Raag Desh - Review

wogma rating: Catch on DVD for sure (?)
quick review:

A war movie, a relatively lesser known independence story, a court room drama. An intense story yet not an 100% immersive experience.

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Wogma Review

You know what they say about history lessons? They have to be told in an engaging way, else the kids are going to doze off. No matter how old they are. Even if it is in a film format. Fortunately, for Raag Desh, the story by itself is interesting. Unfortunately, it is bogged down by dates and names, elongated scenes and dramatic music, choppy narration and missing links.

Had I known the dates were of little consequence, I would have totally ignored them and saved the disproportionate amount of brain space they take away. Same goes for names. And for repetitions. I don't know about you, but for every repetition, I tend to think about it twice wondering why it was said again. Did I miss a detail that was different? Especially, when it is a director like Tigmanshu Dhulia who you can trust to trust the viewer's intelligence. We would have recovered a part of the cost of the ticket, if we got Rs. 10 for every time the accused soldier's names and crimes were repeated. It does get exasperating.

Anyway, the writer-director does take some interesting calls in using non-linearity as a narrative tool. But, only parts of it work. That the three soldiers recall their parts of the story as the actions are called in court, worked. They flow smoothly. However, it gets confusing quickly because not all flashback follow that pattern. Also, despite all the dates, names and repetitions, it isn't clear who is where and when. The facts seem all muddled. Again, like a history text book chapter, steps in the story seem to be skimmed over, thus losing the logical flow.

In the larger picture though, it doesn't matter because you get the gist. And this story is not about the details. It is about the overall impact, not about the individual players. Just like the court case wasn't about the three soldiers, it was about a frustrated nation.

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.

Today, I saw two films that are lesser known chapters in Indian history – one from 40+ years ago and the other from 70+ years ago. Irrespective of the quality of the films and their accuracy, compared to those times and the sacrificers the generations before us made to just survive, we live in superbly liberated times. I wonder what a film 30-40 years later about today's times would look like. Would it feel like they are living in better times than now? I surely hope they don't think our live were like the third film I saw today. shudder

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: War movie
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: An independence story about Subhash Chandra Bose's, Indian National Army
  • General Look and Feel: Grim, war-like, generally sepia

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2.5
  • Story: 3.5
  • Lead Actors: 3
  • Character Artists: 4
  • Dialogues: 3
  • Screenplay: 2.5
  • Music Director:
  • Lyrics:

Raag Desh - Movie Details

Raag Desh - Trailer

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