Ajay Devgn, Ileana Dâcruz, Saurabh Shukla
Raj Kumar Gupta
There are two types of Ajay Devgn fans, one who love seeing him in Singham/Golmaal and such, the others who love seeing him Company, Drishyam and now, Raid. Everyone who has been waiting for his silent, simmering strength will love Raid. The kids will have to avoid this one, because there is nothing of their beloved Gopal in Amay Patnaik.
So let’s define Amay Patnaik (Ajay Devgn). Director Raj Kumar Gupta spends a good chunk of the beginning establishing that Amay is honest to a fault -- fault only because he often lands himself in a situation
that needs him to pack his bags and move. After 49 transfers, he is accustomed to what his ways will get him, but he is steadfast. His beliefs and his gumption remain despite his addresses changing. Amay is currently posted in Lucknow, where he is tipped off about Raja ji aka Tauji (Saurabh Shukla). The man is a local politician and Patnaik is convinced, Tauji is hoarding loads of money in his mansion.
Little does Amay know what he is getting into (literally) when he raids Tauji. Clearly, Tauji not only has been hoarding money, but also goons and has a clout across the village, making the raid nothing short of a Chakravyuha, where Amay manages to enter, but cannot fathom how he and his officials will ever make it out.
What makes such a grim storyline interesting is Ritesh Shah’s writing. I am giving it credence over everything else is because of the way he has brought out the characters in Amay and Tauji’s altercations. The crackling chemistry between Saurabh Shukla and Ajay Devgn makes RAID a must watch. Their one-up-manship is fabulous, you are despairing, laughing and impressed at the same time. What’s amazing is how they have not tried to make Amay an unflappable hero. He is a hero who is worried, scared and vulnerable too. His shield is his honesty, but he also aware of how the hierarchy won’t allow a man of his calibre to be a sword.
There are moments in the film during which every Ajay Devgn fan will be impressed by their favourite because of the constraint he shows through the film. He takes the beating (figuratively) and even whimpers but he never once lets them bend the iron he is made up of. Kudos, because the man has surely come a long way in his career to be sure of himself to do a role such as this.
The film doesn’t have the usual crutches that attracts the audience, so it is obvious that Gupta used Ileana to make way for some respite for the audience, but it might not have been the wisest decision. Had
Gupta remained determined and only exploited the rapport between Devgn and Shukla, the film would have been a far more effective product. Ileana’s presence, though sparingly used, upsets the tone of the film. As compared to the way, Ajay and Saurabh lock heads through the film, Ajay’s romance with Ileana doesn’t sport that calibre of acting at all.
All in all, the movie belongs to the men – Raj Kumar, Ajay and Shukla, if there is any woman who left an impression on me, it was Tauji’s mother. She is hilarious.