RAID – Solid potential of a thriller, minus the tension

Set in the times where income tax evaders were popular for stashing cash and gold in the most frugal but innovative ways, RAID is based on the true event of one such longest running incident against a powerful businessman of Lucknow.  

Confined space, limited characters and predictable storyline – these single dimension elements make it rather challenging to break the monotony of a typical conflict between morality and power. Despite the odds, the director manages to keep the audience glued at most times. Much of this holding lies with the protagonist Ajay Devgn and the antagonist Saurabh Shukla both of whom are intensely true to their characters but are only their usual best. An honest government official who fights the corrupt is almost Devgn’s default personality. He delivers pithy one-liners while blinking his eyes in slow motion for the added effect.  Shukla’s impeccable delivery and stares are enough to steal the show from almost everyone else in the frame. There is a whole brood of brothers and their wives who keep appearing now and then with only essential dialogues and almost no value. Except for the grandmother, of course, her humorous modesty is almost crucial to the narrative.

Also, there is Ileana D’Cruz representing the brave wives of officers. She carries lunchboxes and interrupts important proceedings, that’s that. Amit Sial as Lallan is refreshing to watch and adds the much-needed quirk to the drama.

RAID scores well on staying close to reality albeit the grungy background of a rich mansion. It manages to emphasize on the risky environments of such operations and steers away from any melodrama or forced heroism. But the unembellished movement itself becomes slightly repulsive as everything gets predictable. The second half is almost a drag with a pace that is so procedural of Bollywood that it accommodates two romantic and one tragic song in the middle of a gruelling Raid. With solid potential, we only wish the editing was more tight ends tauter.

It isn’t a ‘paisa vasool’ pulse-raising thriller, but definitely a onetime watch.

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