Walter)  is  the story of an Indian intelligence officer spying in Pakistan.  It  seems  to be  yet another effort after Parmanu for  John Abraham to  grab some of the patriotic space from Akshay  Kumar. This film could have easily starred Akshay(for  the record it was started with Sushant Singh Rajput but  ended  with  our  strong-and-silent Mr  Abraham).

From the trailer,  there are two  things that emerge clearly from the dark whispering waves  of  espionage during times  of  stressful peek  into the biryani bartan  in the neighbour’s kitchen. My fear  , from watching the trailer , is that there may  be an excessive dependence  on  John’s  limited  acting abilities  in a  script that has been written to  aggrandize the  leading man’s fan  base.John enjoys  getting into  the  shoes  of  a  hair-lipped Everyman who  will blend  into  the enemy country.

 I  liked  the played-down jingoism in the  presentation which  was  also the  USP of Uriwhich saw that film  become  a  blockbuster. I am  sure the makers  of  RAW are  hoping to  cash in on the  current climate  of  aggressive  infiltration into the enemy territory to become another  Uri. But the  thing about  Uri was that it didn’t aspire  to be a flag-waving  homage to the cinema  of  Manoj Kumar and J P Dutta.

The trailer  of RAW  is  somehow not the dizzying espionage thriller we  would like it to be.  It seems  restricted  in  its  thematic resonance and  also  delimited  by   a cramped spatial disharmony  evident in the   hemmed-in  places where  stealth secrecy  and suspense  is attempted to be created.  

All this may just not matter  because  Indians  want to see  Pakistan  bring  brought   down to its  knees.Romeo  Akbar Walter(RAW) falls right  in the category  of topical films. What  I liked was  the projection  of  John not as an  action hero  but a  ‘reaction’ hero. He  is shown holding back his spleen opting for understatement  instead of extravagant aggression.

 But them  I may be wrong. The  restraint we see  in the trailer of RAW  could be  a budgetary   consideration. But then  it could  also be  a freedom of  aspiration that comes  to a director who has  nothing to lose(in this case Robbie Garewal who hasn’t seen  much success) and  a leading man who has  just convinced  himself  he could be as  successful asAkshay Kumar provided  the patriotic card  is played well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSHjC8VdzCM

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