Movie Review: Raees
Producer: Red Chillies Entertainment & Excel Entertainment
Director: Rahul Dholakia
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mahira Khan, Atul Kulkarni and Sunny Leone
Music: Ram Sampath
Rating: Three and a half
In recent times, Shah Rukh Khan is exploring all avenues and taking risks few actors would to shock his audience and treading on the less traveled path with films like Fan, Dear Zindagi and now Raees. The best part is that from a creative angle, his choice of films are ringing in benefits where he is experimenting big time and pushing himself to the next level as an actor.
Director Rahul Dholakia is the same man who gave us the hard-hitting and one of the best movies ever made in the history of Indian cinema, Parzania and when he teams up with SRK, there is bound to be novelty in the way the film is crafted. On the onset, I must confess my fascination for movies or novels that revolve around the life of gangsters and find them particularly sexy with the power play, conflict, and the old-age victory of good over evil, providing the director or narrator comes with a kickass story, paisa vasool pace and, of course, histrionic performances.
The film takes us back to the 80s where Raees (Shah Rukh Khan) want to succeed on his own terms as a bootlegger and shows his mighty power that makes his people love him to death and his foes loving to hate him. Shah Rukh incarnates the Robinhood of the reel in a modern fashion and incarnates material aspirations. It somehow reminds me of his role in Ram Jaane, one film that I loved but which was built more on the commercial premise. Alternately, Raees is one film that marries commercial and realism in varying degrees. In short, the film’s USP is built skilfully on the conflict between Raees and Jaideep Majumdar, brilliantly depicted by Nawaaz.
The dialogues are cleverly written and designed to tap the pulse of the masses, ‘Baniye Ka Dimaag Aur Miyanbhai Ki Daring’ and ‘Ammi Jaan Kehti Thi, Koi Dhanda Chota Nahi Hota Aur Dhande Se Bada Koi Dharam Nahi Hota’. It stands as the stuff that would garner seethis, taalis and coin throwing on the screen. Now, that’s what mass appeal is all about and makes us remember the heydays of masala in the 80s and 90s. Raees is very masaledar with all the box ingredients, whether it’s the sets recreating the 80s to give it an authentic feel or the cat-and-mouse game between SRK and Nawaaz. The pace and the action sequence that leads to jumping from vintage car to flock of goats and slaughter-house and meat mandi in ‘Bombay’ ups the quotient and sends an adrenaline rush. The pace is swift and tautly helmed by Rahul Dholakia.
The movie belongs to Shah Rukh Khan, right from the word go and he carries the film entirely on his shoulders, delivering in raw intensity, showcasing his acting repertoire. King Khan gives depth to his character Raees and it’s something he hasn’t done in recent times. SRK showcases his mettle in the scene where he assaults the Chief Minister who takes the Rath Yatra out. It’s a huge gamble to play Raees and he does so with gusto. He is matched at every step by Nawaaz as the obstinate cop and his dialogues, for instance, Dhandha band kar le, Warna saans lena bhi mushkil kar dunga’, in the first half is a sure shot winner. Nawaaz is simply magnificent and sensational playing the cop and the clash with SRK is top-notch. Atul Kulkarni delivers a notable performance. Mahira Khan looks glamorous and performs decently.
On the flip side, the terrific pace in the first half slows down to post the interval and except few songs like the recreated Laila main Laila and Zaalima, the rest doesn’t live up to the expectations. However, the climax is sensational and unfurls in high-voltage entertainment where Rahul Dholakia packs a punch in the treatment meted out. It’s not the run-of-the-mill type but works wonders for the audience. The director is the real hero in extracting the best in SRK and Nawaaz that makes Raees a sure-shot bonanza for the audience. A rare gem that comes once in a while and something we haven’t been treated to in recent times. Sunny Leone deserves a mention for her sensational dance number where she scorches the scene. Raees is a sure shot winner. I love the dialogue, Dhande mein koi Hindu–Muslim nahi hota’ which says a lot on humans and makes a perfect pitch for unity in an age if intolerance. You cannot afford to miss Raees. Battery sala!