The movie is set in 1971, the time when India is assisting in the formation of Bangladesh. The countries are on the verge of a war and gathering military intelligence is prime.
The story is of a girl, Sehmat Khan (Alia Bhatt), whose father and grandfather have been working with the Indian Intelligence and gathering military information from Pakistan. Her father is diagnosed with cancer, but in his passion to continue to serve the nation, he puts his daughter Sehmat in the line of fire. He fixes up Shemat’s marriage with Iqbal (Vicky Kaushal), son of Brigadier Syed. This way Sehmat would stay in close association with the military and will be able to pass on critical information to India. Sehmat is summoned and is trained by the bureau in various spy activities. Sehmat is ready to go into enemy land. The marriage happens and Sehmat lands in Rawalpindi.
Don’t worry guys, I am not divulging much, all this happens in the first 20 mins of the movie.
Sehmat slowly settles down in the routine at her new home and uses all the spy training and wins hearts and trust. The relations, though for her are a way to get information but for them they are real, they love her like a daughter and trust her like their own. The angst she feels for the betrayal is palpable, but she had been bred to know that nothing is more than her nation. It’s like no other spy thriller, its more humane. Iqbal understands her, realizes her pain, when people around say anit- India things, but she takes it all in her stride. She does whatever it takes to gather intelligence and pass it on. There are other Indian operatives in the city who provide and assist her with whatever she needs.
Its an edge of the seat thriller. As the movie progresses the plot thickens and the story gets edgy. The story line is very gripping and the movie is shot so well. Another thing about the movie, its at no level a movie about Pakistan bashing. Its about patriotism on both the side of the border. Meghna Gulzar has done an amazing job. The story telling is very nuanced, nothing in your face or over the top. Very carefully crafted. The editing is very crisp and tight. The cinematography is wonderful. Thankfully the movie, though been a period movie is not shot in sepia. The music is refreshing, the folk tunes of Kashmir have been weaved so well . The ‘Dilbaro’ song feels adorable and haunting at the same time, the song not only symbolizes the bidai of the bride, but also the beginning of the journey of our hero into enemy territory. And the song ‘Ae watan’ evokes such patriotic emotions, I guess a song after a long time, just gives goosebumps of patriotism. Its sung by Pakistanis and Alia, for their own nations, and still true for both. Thank you Gulzar saab for some more memorable songs. Background music is good too.
Alia Bhat, you beauty, what a performance! What a range of emotions. A scene, where she breaks down in the shower is haunting. I guess by far her best performance. So endearing, you feel so protective for her. Her courage in the adverse times is inspiring. The chemistry between the leads is brilliant. Their scenes together are shot so well. Vicky Kaushal is very good. As a major in the Pakistan Army and married to an Indian his dilemma and tribulation are portrayed well. But for both, their nation comes first. All other supporting casts have well done.
Watch it guys!!! Watch it!! Don’t miss it for anything!!!