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Raag Desh Review by Nihit Bhave on The Times Of India
Writer-Director Tigmanshu Dhulia has chosen to narrate an incredibly interesting anecdote from our freedom struggle. The hard work of his four-member research team and two-member writing team is evident, even if the movie feels similar to 1992’s A Few Good Men in treatment. Whether the story needed to be told in a non-linear fashion is debatable, but it mostly gets the point across. In a lot of ways, it educates you about the socio-political climate of the time. However, its educational quality is its bane.
Raag Desh Review by Rohit Vats on Hindustan Times
What matters is Amit Sadh resurfaces as an able actor after a long time. Kunal Kapoor’s matured take on the life of Shah Nawaz Khan is another plus of Raag Desh. Mohit Marwah also holds his ground and infuses seriousness into the film. 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.
Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
When the subject itself is still so charged and propulsive, and the director is Tigmanshu Dhulia who has such an acute sense of place and context, you expect a great tango of both story and substance from Raag Desh.
Review by Rohit Bhatnagar on Deccan Chronicle
Raag Desh is an average film with an untold factual story. The film could have been much better plus in the era of commercial films, Raag Desh is a niche in its own genre. If you are still patriotic to watch such a film in 2017, then Raag Desh isn’t a bad watch.
Review by Gaurang Chauhan on Bollywood Life
Despite the brilliant performances, detailing and casting, the film suffers due to its slow pacing, especially in the second half and the implementation of few scenes. Also I am a fan of non-linear story-telling but here it often confuses rather than leaving you intrigued or amused. If you are an impatient kind, you might lose the track in the first 20 minutes itself. The subplots were mostly uncalled for, especially the one featuring a half baked romance between Prem and Laxmi. Also despite its apt detailing the film lags behind other films in the same genre be it The Legend Of Bhagat Singh, Rang De Basanti etc and that’s because it isn’t as engaging as those films were. The film might also feel like a boring history lesson for those who are of an impatient nature.
Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
Raag Desh blends details drawn from extensive research and some amount of fiction to rustle up a narrative that has enough drama to keep the audience engaged through its run time of two and a quarter hours. It isn’t quite your average edge-of-the-seat thriller, but it abounds in scenes that hit home with their inherent intensity and emotional resonance. Given the increasingly fractious times that we live in and the cynical political manipulations that are currently afoot, one has no reservations in recommending Raag Desh as the film to watch ahead of all the other Bollywood releases of the week.
Review by Sameeksha on News18
Raag Desh doesn’t meet the requirements of the historical epic in terms of its production values, pace, and entertainment, but does give the genre’s basic requirement of historical information dipped in nationalist sentiments, from top to bottom. Dhulia initially wanted to show the story as a 6 part TV series, and it would’ve been better if he had followed that plan instead of crystallising everything within 2:30 hours. The facts crumple upon the plot and the unnecessary humanising of the three ‘bravehearts’ just bring the pace and temperament of the film down.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
The actors, Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh and Mohit Marwah as the three officers on trial do a great job, and Mrudula Murali as Captain Laxmi of the INA has a small role but deserves a film of her own. The war scenes are very poorly shot, especially with Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk still playing in the theatres, but they serve to show in what difficult situations the INA fought. It is the trial that is close to brilliant, because the casting of the lawyer is. Actor Kenny Desai makes for an uncanny Bhulabhai Desai who fought the case as a defense counsel. The writing is brilliant and even though the scenes between families and the three officers is too much like a TV soap, one supposes that these are stories that need to be told. It is a no frills courtroom drama that keeps your attention. If only Indian films could do away with patriotic songs…
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
Director Tigmanshu Dhulia deserves credit for blending this war-courtroom-thriller with just a smattering of romance, without distracting one from the proceedings. The war sequences could’ve been shot more cinematically and barring a pan or two over motionless remains (which urges one to ponder over the futility of battle), this one barely captures the repercussions of organised conquest.
Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham
Performances are of top orders. Kunal Kapoor is very natural in his angst, torn between love for motherland and object of rejection from his brother who is serving the British army, Kunal gives an absorbing performance. Amit Sadh is a revelation as the Sikh diehard and does leaves a good impact. Mohit Marwah impresses and gives a controlled performance. Kenneth Desai as Bhula Bhai is excellent. Nehru (Rajesh Khera) chips in with adequate support. Judge Sehgal (Kanwaljeet Singh) father of Prem Sehgal is marvelous. Kenny Basumatary as Bose is terrific. Mrudula Murali (Captain Lakshmi Swaminathan) is charming.
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
There is no doubt that Dhulia made this film with noble intentions, but the execution could definitely have been better. The poster and the trailer of the film seemed to suggest that Raag Desh is a thrilling courtroom drama, but the film ends up veering in all possible directions, making it quite taxing to maintain your interest.
Review by Mayank Shekhar on Mid-Day India
Must, and will. In fact it makes an even stronger case for similar retellings. Keen observers might recall that it was HBO’s brilliant war-series ‘Band of Brothers’ (2001) that instantly led to the rebirth of American television. Look at where American television is now. ‘Raag Desh’ totally deserved that same kind of stellar, multi-part treatment. It’s got everything going for it. For now, big-screen cinema will do, I guess.
Review by Sreehari Nair on Rediff
One goes to the movies to be surprised, to feel something fresh, to sense a new spirit and Raag Desh is infused with that new spirit. Its real daring though is that it never plays up things it is doing new. And when it tries and fails, it still is a noble failure. This is one of the best Hindi films of the year.
Raag Desh Review by Indiaglitz
The second half should have been crispier as out here it’s dragging and boring at times. This movie would have been a great short film as out here it’s been stretched to the fullest due to which the impact in the main scenes lacks the required impact. Though, at one point the movie sounds to be preachy as well as full of repetitive scenes. Tigmanshu has a right kind of film but fails to present it right manner. There are few goose bumps type of scenes which manages to keep you highly patriotic while in case of several others the impact gets totally diluted. Zakir Hussain and others are wasted.
Review by Meeta on Wogma
Which is why the three actors, Kunal Kapoor, Mohit Marwah, and Amit Sadh don’t have a huge role to play. They are intense in their war scenes and they are intense in their court room scenes. In fact, their entire act reminded me a lot of A Few Good Men The only actor who stands out is Desai playing Desai. The rest of the actors especially the ones in which the politicians gather are theatrical. Yet again, Raag Desh falls in the category of films that I’d much rather be disappointed in than not watch it at all. And Raag Desh is not a complete disappointment because of the core story and the part it plays in our independence.
Review by IANS on Zeenews
The film expectedly boasts of good production values and takes you into that period effortlessly. Cinematographer Rishi Punjabi captures the war scenes through his lens with exactness and succeeds in repulsing the viewer with the raw bloodshed and gore. The music helps in creating the mood and ‘Hawaaon mein woh aag hai’ is soulful, and of course ‘Kadam kadam badhaye ja’ is skilfully used to stir patriotism. Overall, this film although well-made, fails to evoke patriotism and obviously does not even attempt to entertain.
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