The most awaited film of 2017, Raees stars the Badshah of Bollywood, Shahrukh Khan as Raees Alam and Nawazuddin Siddiqui as ACP Majumdar. Pakistani actress, Mahira Khan makes her Bollywood debut with this movie and is playing the love interest of Raees. The story is about the Gujarat-based liquor mafia leader, Raees Alam (SRK) who had a starving childhood which led him to become the don for the rich people and benevolent for the localities. His illegal “Dhanda” is rising in its peak and marries his lover Aasiya (Mahira Khan). But, the bad has to be kept under clutches, and ACP Jaideep Majmudar (Nawaz) is ready to do anything to arrest the bootlegger Raees at any cost. Their cat-mouse chase is interesting to watch and will keep you on your toes. But if we talk about the story, well, it fails to make an impact because there were a lot of elements which made it messy at the end. You can definitely make your republic day long weekend interesting with Raees, majorly if you are a fan of Shahrukh and Nawazuddin.
Raees revolves around a Gujarat-based bootlegger of the same name, played by Shah Rukh Khan, who finds the perfect foil in an earnest cop, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Rahul Dholakia's Raees wears religious imagery on its sleeve and the Indian audience has enough dimaag to figure out the story's parallels with a certain time period in Gujarat when a Muslim bootlegger was running wild in the state. There's the character Raees himself with his Robin Hood persona and his closeness to the then-Chief Minister of Gujarat. The opposition politician takes a rath yatra out to bring Raees down to his knees and soon enough, Raees is lied to by a Nawab bhai from Mumbai who gets the good gangster to traffic RDX into the country... Yes, this is a risky film, regardless of where you get your information from; newspaper archives or WhatsApp forwards. Putting that aside, the filmmaking is pure masala and this is one well-cooked masala movie. The story is not surprising; a gangster rises and he falls when he becomes bigger than the people who had patronised him for long. You have seen this a hundred times, but director Rahul Dholakia's treatment seems fresh. Lastly, the one scene where Raees and his men are shipping alcohol, which gives a new meaning altogether to the phrase "Naak ke niche se"; this is intelligent filmmaking in the service of a been-there-seen-that story with risky overtones.
Raees has passages that might feel a touch ponderous to those seeking tauter twists and turns, but overall the plot rings true all the way through. For Parzania and Lamhaa director Rahul Dholakia, Raees might be markedly unfamiliar territory, but he doesn't let that fact undermine the tangibility of the content and its context. The balance that he achieves lends the film sustained solidity. Dholakia keeps the action largely rooted in the chosen milieu while making way for ingredients aimed at upping the dramatic pitch. SRK is on top of his game here, recalling his Chak De India! performance in the process. Nawazuddin, in the middle of a red-hot streak, operates in a totally different zone. He digs his teeth deep into his meaty role with customary elan and delivering a dazzling performance. There are moments where the overlong film seems to make rough weather of combining two creative impulses - the big and the bold on one hand and the restrained and the rugged on the other - but the two principal actors make Raees rather easy to watch.
Gear up for a throwback to the great Salim-Javed blockbusters of the Seventies, where the hero grows up mid-action, every second line is meant to show off the character’s swagger, a Helen song (Sunny Leone here) breaks the tension and action sequences compel you to whistle. The first half is well-paced; it draws you in and makes you root for the bootlegger; Majmudar’s one-liners and the music whet your appetite and the Laila Main Laila sequence ups the ante. But the second half plunges into a weird Robin Hood zone where the antihero’s morals are suddenly defibrillated and he becomes a messiah. The movie takes a rough path there on, and the long runtime makes the ride bumpier. Shah Rukh Khan has never looked better; he’s full of fury and for once, isn’t spreading his arms, but breaking others’. The film lies entirely on his shoulders and he carries the weight most of the times. When he doesn’t, the ever-so-reliable Nawazuddin Siddiqui steps in with his crackling performance. In the trademark Nawaz style, he delivers some comic relief while playing the Tom to Khan’s Jerry. Mahirah is restricted to songs and a few emotional scenes, but doesn’t really add much. If her purpose was to soften the baddie, it’s lost on the viewer.The movie can feel a bit long, but if you’re going for a great Shah Rukh performance and some good ol’ popcorn-entertainment, it might just ‘raees’ to the occasion.