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RAAG DESH - An exclusive and enlightening film on INA and a lesser-known court trial of its three officers. (Review by Bobby Sing)
30 Jul, 2017 | Movie Reviews / 2017 Releases / ALL ABOUT INSPIRED MOVIES / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / R

Films have been made on the life and mission of Subhash Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army (Azaad Hind Fauj) in the past too, but RAAG DESH is a different and important take on the subject presented by Rajya Sabha TV and directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia (of PAAN SINGH TOMAR & HAASIL fame).
 
Knowingly made for a specific section of viewers, the film is based on the joint court martial of INA officers Colonel Prem Sehgal, Lt. Colonel Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon and Major Shah Nawaz Khan facing the charges of murder and conspiracy against the British Empire. A case involving a Hindu, Sikh and Muslim representing the entire nation (as expressed in the film too), RAAG DESH is quite authentic in its onscreen portrayal but at the same time not engrossing enough to hold the interest of its viewers, particularly in the first hour.
 
The hard work done on the research, art-direction and writing is evident and the court case proceedings in the concluding hour of the film is interesting too. However it all actually begins post intermission and till then the entire story progression remains largely monotonous and dull. The parallel story tracks are unable to contribute anything significant into the build-up and it would have been a much better product marching ahead with a focused vision on the case itself.
 
The first patriotic film of writer-director Tigmanshu Dhulia, it as usual has all mature performances from the entire cast, that has always been a forte of Tigmanshu’s films right from the days of HAASIL. Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh and Mohit Marwah as the three INA officers facing the trial remain thoroughly convincing, particularly Amit Sadh playing the Sikh Colonel. The supporting cast and actors portraying the renowned historical characters of Bose, Gandhi, Nehru and more look and act perfectly fine too. But it’s the court-room sequences and the outstanding performances of the lawyers that in reality reach out to the viewers more than anything else, especially of Kenneth Desai playing the role of the acclaimed lawyer BhulaBhai Desai.
 
In short RAAG DESH, excels in its appearance, performances and the technical department taking the viewer back to those specific years just before the independence. But a documentary-like first half and a non-linear style of narration adversely affects the end result to a large extent. It’s not any thrilling war-drama to be honest but needs to be seen as an informative movie keeping two points in mind as mentioned below.
 
A. Watch it to know more about the solid, powerful impact of Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army on the British Empire. How the three INA officers court trial created serious tension and the judges were forced to give a judgment keeping in mind the possible communal disturbance in the country.
 
B. The film’s actual worth and beauty lies in its well-written dialogues displaying the deep research and understanding of its core team. Just watch it giving your utmost attention to the conversations between the key historical characters and the lawyers during the court case in its second half.
 
Not recommended to the audience simply interested in getting entertained in return for their money spent, RAAG DESH isn’t one of those routine films made to win over the box office. The makers very well knew it and so did the director, Tigmanshu Dhulia.
 
However I fail to understand that why a common man is expected to visit the costly multiplex for watching an off-beat film like RAAG DESH (and that too in one or two shows at limited theaters having odd timings)? Ideally such films should be shown at minimum possible price by the Government itself to attract more young viewers under some kind of educational drive.
 
But since no one is willing to accept or understand this, so just wait and catch it on a channel or online portal soon in the next month or so.
 
(The article also got featured in UC-News in July 2017)
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Shared below are views - Beyond the initial review with more interesting insights.
 
Revolving around the real court trial of three Indian National Army officers a couple of years before independence, RAAG DESH is an informative film and deserves to be seen to know more about the lesser-known case and the solid impact or role of INA in the Indian independence.

But at the same time it’s also a made on order kind of film presented by Rajya Sabha TV, wherein you are not going to find any familiar Tigmanshu Dhulia, the director of films like PAAN SINGH TOMAR, HAASIL, CHARAS and more.

In short it has a basic premise quite similar to the American courtroom drama A FEW GOOD MEN (1992), but the end result is not even close, more inclined towards a documentary.

Rating : 3 / 5 (including an additional 1 for its exclusive and enlightening take on INA)

Tags : Raag Desh Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Hindi Films on Indian National Army INA, Hindi films on Azaad Hind Fauj, Hindi films on Netaji Subhash Chander Bose.
30 Jul 2017 / Comment ( 2 )
Debraj Moulick

Glad that you mentioned A Few Good Men... Even I found traces of 12 Angry Men.. But no doubt , the film provides some hard-hitting information about INA. I liked the emotional connectivity of the film and it's exclusion from loud and pop patriotism. In all, honest review.

Bobby Sing

Thanks Debraj Moulick for sharing your views and glad that you liked the film too.
Keep Visiting and Writing in.
Cheers!

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