Raazi Movie Review: “Raazi” (transl. Agreement/Secretive) is a 2018 Indian Hindi-language spy thriller film directed by Meghna Gulzar and produced by Vineet Jain, Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar, and Apoorva Mehta under the banners of Junglee Pictures and Dharma Productions. The film stars Alia Bhatt in the lead role, with Vicky Kaushal, Rajit Kapur, Shishir Sharma, and Jaideep Ahlawat in supporting roles. It is an adaptation of Harinder Sikka’s 2008 novel “Calling Sehmat,” which is based on the true story of an Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent who, at her father’s request, marries into a family of military officers in Pakistan to relay information to India prior to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

Principal photography for “Raazi” began in July 2017 in Mumbai and concluded on October 27, 2017. Filming took place in various locations, including Patiala, Nabha, Malerkotla, and Doodhpathri.

Released on May 11, 2018, “Raazi” was made on a budget of ₹350 million (US$4.4 million) and grossed ₹195.75 crore (US$25 million) worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing Indian films featuring a female protagonist. The film was also a critical success, with particular praise for Meghna Gulzar’s direction and Alia Bhatt’s performance.

At the 64th Filmfare Awards, “Raazi” received 15 nominations and won five awards, including Best Film, Best Director (Gulzar), and Best Actress (Bhatt), tying with “Andhadhun” for the most wins.

Raazi Movie Review, Casts, Release, Production - The Celeb Guru


Before the Bangladeshi War of Independence in 1971, Hidayat Khan, an Indian intelligence agent, operates undercover as an informant for the Pakistani military. Posing as an Indian traitor sharing secrets with Pakistan, he forms a close friendship with Brigadier Parvez Syed of the Pakistan Army. When Hidayat learns of an impending operation against India, he fears his lung cancer will prevent him from obtaining further details. He asks his 20-year-old daughter, Sehmat, a student at Delhi University, to become a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent in Pakistan by marrying Syed’s younger son, Iqbal, a Pakistani military officer. Sehmat undergoes intensive training by senior RAW officer Khalid Mir and his assistant, Nikhil Bakshi. Despite her youth, Sehmat quickly proves adept at intelligence work.

Following her marriage, Sehmat moves to Rawalpindi, the headquarters of the Pakistan Army. She gains the trust of Iqbal’s family, except for Abdul, Syed’s loyal servant. Iqbal, a kind and patient man, often apologizes for his father’s harsh views on India, and he and Sehmat develop genuine feelings for each other. Nonetheless, Sehmat stays committed to her mission, establishing secure communication channels with her handlers in India.

When Brigadier Syed is promoted to Major General, his home becomes a hub for sensitive military documents. Sehmat uncovers and relays crucial information about an impending attack on the Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant by a Pakistani submarine. Abdul discovers her spy equipment and realizes Sehmat’s true identity. To protect her mission, Sehmat kills Abdul by running him over with a jeep, which deeply affects her emotionally. Abdul names Sehmat before dying, prompting an investigation by Iqbal’s brother, Mehboob. Sehmat reluctantly kills Mehboob with poison to prevent him from revealing her identity to the ISI, Pakistan’s internal security agency.

Realizing her cover is blown, Mir arranges an escape plan for Sehmat. Iqbal finds her hidden communication tools and realizes the truth. Heartbroken, he confronts Sehmat, who holds him at gunpoint, declaring her loyalty to her country. During their standoff, Mehboob’s young son interrupts, giving Sehmat a chance to escape. She spares the boy and her driver, concealing herself in a burqa. At the rendezvous point, Iqbal and the ISI confront her, but Mir’s team, thinking Sehmat is in danger, shoots at them and throws a grenade, killing both Iqbal and a disguised female agent in Sehmat’s place.

The real Sehmat, traumatized by the events and Mir’s actions, returns to India. She discovers she is pregnant with Iqbal’s child and decides to keep the baby. Newsreel footage reveals that Sehmat’s intelligence helped the Indian Navy sink the Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi before it could attack the INS Vikrant.

Years later, Indian Army officer Lieutenant General Nikhil Bakshi addresses soldiers on the INS Viraat, including Samar Syed, Iqbal and Sehmat’s son. Sehmat Khan’s sacrifices are remembered and honored as her legacy continues through her son.

Main Casts

Alia Bhatt Sehmat Syed Vicky Kaushal Iqbal Syed
Jaideep Ahlawat Agent Manav Chaudhary Rajit Kapur Hidayat Khan
Shishir Sharma Brigadier Soni Mahesh Bhatt Teji Khan


Since 2014, Priti Sahani, president of Junglee Pictures, had been trying to acquire the film rights to Harinder S. Sikka’s 2008 novel Calling Sehmat. The novel tells the true story of an Indian woman secret agent who marries a Pakistani army officer to provide confidential information to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) prior to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. During the production of Talvar (2015), Sahani contacted Meghna Gulzar to see if she was interested in directing a film adaptation of the novel. Meghna agreed but was informed a few months later that the project did not materialize.

In February 2016, another producer approached Meghna with the same proposal, and she agreed again, finding it serendipitous to be offered the project twice. However, those talks also fell through. Meghna, feeling a “karmic connection” with Calling Sehmat—especially since Sikka had initially approached her father, Gulzar, to direct the film adaptation when the novel was released—reconnected with Sikka. She suggested they approach Sahani again, and this time the talks were successful. In December 2016, Meghna announced that Calling Sehmat would be her next film project.

Meghna was drawn to the story because it portrayed “an ordinary girl’s extraordinary feat” without being overtly nationalistic or pro-war. The fact that it was a true account added to the film’s power. She aimed to stay as true to the story as possible during production.

Although the film is set against the backdrop of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, it does not feature action scenes typical of other films set in the same period, as the story leads up to the beginning of the war rather than depicting the actual conflict. Meghna, who had heard stories of the war from her family, felt it was an important milestone in Indian history. She was motivated to make the film because the story remained relevant at a time when relations between neighboring countries were strained. Meghna stated, “The human element makes it timeless. From my father’s friends in Pakistan, I understand that the lines are on paper and brought up politically, but at the end of the day, we’re similar in our clothes, cuisine, and culture.”

Speculation in December 2016 suggested that Alia Bhatt had been offered the lead role, which was confirmed in April 2017. In the same month, Karan Johar’s production house, Dharma Productions, joined Junglee Pictures as co-producers of the film. Vicky Kaushal’s casting was officially announced in June 2017.


The first poster of Raazi was unveiled on April 9, 2018, through the film’s official Twitter account. The trailer followed shortly, launching on April 10, 2018. Raazi was subsequently released in theaters on May 11, 2018.


Amidst a heated public debate in July 2020, Harinder S. Sikka alleged that Meghna Gulzar changed the title of Raazi without his permission and did not show him the director’s cut of the film, as stipulated in their contract. He also accused Meghna and her father of taking a pro-Pakistani stance in the film and claimed that producers Vineet Jain and Karan Johar attempted to discredit him. Additionally, Sikka claimed that Meghna “tweaked” the story to demean RAW while praising the Pakistan Army.

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