Head of Media Planning and Execution at Alliance Advertising
& Marketing, watches a movie only if he
enjoys the promo. Perhaps something to do with his self-created standards of declaring
a movie good or otherwise. Hence, some people avoid going to movies with him.
Release: January 25, 2017
Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mahira
Khan, Muhammad Zeeshan Ayub
Director: Rahul Dholakia
The much-awaited gangster flick Raees finally released in January with a superb opening weekend, but entering the ever coveted 100 crore-club cannot be a benchmark for a successful film in India anymore, not if it is a Khan film. For the top three Khans,
the bar should be set higher, maybe somewhere near 300 crores. Also, just by entering the 100 crore-club a film cannot be certified as a good watch.
Raees, directed by Rahul Dholakia is a predictable saga of the rise and fall of Raees (Shahrukh Khan). A young boy who is brought up by his poor mother (Sheeba Chaddha), has been taught by her that “no business is small, as long as it doesn’t hurt others”.
They live in India’s alcohol prohibited state of Gujarat where liquor has always been in great demand due to prohibition, and bootlegging remains one of the profitable professions for those who have “banye ka dimaagh aur miyaan bhai ki daring”. Supported well since childhood by Sadiq (Muhammad Zeeshan Ayub), Raees starts working for Jairaj and one fine day he decides
t o s t a r t
h i s o w n
J a i r a j ’ s
a t t i t u d e
he ends up
c l a s h i n g
with Musa Bhai (Narendra Jha) who eventually funds his business. Through a lot of ill-contrived sequences, it is established that Raees is not just a dreamer who wants a monopoly in the bootlegging business but he is also a gentle, kind hearted, generous
soul who becomes a messiah for the poverty stricken, under privileged, stereotypical locals. His love for Aasia (Mahira Khan) leads to marriage and eventually having a son. All this while, an incorruptible police officer, Majmudar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), in the totally dishonest and crooked system is trying to stop this trade of bootlegging by applying different techniques, but fails.
Raees becomes the king of the business and his mere presence threatens Jairaj, who until now for some reason has tolerated all this. Jairaj tries to get Raees killed at a Muharram procession
unsuccessfully which leads to Laila (Sunny Leone) providing Raees with a “well concealed” weapon, helping Raees take revenge and the wiping off of Jairaj’s gang and business. Raees comes home trembling, with blood on his face and tells his wife that he has committed a sin.
Right, so apparently Raees felt bad after killing Jairaj as he knew him since childhood or for whatever lame reason and Aasia consoles him. Unfortunately they both don’t realise that the trade Raees is in, has probably been hurting more people and destroying more homes.
From that point, my only interest was to watch the classy and subtle performance of Nawazuddin, I really didn’t care about the story or what Raees was doing to maintain his trade. When he becomes a politician or when the CM changes sides or when finally Nawazuddin gets hold of Raees.
Shahrukh, Nawazuddin, Mahira, Muhammad Zeeshan and Atul Kulkarni did try their best, as far as acting is concerned, in this loosely knit screenplay, poor continuity and appalling edit. Most other characters like the CM, the opposition leader, Musa bhai and his henchman etc were simply created to somehow take the film to an even more predictable second half.
Mahira’s character wasn’t even required;
it could simply have been the legend of Raees. A fine and technically correct actor like Atul Kulkarni didn’t have much to do, similarly Narendra Jha’s character Musa bhai didn’t do his talent any justice.
Nawazuddin and Shahrukh Khan hold the film as much as they can but four different styles of beards can kill any film. Imagine SRK having a natural looking fake beard in a scene where he is standing outside a police van and in the next shot he is in the van with a
fake looking fake beard. But overall it was a very good project for Nawaz, commercially. Now he has worked with all the top three Khans with a guarantee that whenever he needs to take a break from good meaningful cinema, he can bank on a Cash-Khan.
The songs were good enough to keep the audience engaged and music director Ram Sampath needs to be applauded for this effort, his best though in my opinion would be Delhi Belly (2011).
Rahul Dholakia coming back as the director and co-writer of Raees couldn’t have done more to direct the great SRK. However Rahul’s best work Parzania (2007) was a long time back and I am guessing he has just warmed up with this come back after
an absence of seven years since Lamhaa (2010). And by the way, the character of Raees was supposedly based on Abdul Latif, an underworld don in Gujarat who had
monopolised the illegal liquor trade in the state. He was wanted in over 100 cases of murder, extortion, kidnappings etc and was also allegedly involved in the 1993 Mumbai blasts as the facilitator who supplied the explosives. Nawazuddin and Ram Sampath was also allegedly involved in the 1993 Mumbai blasts as the facilitator who supplied the
explosives. Now why would you want to glorify such a monster? Young minds anywhere in the world take film characters quite seriously. Nawazuddin and Ram Sampath – Raees deserves two out of five.