Shah Rukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mahira Khan, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub Khan, Atul Kulkarni, Narendra Jha
Ritesh Sidwani, Farhan Akhtar, Gauri Khan
Rahul Dholakia
Action Crime Thriller

Raees starts with a bang, providing an ideal canvas for Shah Rukh Khan to put up on display his best histrionics ever. However, with a convoluted screenplay, Raees rises only to fall into a confused mess.

Though the makers have denied that the film is based on the real-life gangster Abdul Latif, the film that traces the journey of Raees (Shah Rukh Khan) from a street-smart kid to a successful bootlegger, does mirror a few incidents from Abdul’s life.

The narratives don’t really delve much into why Raees opts for an illegal trade but highlights his business principle i.e. ‘koi dhanda chhota nahi hota…aur dhande se bada koi dharm nahi hota.’ The film, like most onscreen gangster sagas also focuses on its protagonist’s compassionate and gracious side, so as to manipulate the audience into liking the anti-hero. So, while Raees is out there building an empire out of a prohibited business and even killing his detractors (the bad guys), he is also shown as this messiah who can go to any length to protect his people. Be it forcing the mill owners to pay for the unfortunate workers who lost their jobs to going bankrupt and debt-ridden while providing food in times of crisis, for his colony people.

As a character, the makers, no doubt, had found their perfect mould of a Godfather. However, the film falters in its execution. While the first half has all the masala to keep the audiences entertained, as the film moves towards its second half, it can’t sustain its initial energy. The narratives lose its grip, forces too many pointless scenes, throws in random songs and just falls flat. Director Rahul Dholakia packs Raees in such haphazard fashion in the second half that it leaves the audience disappointed. Even the love story between Mahira Khan’s character Aasiya and Raees, appears too forced and lacks the chemistry that the king of romance is usually known for.

However, what makes this film worthwhile is its two central characters – Raees and police inspector Jaideep Ambalal Majmudar, played by the powerhouse of talent Nawazuddin Siddique. His one-liners are hilarious and Nawaz yet again effortlessly shows his brilliance as a performer.  Now coming to our anti-hero — Shah Rukh Khan. The pathani clad, khol-lined eyes, intense looking SRK of Raees is something that you have never seen before. The actor steps out of his outstretched-arms comfort zone to deliver a raw, high on emotions, rounded performance.  Pakistani actress Mahira Khan is easy on the eye and emotes well. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub Khan excels as Raees’ partner in crime — Sadiq. Atul Kulkarni as Raees’ first boss Jairaj is good and so is Narendra Jha as Moosa.

These adept performances are further supported by some great dialoguebaazi, however, one does wish that the story too had lent a similar backing.

On the whole, Raees is indeed rich in performances but falls short in other departments. Watch it for SRK and Nawaz. 

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