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You can be patriotic without beating your chest: director Robby Grewal on 'RAW'


Press Trust of India Mumbai
Filmmaker Robby Grewal says his upcoming espionage thriller "Romeo Akbar Walter (RAW)", starring John Abraham in the role of a spy, will not resort to jingoism to drive its point across.
The director said the film does not portray Pakistani officers as "bad people", a stereotype often used in Hindi films made on the theme of patriotism.
"Jingoism and patriotism are two different things. It's not a jingoistic film at all. You can be very patriotic without beating your chest. My attempt with the film is to make you feel proud to be an Indian, proud of the man who's done what he's done in the film," the director told PTI in an interview.
Robby said one does not need to "scream" to make people realise their love for the country and filmmakers should be able to capture that element in their cinema.
"In today's time, a good filmmaker is probably the one who doesn't need to scream and shout to get this emotion out. You can do it without that. The resonance of what the characters are going through is loud, not in terms of pitch but emotions. I'm saying the same thing without any chest thumping," he said.
The director, who has previously made romantic films such as "MP3: Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar" and "Aloo Chaat", spent six years researching and writing the film, which is set against the backdrop of 1971 war.
"A Pakistan Army officer is as pious as an Indian Army officer. What we have in our films, mostly, is that we tend to trivialise the other side, make them caricatures, 'bad people', which they aren't. They are doing exactly what we are doing. Circumstances put us against each other. They are not the bad people," he said.
Citing the example of Meghna Gulzar's "Raazi", which also featured an Indian spy sent to Pakistan but did not trivialise the Pakistani side, Robby said his is also not a good versus evil narrative.
"Jingoism comes when you project someone as bad. 'Raazi' didn't have a good versus bad story. My story too isn't about 'we are good and they are bad.' I don't enjoy that.
"I like to keep things real. The drama should come through the narrative, not through over-dramatising the performances. As a filmmaker, I don't like pitching it too loud. Now real is commercial."

"Romeo Akbar Walter" is scheduled to be released on April 5.

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First Published: Mar 28 2019 | 3:25 PM IST

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