The book on which Meghna Gulzar’s espionage drama “Raazi” is based will hit stores around the same time when the film releases on May 11.
Harinder Sikka’s “Calling Shemat” is the story of an ordinary girl who becomes a spy driven by the desire to fulfill her father’s wishes and national duty.
Though the book was published some years ago, Penguin Random House India will bring it out in a repackaged and new format.
Sikka says he felt very strongly that Sehmat’s story needed to be told.
“Her amazing courage and fortitude are what need to be celebrated. I’m glad that the film and the book are coming out within short span of each other and each will in its own way tell this exceptional story,” he says.
When young college-going Kashmiri girl Sehmat gets to know her dying father’s last wish, she can do little but surrender to his passion and patriotism and follow the path he has so painstakingly laid out. It is the beginning of her transformation from an ordinary girl into a deadly spy.
She’s then married off to the son of a well-connected Pakistani general, and her mission is to regularly pass information to the Indian intelligence. Something she does with extreme courage and bravado, till she stumbles on information that could destroy the naval might of her country.
The book is inspired from real events.
“This book is an extraordinary spy story that talks about the grit and determination of a young woman to save her country (India) during the 1971 war with Pakistan,” says Vaishali Mathur, Executive Editor and Head Rights and Language Publishing at Penguin Random House India.
“It’s also poignant in its portrayal of the characters involved in the war showing the more human side of people and the choices they make – proving that heroes are not different people but they choose to do things differently,” Mathur adds.
Alia Bhatt is playing the role of Sehmat in the film and Vicky Kaushal her husband.
Sikka is currently the group director (strategic business) of Piramal Group. He was in the Indian Navy but took premature retirement in 1993. He has also produced the film “Nanak Shah Fakir”.