Raag Desh

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV/online (?)

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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Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia
Running time: 135 minutes
Genres: History, War
More Movie Info

Raag Desh - Preview

A war film. I have had enough of war. An Indian independence film. Always tugs a chord. Most importantly a Tigmanshu Dhulia film. You are sure there will be compelling story-telling.

This time around though, I am a little worried about the performances. The trailer is already bordering on jingoism and I felt it was the affected dialogue and its delivery.

On the other hand, it is interesting that this is not just a war film and seems to touch upon the politics around the war and the fight for independence. Here's hoping there is a solid story for the director to tell well.

Raag Desh releases on 28 July, 2017

- meeta, a part of the audience

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.

Raag Desh falls in the category of films that I'd much rather be disappointed in than not watch it at all.

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

18 reviewers(?) - 10 yays 5 so-so 3 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Rachit Gupta, Filmfare : ...Raag Desh recreates an important chapter of Indian history. Best part is, it does so with great detail and authenticity. This film stands out from average Hindi cinema fare, by telling a relevant story with good finesse and élan. Its politics is clean and its drama is strong. A solid effort by Tigmanshu Dhulia in creating real drama from a true story. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, FirstPost : ...Overall, Raag Desh is not a superlative film, particularly because of its treatment, editing and lack of a novel story. But what it excels at is brushing the dust off a forgotten chapter of the history textbooks in a way that we can revisit it, with equal amounts of pride and gratitude. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Vishal Verma, Glamsham.com : ...RAAG DESH isn't a chest thumping bharat mata ki jai phenomenon, it's a rare probing epic inspired from a chapter from India's freedom struggle that not only respects the brave hearts from the INA it also asks some questions. If you are interested in knowing an intriguing and probing chapter from India's freedom struggle and have the required patience then RAAG DESH is your ticket ... full review

Thumbs up, by Rohit Vats, Hindustan Times : ...There is a strange thing about patriotic films. You know what’s going to happen, but your eyes still get moist when it happens. The same will happen to you as well when Kadam Kadam Badhaaye Jaa will play on the screen. This 137-minute soldier versus traitor story is totally worth your time. ... full review

Thumbs up, by ANISH MOHANTY, Kia Gia : ...While watching 'Raag Desh', we feel as it we were a part of the surroundings where the war was happening. 'Raag Desh' is a well-researched and intricately crafted film that introduces one to a chapter in history which is lesser discussed. The strength of the film lies in the fact that it makes you participate in the proceedings of the film as a viewer, making it come across an intimate and immersive experience. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...Must, and will. In fact it makes an even stronger case for similar retellings. Keen observers might recall that it was HBO's brilliant war-series 'Band of Brothers' (2001) that instantly led to the rebirth of American television. Look at where American television is now. 'Raag Desh' totally deserved that same kind of stellar, multi-part treatment. It's got everything going for it. For now, big-screen cinema will do, I guess. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...It isn't quite your average edge-of-the-seat thriller, but it abounds in scenes that hit home with their inherent intensity and emotional resonance. Given the increasingly fractious times that we live in and the cynical political manipulations that are currently afoot, one has no reservations in recommending Raag Desh as the film to watch ahead of all the other Bollywood releases of the week.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sreehari Nair, Rediff : ...One goes to the movies to be surprised, to feel something fresh, to sense a new spirit and Raag Desh is infused with that new spirit. Its real daring though is that it never plays up things it is doing new. And when it tries and fails, it still is a noble failure. This is one of the best Hindi films of the year. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ... Raag Desh is a reminder of a time when the idea of unity in diversity actually meant something.... full review

Thumbs up, by Troy ribeiro, ZEENEWS.COM : ...Overall, this film although well-made, fails to evoke patriotism and obviously does not even attempt to entertain. ... full review

So-So, Bollywood Hungama : ...Make no mistake, this is no A Few Good Men, but it is surely a very well researched tale of unsung heroes we may not even be aware of. Bollywood keeps making films on the likes of Mahatma Gandhi or Bhagat Singh, but it’s high time we give due credit and respect to the likes of Shah Nawaz Khan, Prem Sahgal, Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon and various others. The film may not be your quintessential Bollywood patriotic drama but despite its various short comings, I’ll still recommend it to everyone. Go and watch the unknown and unheard history of Indian independence unfolds in a most realistic way. If not for anything Raag Desh will surely start a discussion and that is enough. ... full review

