Calling Sehmat is the book version of the movie Raazi (Bollywood). I usually prefer to read the book before I watch the movie, but I actually hadn’t heard of this book before. Naturally, I watched Raazi first, in which one of my favorite actress, Alia Bhatt plays the character of Sehmat. I really loved her portrayal and when I learnt that the movie is based on real events that has also been documented into a book, I couldn’t stop myself from getting my hands on the novel!
So, as I mentioned before, this story is based on real life events that happened in 1970’s. There is lot of tension between India and Pakistan. A businessman from Kashmir happens to have access to the people from higher families in Pakistan. Soon, the Indian intelligence approaches this man for help and this man can’t ignore his country’s calling. However, time is cruel and this man finds himself in a fix as he is diagnosed with cancer. Now it is up to his young, college going daughter to take over his mission of saving the country.
She is trained and inserted into the highest family of Pakistan in the name of marriage. She has to play the part of a diligent daughter in-law of the family while spying on the same family. How she is able to achieve this feat without being caught? Is she able to find out what Pakistan is plotting against her beloved country? Is she able to save her country, her India?
Excerpts from the book
“It was as if Meerabai had reincarnated as Sehmat Khan, taking the sarcasm, taunts and abuses of society in her stride, calling out to her beloved lord to take her into his fold.”Harinder Sikka
“She was glad that she had done her duty to the best of her ability and survived the test of time. And now she wanted to return to the safety and warmth of her watan!”Harinder Sikka
“With the passage of time, Sehmat withdrew from all activities of normal life. She also steadfastly declined to be honored by the government for her services to the nation and, instead, preferred to live in isolation and seclusion. Her guilt entrapped her like a vice and refused to let go.”Harinder Sikka
According to me, Sehmat from the book and Sehmat from the movie are totally different. Sehmat from the movie did a great job and justice to her character. But Sehmat of the book is not that weak or emotional. She is portrayed in the book as this perfect soldier who’s one and only motive is to win the war and protect her nation. She is so damn strong willed and stops at nothing. A perfect warrior. But the war has to end one day and she has to face the trauma and the demons of her Karma!
Lesson– Women are very strong. Physically, mentally and emotionally. History has proved this over and over again. I used to sometimes feel weaker and helpless because I am a woman. This book has charged me up for years to come.