For every book made into a motion-picture, I have one simple rule I always follow: Book Before Movie. And for that reason alone I am prone to googling the name of each movie I intend to watch just to check whether it is based on a book or not.
So it came to be for Raazi, and I put off watching the film until I could get my hands on the book on which it is based.
I am not going into the story, as most of you are familiar with the film's plot, though I understand from reading the Wikipedia entry now that there are some changes in the script.
The author has stated that this book is inspired from real events, and names have been changed in order to protect the identity of the woman, who became a spy for India.
It is impossible to know, in such a case, where reality crosses over into creative fantasy. Nonetheless, the story of this young woman who, driven by the love for her country, displayed exemplary courage in the face of grave danger, at a time when India and Pakistan were going to war, is spine chilling.
Considering it is a fictionalised account, the author has narrated it as a thriller where danger lurks at every corner. Even while you bite your nails and feel your heart pounding from the sheer anticipation of what will happen next, you can't stop turning the pages.
I somehow couldn't bring myself to review Calling Sehmat as I would any other fictional thriller because this is about a real person and the author is only telling her story. So, I find myself disregarding whatever little the narrative may lack in terms of fluidity and plot resolution.
At the same time, I would strongly recommend reading the book (bonus if you haven't seen the movie yet) because it is about a woman who did what no man could ever have achieved.
Calling Sehmat by Harinder Sikka. Published by @penguinindia.
The swans made with the 3D Chinese Origami technique, using a little over 500 individual pieces of folded paper, each 1/32 of an A4 sheet.
I think I am finally getting the hang of this craft.