So-So, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Deccan Chronicle : ...On the whole, Raag Desh is an average film with an untold factual story. The film could have been much better plus in the era of commercial films, Raag Desh is a niche in its own genre. If you are still patriotic to watch such a film in 2017, then Raag Desh isn't a bad watch. ... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...The film inadvertently makes one reflect on the lingering belief that many Indians hold about Netaji's mysterious end. The conspiracy theory that suggests that the revolutionary leader only escaped his fate by taking refuge with one of his allies, only points at the reluctance to accept the inevitable. This perhaps, stems from the fact that while Netaji may be no more, we can't get ourselves to cremate his ideology. ... full review

So-So, Sify Movies : ...Overall, this film although well-made, fails to evoke patriotism and obviously does not even attempt to entertain. ... full review

So-So, by Nihit Bhave, Times of India : ...Had the screenplay been freed of its half-hearted side-tracks, it would have made for great infotainment. The movie is only half of that word now. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...If at all a patriotic fervour is generated, then it’s because of the relentless repetition of Kadam Kadam Badhaye Jaa in pumped up volume, sung with motivational fervor, playing schematically in the background. Nehru (Rajesh Khera), Judge Sehgal (Kanwaljeet Singh), Captain Lakshmi Swaminathan (Mrudula Murali) who eventually married Prem Sehgal and Gandhi have all too-brief inconsequential presence in the film that is littered with great names but just doesn’t have the conviction to do justice to their presence in it. Also, the crisscrossing timelines and shoddy editing don’t allow for narrative coherence. This is an opportunity lost so-to-speak!... full review

Thumbs down, by Ahana Bhattacharya, koimoi : ...This Tigmanshu Dhulia directorial will not appeal to every kind of viewer and I’m afraid not everybody will be able to understand or follow it. ... full review

Thumbs down, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, Live Mint : ...The actors to watch out for are Marwah as the charismatic Prem and Mrudula Murali as freedom fighter Lakshmi Swaminathan. Their romance finds respectful space in the story, which has the makings of a powerful document of India’s history, but turns out to be a highly verbose and untidy production. ... full review

77 tweeters(?) - 72 yays 4 so-so 1 nays

zutu_01: So Raag desh by @dirtigmanshu is the awesomest Hindi History movie ever. Must watch it. #Amaze #pieceofart #raagdesh

wackysingh: Gaddari ki koi maafi nahi hoti. Brilliant acting @mohitsmarwah #RaagDesh 3 Cheers.

tomarneha91: '@dirtigmanshu @TheAmitSadh & @kapoorkkunal @mohitsmarwah great job guys! #IndianNationalArmy truly believes in #RaagDesh & no religion.

thepoliticonat: #raagdesh movie review: A #patriotic tale that is totally worth your time @kapoorkkunal @mohitsmarwah @TheAmitSadh https://t.co/IYKbHf02Sj

surajaxom: Must Watch Movies: Indu Sarkar Raag Desh Partition 1947

Supriya23bh: A must watch movie #RaagDesh https://t.co/tVStZp7d58

sumantbanerji: Take a bow @dirtigmanshu #raagdesh is one of the better movies to come out this year.very well told story of the unsung heroes.more power 2u

starguddu1: #RaagDesh देखने योग्य एक अच्छी movie Good initiative by @rajyasabhatv . Good work by @dirtigmanshu & team https://t.co/uuHRrXSWb5

sreeramchaulia: My review of the outstanding historic film #RaagDesh @rajyasabhatv https://t.co/Ie6y0Bf6ls

singhvarun31: YUP. Raag Desh is a Riveting Retelling Of India’s Unsung Heroes, Missing this Movie is a Crime https://t.co/melFxSQcKP via @frustindian

shail6418: Movie Raag desh Must watch Real true incident for India independence salute to Subhash Chandra Bose

Sethumadhavan: #Raagdesh-All said & done its worth a watch, reminding us of how there are many such stories from our past that would look so good on screen

Satish22: The youth must watch RaagDesh !! @dirtigmanshu https://t.co/6JHxEulL5E

sanjaymmmec: Raag Desh - A must watch movie. Recreation of the famous INA case which was fought in Red Fort. Disappointed to... https://t.co/XGbqRFPkiY

samarjodha: Your Sunday watch @dirtigmanshu watch how history unfolds! via @htTweets https://t.co/EU58xHq3py

RoflSinghSaab_: Raag Desh dekhna yaaro, zaruri hai. Jai Hind!

