Raees is here! After so many months of delays and uncertainty. Released on the eve of Republic Day, Raees has marketed itself
RaeesCrowd pleaser. Shah Rukh as the angry young man.
Raees is here! After so many months of delays and uncertainty. Released on the eve of Republic Day, Raees has marketed itself just right over the past 5 months. There is much talk about King Khan’s latest stint as a fierce gangster, and rightly so. Shah Rukh Khan has repeatedly confessed to the media, that he would like to be seen in a role which portrays him as the angry young man, in classic Bachchan era Bollywood style. He has even gone on record to say, that he doesn’t want to be remembered as the guy who does ‘pansy love stories’. However, even though he is infatuated with the concept of starring as a 70s action hero, is Shah Rukh (our favourite romancer) really upto the task? Was a film like Raees his true calling? Or was it just (dare we say, another), error in judgement on the part of Red Chillies Entertainment. Read on.
First, let’s meet the actors.
Shah Rukh Khan in and as Raees
Mahira Khan as the female presence
Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub as the sidekick
Nawazuddin Siddique as the police officer
Raees is a very basic gangster film, if we are not to mince words. It is rash, full of masala, not very high on logic and certainly not at all realistic. It also commits the common cinematic crime of glorifying dons and criminals. It is poorly edited and like a bad college essay, relies too much on hyperbole. And yet, you will walk out of the movie hall smiling. Why? Because it is entertainment cinema done right.
You have your average don, who lives by his warped sense of idealism. Of course, he has risen from the grassroot (to attract the masses) and reaches unfathomable heights, only to be met with the realisation that not all obstacles can be dealt with a few punches and gunshots. He has a torrid affair with the local beauty, just to keep things from getting too dark and gruesome and he has a sense of confidence which is disproportionate to his social stature. This is the story. The fact that it is based on the life of Abdul Latif (a Gujrati bootlegger/ mafia man) is insignificant, since there is not much correlation between his reality and Raees’s fiction.
Shah Rukh tries his best, and to a mild extent, succeeds in portraying the textbook Bollywood gangster. His dialogues are dramatic and heavy, just as they are supposed to be. His action sequences aren’t bad and every time he as much as looks at Mahira Khan, you can feel your heart swoon. Just as striking as the excessive kohl in his eyes is throughout the film, is his conviction. It’s actually very endearing to watch him fulfill his on screen fantasy. After much trial and error, Shah Rukh finally manages to channel his inner ‘Bhai’, or in the case of Raees, his inner Bhaijaan. We would however, have enjoyed Raees much more if Shah Rukh was even half as menacing as he was in Baazigar.
Mahira Khan plays the love interest. Everything about her seems a little foreign, and not to quote the radical nationalists, but we do believe that any other Indian Bollywood heroine could have outperformed her, if given the opportunity. She does however, look adequately beautiful in all her scenes. On the outset, her role was very limited (redirecting the spotlight to Shah Rukh)
Nawazuddin Siddique and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub play out their characters very well. They have limited roles, and still manage to leave their mark. The actors are under utilised and we would have liked to see a little more of their antics. They were both very measured and restrained in their acting.
Since all the emotion is so heavy handed, everytime Shah Rukh chases down a bad guy, everytime he changes his strategy from basic to brilliant, you will feel yourself thrilled. You will love his character’s uninhibited confidence. You might even find yourself swaying pleasantly to ‘Zaalima’.
In summary, it’s a typical 70s Bachchan film, with Shah Rukh in the lead, better cinematography and a bad soundtrack. It is however, bound to be a blockbuster. You don’t get such unadulterated entertainment cinema anymore, even in Bollywood. If you miss that kind of heavy masala cinema, then Raees is just the ticket for you. If you would rather sleep at home all day than pay to watch Shah Rukh with a gun, kohl and spectacles, then definitely don’t waste your time. I give it 3/5.
You will like this film if- Deewar and Once Upon A Time In Mumbai are amongst your favourites
You will dislike this film if- You cannot stand Shah Rukh or entertainment cinema
Best performance- Nawazuddin Siddique