Set in the backdrop of Gujarat’s Liquor Prohibition Act, Raees brings back the plot of a good smuggler with a good cause stuck in ‘ganda dhanda’. He believes no business is ‘ganda’ and goes all out to prove the same! Rahul Dholakia’s ‘Miyabhai’ Shah Rukh Khan in and as Raees is the savior of the film. With humble beginnings comes out a daring and dashing smuggler, politician and businessman Raees who loves his people and has good morals. You’ll be forgiven if you believe you are in the 90s and predict the plot mid way.
The action-crime-thriller’s leading star Raees is a mix of Pablo Escobar from ‘Narcos’, Amitabh Bachchan’s angry young man character from ‘Zanjeer’, and Ajay Devgn’s Sultan Mirza in ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai’. The film’s opening sequence shows a street smart child, who works for a well known and dangerous liquor smuggler, Jayaraj (Atul Kulkarni, who’s as usual briliant). Though he’s predictable, Shah Rukh Khan adds his good old charm and saves the movie.
Nawazuddin Siddique is a gift to Bollywood; He plays a righteous cop, Jaideep Ambalal Majmudar and makes you crackle many a times. The scenes of confrontation between him and Raees are the strength of the movie.
Mahirah Khan as the sweet and supportive wife of Raees is a breath of fresh air, however, doesn’t shine as she does in her previous roles on Pakistani television. If you’re expecting Sunny Leone to set the screen on fire, give this one a miss. It’s a bad rendition of a hit 80s song and ‘Laila main laila’ proves Bollywood’s item song mantra is fading. The rest of the songs are not great and forgetful. Also, the movie is 20 years too late.
The supporting cast of the movie is brilliant, especially Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, who plays the role of Siddiq, Raees’ partner in crime. Some of the actions sequences are well-placed and sometimes filled with heavy drama.
The Hindu-Muslim riots are just a fill up without much exposure and Dholakia has played safe with the sensitive plot. His 2007 release ‘Parzania’ was hardhitting and edgy; Don’t expect the same with Raees. The movie gives out a lovely message of unity among the Hindu majority and the Muslim minority in the country.
Verdict: Give it a miss if you aren’t a fan of King Khan! Watch it for Shah Rukh Khan-Nawazuddin’s pleasing performances!
Written by: Deepa Kalukuri