Direction: Raj Kumar Gupta Produced by: Panorama Studios, T-Series Cast: Ajay Devgn, Saurabh Shukla, Ileana D’Cruz, Pushpa Joshi, Amit Sial, Sheeba Chadha, Sulakshana Panigrahi
Cinematography: Alphonse Roy;
Editing: Bodhaditya Banerjee;
Music: Amit Trivedi
Art Direction: Rajesh Choudhary
Hindi / Drama Thriller / 128 mins / India / 2018
With a great ensemble crew like filmmaker Raj Kumar Gupta, scenarist Ritesh Shah, music composer Amit Trivedi, editor Bodhaditya Banerjee and art director Rajesh Choudhary one expected ‘Raid’ to be a treat - to be savoured for long after. After all not everyone associated with the Kumar Mangat production and Ajay Devgn starrer could go wrong in executing their behind-the-scenes roles and yet, while it does not come a cropper it could have been far more gripping. As it turns out, it is good enough only for a bite - a one-time watch.
Raid’s advantage lay in the fact that its story is based on real income tax raids (conducted in July 1981 and September 1989) which took place in Kanpur, Muzzaffarnagar, Bijnore and Meerut when Congress (I) was in power at the Centre and Uttar Pradesh had V P Singh and N D Tiwari as the state’s chief ministers respectively. In the first case Sardar Inder Singh’s residence was raided under the command of IT Commissioner Sharda Prasad Pandey in 1981 and went on for more than 18 hours. In the second instance in 1989, over 19 locations including factories and homes of two industrialists - paper-mill owner Harish Chhabra and jewellery man Chitranjan Swarup were raided simultaneously.
Of the three, Singh and Swarup had been Congress MLAs while Chhabra a state-level Congress worker, and teams of nearly 90 officials and counting along with cops were put to service. While Singh’s raid went off peacefully, in Chhabra’s case IT officials were mercilessly beaten up by mobs while the cops did nothing. The officers ended up with broken bones, fractures, head and facial injuries for doing their jobs. Some even ended up permanently disabled.
Devgn essays the role of Amay Patnaik, the IT Commissioner used to being transferred because of his principles and incorruptibility. It is on his 49th transfer and Lucknow posting, that Patnaik is tipped off on MLA Rameshwar Singh played by Saurabh Shukla. What unspools thereafter forms the film.
While there is no denying that Raid completely enthralls in key moments, there are several times where it jars and as audience, you feel the scene or dialogue is redundant and a distraction. Most of the track between Patnaik and his wife (played by Ileana D’Cruz) for ins