Formula raid

Daniyal Zahid finds Raid passable, if not an Ajay Devgn cult classic

Formula raid
Ajay Devgn is the good guy taking on the system, fighting the corrupt as the one-man army. Yes, there is more than just a tinge of Singham and Gangaajal to Raid but not quite the same impact.

Set in the 1980s, Raid is inspired from the true story of an Income Tax officer who takes down a big-name politician in Lucknow, in a bid to cleanse his area of corruption and evasion. But Devgn as Amay Patnaik does so with a script tailor-made for his no-nonsense persona, as he takes jibes at the antagonists, with his signature dialogue delivery.

The principal antagonist is Rameshwar ‘Raja Ji’ Singh (Saurabh Shukla), the corrupt politician that is making the most of the legal loopholes to create fortunes in tax evasion.

Digging those out from inside his own mansion is the uphill task that the fearless Amay Patnaik takes up as the ultimate challenge in his quest to cleanse the city of laundered and stolen money.

That Raja Ji’s money comes from exploiting the poor, makes the setup the ultimate ‘good vs evil’ film, which is what Raid sets out to be from the moment the movie kicks off.However, the start is a bit slow, and everyone’s waiting for the raid to begin to get some action.

Even so, while the ending was always going to be a foregone conclusion, considering the idea behind the film, and the way it was structured, the moment the movie picks up pace, so does its predictability. What follows is income tax officers unearthing money and goods from just about any place plausible – and otherwise – eventually making the battle single paced, and one dimensional.
The film was always going be decided by Ajay Devgn, and there's no question that his fans will absolutely be raiding theatres all over

However, the monolithic nature of the screenplay is true only for the raid, which one would assume should be just about the entirety of what Raid would be all about.

For, there’s also Nita Patnaik (Ileana D’Cruz) who provides the romance in this crime thriller, which at best is a needless distraction from where the actual storyline is heading, and at worst is a parallel plot which makes Raid a mishmash that intermittently swings both ways.

For, even though there always is the sanskaari, devoted wife in such flicks, who is meant to extol the virtues and fight of the protagonist by being a part of exactly what he is putting on the line to fight for good and defeat evil,but Nita Patnaik persists more than the average love interest would.

It was perhaps a case of the filmmakers capitalising on her chemistry with Ajav Devgn from last year’s Baadshaho, but that’s also why it was superfluous considering that she wasn’t playing a maharani.

None of this is to suggest that the acting prowess isn’t there. In fact, both Ajay Devgn and Ileana D’Cruz do recreate a chemistry, albeit in a different kind of relationship, but that doesn’t gel in at all with the theme of Raid.

Saurabh Shukla, too, nails his role as the corrupt politician, and brings out his best, adding to the final product.

But the film was always going be decided by Ajay Devgn, and there’s no question that his fans will absolutely be raiding theatres all over. What is also certain, however, is that Raid doesn’t have Ajay Devgn in his best incorruptible avatar, and doesn’t have a script sharp enough to match some of the classics that he’s led.

And so, as long as you don’t expect another Ajay Devgn cult classic, Raid might be more than watchable. Otherwise, it’s just another formula film that gets the proportions of its ingredients wrong.