Ridhipb: One word..BRILLIANT!!!

RaisinaHill: Another great movie from the basket of Tigmanshu Dhulia. #raagdesh

RahulKatyayan: #RaagDesh is a must watch for every Indian, movies busts many myths. Hats off @dirtigmanshu for raising the bar of Indian cinema

Proudindia03: #raagdesh best movie ever saw. Everything was just perfect. Awesome acting.

Priyank_vyas_7: Just watched #RaagDesh. Fantastic job by each and every one #subhashchandrabose

Priyank11474094: #raagdesh such a wonderful movie. Our history textbooks must b rewritten wd a special chapter on #INA and #netaji

prabhatkhabar: #Film_Review : अनछुए विषय को शानदार तरीके से पेश करती है #Raagdesh https://t.co/VboqGoZtHT #TigmanshuDhulia… https://t.co/mA1qPXhF27

phreckledsuga: Watched a nice movie today. Moved to the core. #RaagDesh

PantheraTigris0: Raag Desh is a excellent movie made by Tigmanshu Dhulia ji. A must watch for every person who loves mother India.

PagariyaShubham: Raag desh an Absolutely Amazing Patriotic Sensible and Worth Watch flick

op_singh: Raag Desh movie review: Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh and Mohit Marwah starrer is the most honest if not the most... https://t.co/iB4kFSAHT8

MukeshChhabraCC: #MustWatch movie of 2017 #RaagDesh @TheAmitSadh #KunalKapoor @dirtigmanshu @CastingChhabra https://t.co/OhtWJGbRG0

MiraFakhoury: The dialogues of the film will hit you right where it needs to hit. #RaagDesh

mb4uli: #Film_Review : अनछुए विषय को शानदार तरीके से पेश करती है #Raagdesh https://t.co/09ZQLfMso7

maheepkapoor: #Raagdesh is a must watch! Super interesting !Great performances by all.A film for all patriotic's

luvClebs: Raag Desh Review: Intelligent and brilliant! @ https://t.co/M0rEdZgShL https://t.co/1HJR0t026w

lifeisbetter: Very well written Poulomi. RaagDesh made me cry quite a few times and interestingly, it was not by the narration... https://t.co/SQqYGEuwtQ

leenathakur: #RaagDesh portrays the fact that freedom is not an effort of handful of people we know but many unsung heroes.

kuttaiclub: #Interval U don't need huge budget, VFX or big stars to tell a human story Goosebumps 5/5 #RaagDesh… https://t.co/ZX9rHYx2FM

KhooniBhai: Remember, Go for #RaagDesh or #InduSarkar this weekend... Not #Mubarakan . #NawazSharif #NitishKumar #NitishGharWapsi #ModiPunishesPak

kch_bhi_bkwaas: Really disheartening that #RaagDesh got few screens I can say @dirtigmanshu will not let you down... #GoandWatch

jjnavinash: Just scene #raagdesh, nice movie.

jijintj: Critically acclaimed and a class #Ragdesh with good rating 3.3/5. @MrudulaMurali and @kapoorkkunal great in the movie. Overwhelming class

Jhansikasher: Enjoyed #raagdesh @dirtigmanshu Information overload, but good. Vry nice performances, specially Kunal who had the weakest role, but still.

jaynaidu87: Just saw #raagdesh ....something different ...a strong reminder of the historic sacrifices that led to free India. Worth a watch

J1AP9: Why is no one talking about this amazing movie. Will show to school kids when the DVD comes out. It's a must see.… https://t.co/nheQABZBOF

itsvijayjavir: This years my favorite movies #LipstickUnderMyBurkha #BegumJaan #InduSarkar & #RaagDesh From me⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and More for this movie.

iHrithik: Kunu,u were so good in #RaagDesh man.So controlled yet easy. Proud. Loved all d performances .Well done n good luck 2d team! @kapoorkkunal

IAmSudhirMishra: Two directors taken on two different chapters in Indian History.Raag Desh n Indu Sircar are brave but also exciting,riveting films.Taaliyan!

