Pakistan bans Bollywood film Raazi for its theme

Pakistan bans Bollywood film Raazi for its theme

By Adnan Lodhi/Shaheera Anwar

Lahore/Karachi, May 12 (Express Tribune): The Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal-starrer Raazi will not be releasing in Pakistan. Due to its controversial India-Pakistan content, no distributor has agreed to purchase the film.

While the Meghan Gulzar-helmed project is slated to release in India on May 11, this news comes as a major disappointment for Bollywood fans on the Pakistani side of the border.

“It is disappointing to see that films on controversial subjects are being produced in India time and again,” a senior distribution company official told The Express Tribune.

“All our distributors are well aware about Alia’s role in Raazi and so, no one is willing to purchase the film. Patriotism is another reason for distributors not being pushed about buying the film. Indian producers should know that all our distributors have unanimously decided to boycott such controversial films.”

Co-produced by Vineet Jain and Karan Johar, the film has been made under the banner of Dharma Productions.

An adaptation of Harinder Sikka’s novel, Calling Sehmat, the film features an Indian spy (Alia) who marries a Pakistani man (Vicky) during the Indo-Pak war of 1971. It has been shot in different cities of India.

In an interview with The Hindu earlier, Vicky stated that it would be unfair to call Raazi just a war film, as the movie explores much deeper themes in its narrative.

“The film is not just about the Indo-Pak war, it is much deeper than that. It is about an individual relationship. It is also about an era when there was tension between the two countries and during that time a Kashmiri woman married a Pakistani major.”

Vicky went on to share that the film is about how they make choices at the crossroads of duties and emotions, which will not only affect their lives but also the future of their respective countries.

Alia Bhat in Raazi

“I wasn’t worried that I am playing a Pakistani, so it should be shown in a certain light. I think the story does the work. People will realise it is not an India-Pakistan war film.”

Set in 1971 and based on a true story, Raazi is an adaptation of Harinder S Sikka’s book titled Calling Sehmat.

It starts off with an Indian father who finds a Pakistani suitor for his daughter Sehmat, played by Alia. He asks her to live in Pakistan and serve as an Indian spy.

She is soon married off to a Pakistani man named Iqbal Syed and starts to live across the border. Essayed by Vicky Kaushal, Iqbal’s lifestyle as a police officer demands him to stay loyal to his Pakistani roots as well –  hence calling for more tension between the two.

Before Sehmat is married, she has to go through rigorous training to serve as an undercover agent.

The trailer also shows some action packed visuals and Alia’s expertise in her craft as an actor. Scenes of the leading case attending funeral prayers proves that there might be deaths in the film.

The concluding scene shows Sehmat ready to shoot one of her own as she says, “Watan ke aagay kuch bhi nahi, khud bhi nahi (Nothing comes before the country, not even me).

Inspired by the India-Pakistan war of 1971, Raazi is directed by Meghna Gulzar.

(The featured image at the tip shows Vicky Kaushal and Aliya Bhatt in Raazi)