Director: Rahul Dholakia
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Mahira Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Atul Kulkarni, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
Aggressive promotions, big league stars, battle with the censor board; Rahul Dholakia's ‘Raees’ has seen it all. Being one of the most controversial films in recent times, ‘Raees’ has nothing exciting to offer, unfortunately. Guess the makers have tried hard to make a film on the famous bootlegger of Gujarat and his illegal business but ended up making a quintessential Shah Rukh Khan film instead.
Raees (Shah Rukh Khan) lives a miserable life with his mom in Fatepura, Gujarat. Eventually, he starts illegal bootlegging for Jairaj (Atul Kulkarni). He grows and becomes popular in the business. Along with his best friend Sadiq (Mohammad Zeeshan), he decides to start his own business due to which he and Jairaj end up at loggerheads. Amidst all this, Raees proposes marriage to his lady love Razia (Mahira Khan).
Soon after, Raees expands his business and joins hands with Musa bhai (Narendra Jha) who gives Raees a contract to kill Jairaj. IPS officer Majumdar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is transferred to Fatehpura and is after Raees to bust his illegal bootlegging business, thus commencing their hide and seek game. Gradually, the life of infamous Raees turns upside down when he faces political bashing from the CM of the state and other political parties. And then begins a so called intriguing chase of betrayal and revenge.
Director Rahul Dholakia made an honest attempt to make a typical masala entertainment for the mass audience but gets confused between story telling and making a Shah Rukh Khan film. The film deals with too many issues like his previous film ‘Lamhaa’. The pace of the film is slow too especially in the second half. First half holds a slight promise to offer an interesting chase but fails to impress gradually. The biggest hiccup of the film is its weak plot. Except for the hide and seek between Shah Rukh Khan and Nawaz, ‘Raees’ is a yawn fest. The narrative of the film has been uselessly complicated by giving the political angle to it. The film could have been much more thrilling and gut-wrenching. It is a typical 70's drama but in 2017, it doesn't excite much.
The reviewer wonders, what was so extraordinary about the film that along with the makers, Shah Rukh Khan himself thought to push the release date of ‘Raees’ to avoid its clash with ‘Sultan’ or ‘Dangal’. That's not it, ‘Raees’ also created much stir with its clash with ‘Kaabil’ but to no avail.
Shah Rukh Khan surely steals the show in his rugged and intense character of a bootlegger. He knows the trick to survive a bad script. Nawazuddin is the master of his craft. He is a like a fresh breath of air in the film. He brings comical element which is commendable. Debutante Mahira Khan is awful. She is probably the first ever actress paired opposite Shah Rukh Khan who fails to ignite the spark with her chemistry on screen. A tinge of romance is sprinkled in the songs between the two which is soothing but songs are just fillers. Mohammad Zeeshan, Narendra Jha and Atul Kulkarni are good.
'Raees' is certainly a one time watch but don't expect the unexpected at all. If you are seeking a plot with enough twists then you will be disappointed. It’s just the run-of-the-mill ‘chor-police’ chase, which you must have seen infinite times in the past. Strongly recommended for Shah Rukh Khan fans.
P.S. ‘Raees’ is a slightly better film than ‘Dilwale’ and ‘Fan’.