RAEES Movie Review: Battered and Boozed

Director : Rahul Dholakia
Music : Ram Sampath
Lyrics : Javed Akhtar
Starring : Shahrukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mahira Khan and Atul Kulkarni

January 25, 2017 10:29:17 AM IST
Raees Review By Vishal Verma, Glamsham Editorial
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Shah Rukh Khan in and as RAEES has finally hit the screens, clad in well stitched pathanis, the all time on screen sawariyaa of many females around the globe has a restricted nazariya (problem in vision), he wears those gold rimmed glasses on his kohled eyes, speaks in that deliberately toned baritone borrowed from Mr. Bachchan's iconic Vijay Chauhan from AGNEEPATH and gets terribly angry when someone calls him battery (a slang used for those who wear specs).


Ironically, this could have been titled ' JAB BATTERY BOLNE PE GUSSA AATA HAI' and whenever the Bollywood king of romance SRK starts breaking others' arms instead of spreading his in this film, a wacky smile tried to expand my lips as a flashing image of Saeed Akhtar Mirza's ALBERT PINTO KO GUSSA KYU AATA HAI (1980) starring Naseeruddin Shah passed by every now and then.

While ALBERT PINTO.. was the result of the parallel cinema's dhoom (read upsurge) during the 80's, RAEES is inspired from Bollywood's masala action crime thrillers from the same era and is allegedly based on Gujarat's most wanted outlaw Abdul Latif and it's a deliberate attempt in reclaiming King Khan - Shah Rukh Khan's crown back but alas, RAEES is battered by a kangaal (read banal) script and boozed ( read drunk) by the superstar's overconfidence.

Such is the eagerness (arrogance is a better word) that the makers and the icon SRK choose a character like Raees Alam (the makers deny but startling resemblance to Gujarat's liquor baron Abdul Latif cannot be ruled out) to claim the crown. Raees Alam fails in getting the emotional connect and the sympathy of the audience, the underprivileged Raees lives with his mom in Fatepura, Gujarat. He works for a local illegal 'desi' hooch maker and in due course starts illegal bootlegging of English liquor for Jairaj (Atul Kulkarni). Raees keeps the bottle of liquor along with his best friend Sadiq (Mohammad Zeeshan) in his school bags and gets tagged by Jairaj as the one with 'baniye ka dimag or miyan bhai ki daring'. Jabra fan clap clap while others are flapped by the fact this is how this bunch of four writers that includes the helmer Rahul Dholakia, Harit Mehta, Ashish Vashi and Niraj Shukla are gung ho in forcing this gangster story as SRK's glory.

Anyways, a relief to an extant is experienced when Raees grows and starts his own business of bootlegging and comes at loggerheads with IPS officer Majumdar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). In between his dhanda (the term used for smuggling) King Khan gets time to romance Razia (Mahira Khan) in the worst chemistry seen in SRK's pairing. What on earth was this casting walla - Honey Trehan smoking (oops drinking). Khair (Anyways), Majumdar and Raees indulge in some interesting hide and seek games making you feel that all is not lost and picture abhi baki hai mere dost.. but the ghost of predictability, routine political angle seen in numerous potboilers and the robin hood syndrome bugs this crime thriller fatally reducing it to a strictly routine crime drama.

The pace is sleepy, even the outstanding qualities of Nawazuddin as an actor who surprisingly gets a better etched character than SRK fails to uplift this affair that gets more and more boring during the second half.

Shah Rukh Khan is at the top of his game and he is seen trying very hard. His entry and scenes with Nawaz are a stand out. But all his efforts turn waste because his character Raees fails to get the sympathy of the audience especially during the final reels.

Supporting actors Mohammad Zeeshan, Narendra Jha and Atul Kulkarni are good.

Technicalities are fine. Rahul has captured Gujarat well before and here also the crafting is commendable. The background score leaves its mark and the action sequence especially the one at the slaughter house and the another one during the religious procession stays on your mind and its excellently executed giving an example of SRK's terrific energy that's undoubtedly the best amongst the Khan's trinity.

As far as Sunny Leone in her 'Laila' avatar is concerned, I will humbly request a ban on remixes of cult numbers like 'Laila'. Ram Sampath's music is also disappointing.

If you are still reading this then you must be wondering why this gangster flick was planned if the lead character fails in creating the required connect and sympathy? The producers Excel and Red Chillies were involved in SRK's previous gangster avatars - DON, DON 2. The commercial success of this remade gangster entertainer DON that starred Mr. Bachchan in the original made way for its sequel - DON 2 and its success in spite of the brickbats received alleging the purpose behind making a sequel to the already remade classic seems to be the only reason.

Surprisingly, RAEES (meaning rich) is not just a GARIB (poor/average) film it's GARIB in its entertainment quotient as well.

Shah Rukh Khan is a RAEES (rich, talented) actor and he doesn't need the remakes of DON and stories allegedly based on most wanted criminals to prove his stardom. A simple 'suri' from RAB NE BANA DI JODI, or the lovable junior artiste 'Omi' from OM SHANTI OM can do it while the coach Kabir Khan from CHAK DE! INDIA will stay forever allowing us to hug 'Jug' from the recent DEAR ZINDAGI. And we hope he realizes that very soon. RAEES is a story that should have better remained untold.

P.S. Nothing personal it's all in the 'dhanda' (business), the above rating is the result of the generosity derived from the character played by Nawazuddin that holds some good virtues and keeps us in the hook for the next probable surprise).

 Raees Review Rating : 
2.5/5 stars
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