Guest Reviewed By Rachita Panda
So near yet so far from being the bad guy Shahrukh film we have looked forward to since the glory days of Baazigar and Darr.
OVERALL SCORE – 2.5/5
Raees is a 2017 action drama film directed Rahul Dholakia, written by Rahul Dholakia, Harit Mehta, Ashish Vashi and Niraj Shukla and stars Shahrukh Khan, Mahira Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub and Atul Kulkarni. The film follows the story of a small-time bootlegger who ends up being a liquor kingpin in the prohibition state of Gujrat.
The film begins like most of the films it’s paying homage to (Salim-Javed classics of the 70s) with a young upstart kid with the intelligence and daring of a baniya and Miya bhai respectively. The audience cannot be faulted if they start to believe that the film is going to go all out and produce a compelling antihero. The film also gives the audience an entertaining as f*ck Nawazuddin Siddiqui performance as the no-nonsense cop, Majmudar. The film now has an anti-hero to root for and a smart, one-line toting cop that goes up against him. All the dominoes are in place for an entertaining cat and mouse shoot em up. But alas, the film falls victim to the second half bug.
We are given a three-dimensional character with Raees, a god believing, secular, doting husband, intelligent, innovative, insult hating character. Shahrukh Khan is the bad guy and this is his wheelhouse. Shahrukh channels his internal antagonist and keeps the audience’s eyes glued to the screen. The reactions in the cinema hall when a certain murder happens and Shahrukh’s face gets a splatter of blood on it was the singular moment that showed the audience’s involvement with his character. The film could have gone one of two ways from that moment on and it chose the wrong one.
The film loses its pace and compelling nature when it moves into the territory of making him a hero to the masses. When this happens, the film is bloated with subplots and loses focus on the A-story. This is a film which dared to be bold with a lead character who cared about his Dhanda (business) and not much else. This is a film which showed its lead character beat some ass with a goat’s severed head. This is a film which had its lead character be smart enough to innovate ways out of sticky situations. This is also the film which loses track of all that aforementioned awesomeness in it’s somehow both rushed and bloated second and third acts.
This is the Shahrukh most of us have wanted to watch for the longest while. A Shahrukh who isn’t making an ass of himself on stupid reality dance show based movies or underwhelming us with ridiculous sci-fi. Shahrukh or, the ever excellent, Nawazuddin Siddiqui are not the problem here, the material that they have been given is. They try their hardest to elevate a story that is slowly digging a hole for itself it can’t get out of. The lesser said about Mahira Khan and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub, the better. That statement rings true because neither of them is given anything to work with and cardboard cutouts of them in the background could have sufficed.
Raees is one of the better Shahrukh Khan films to come out in a long time. There are some brilliantly humorous scenes, intriguing intelligent scenes, and primo masala movie action scenes (the CGI really needed some work). But the bad is on par with the good when push comes to shove. There are all the hallmarks of a 70s masala potboiler with a large breasted woman’s item song (Sunny Leone in this case), inexplicable one-liners, stupid politicians and so much more. If the plot was a more focused one with a mano-a-mano face-off between the two most compelling characters, we could have had a much more enjoyable experience but what we get is an incoherent plot that has as much of a pay off as unraveling a Russian nesting doll.
P.S. – Shahrukh Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui have two of the best character intros one can watch on-screen.
OVERALL SCORE – 2.5/5
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