Hyd_Nawab: For a while I forgot that I was in 2017! The movie #RaagDesh took my in 1940s. @TheAmitSadh and @kapoorkkunal are too good. TY @dirtigmanshu

geetaslist: #RaagDesh interesting to see it after #Dunkirk - two perspectives of the same war.

geetanjali_a: Patriots, those interested in history and those that like a good story must watch...wonder who that leaves actually!! watch #raagdesh

ETPanache: [email protected], #MohitMarwah, #AmitSadh deliver realistic performances. @RaagDeshTheFilm https://t.co/DAJCmQBn6E

ef4522238e334e5: Raag desh movie must watch.... Nice movie

Drsureshwadiyar: Just saw RAAG DESH movie with wife nice movie it is.just refresh our minds.

DrChitrani: The poignant tale of INA trials brought beautifully on screen by @dirtigmanshu .#RaagDesh infuses just the right amount of patriotism!

doc2poet: Movies like Raagdesh are not bound star ratings. It is not meant for entertainment. It is a phenomenon, a true... https://t.co/Wg1lJZFZFI

dishaerkhoje: JUST WATCHED "RAAG DESH" what a beautiful move. PLZ MUST WATCH

debsnroses: Still feeling perplexed by #Raagdesh.. what a clash of emotions and realpolitik and patriotism.. @dirtigmanshu you genius !!

ClGPG1uycNOzxqA: Raagdesh is a film about our history and heroes. Great story and excellent performances. Well done @kapoorkkunal

Blush_Channel: #BlushVerdict @RaagDeshTheFilm is a welcome throwback to the Red Fort Trials. @mohitmarwah is a treat to watch. https://t.co/YrPn27srsD

BhuvanLall: #RaagDesh Delighted to see that the universe is lighting up with the untold stories of Indian Freedom Movement and… https://t.co/0Vd0PY7V3s

AVM_1111: #RaagDesh - A must watch !!

asherkeval: .#Raagdesh Movie Review: A Probing Epic On India's Freedom Struggle Rating: 3.5/5 https://t.co/FJAfFdFbAa https://t.co/ycHyqsC8S4

archanamohta135: What a treat to watch such rich history of

ankitmodi25: #INAZindabaad #RaagDesh One more masterpiece by @dirtigmanshu Must watch for all to know how INA give contributed in Aajaadi #VandeMataram

anjanab17: Saw'Raag desh',awesome movie,must say the reviews of the flim are baised,it's not a [email protected]/2 star movie,it is beyond stars.Jai Hind.

anishmohanty: #RaagDesh is a very well-researched film that makes you feel as if you are a part of the era the film is set in. @dirtigmanshu

aniket0608: What a moving experience it was to watch RAAG DESH!!! SUPERB @dirtigmanshu sir Thanks a lot!

amitabhadubey: 'रागदेश' के संग जश्न ए आज़ादी…!!! #Raagdesh #Rstv https://t.co/tqv0BxCjGG

aksheevthakur: #RaagDesh is a movie to be watched. exceptionally good. @mohitsmarwah @kapoorkkunal @AmitShah @dirtigmanshu gave us a classic

Akshay0beroi: Watched #RaagDesh. What incredible performances. Special shot out to @kapoorkkunal! Absolutely smashed it.

achyutha: Raag Desh Review: Intelligent and brilliant! https://t.co/KPuttkmQkk

abhisek_s: Mom, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Jagga Jasoos, War for the Planet of the Apes, Dunkirk, Lipstick Under My Burkha, Raag Desh. July was awesome.

AbhiRss009: #Raag Desh is a good movie सुभाष चंद् बोस जी जय भारत

01rahulgaur: Paisa wasool movie ...everything was perfect. Specially @TheAmitSadh fad diya yr...everybody did a great job #RaagDesh must watch...

Priyank_devil: Not a typical Tigmanshu's film, failed to keep pace. Laptop movie. #Raagdesh

ManasMitul: things most of us know. Raag Desh wasn't bad, but it had the potential to be so much better. That irks me most. Goddammit.

gauravkrai: my review of #RaagDesh देश का राग,अपने असली सुर में! [3/5]@mohitsmarwah @kapoorkkunal @RaagDeshTheFilm @dirtigmanshu https://t.co/BofZGSdk5r

AvinChhangani: Saw 'Raag Desh' yesterday. In a sense, I'm glad that a movie was made on the subject, but otherwise, it didn't live up to the expectations.

quizzicalguy: #RaagDesh is a terrible movie. Music is terrible too. Another disappointment after Rangoon.

No readers have rated this movie yet.

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

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):

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Raag Desh - Cast, crew, links

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Running time:
135 minutes
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