What’s it about?
Raees is a Hindi film by Rahul Dholakia, starring Shahrukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Mahira Khan in key roles.
Set in the 1980’s, the film is about the life and times of Raees Alam, a bootlegger who rises through the ranks to become the king of the illicit liquor trade in Gujarat. His triumphs and challenges, his meteoric rise and sharp fall make up for the rest of the film.
The first half of the film is brisk and engaging. Watching Raees come up with ingenious ways to circumvent the law in his quest for building a business empire is the highlight of the film. Nawazuddin’s character has some truly hilarious lines and his interaction with Raees makes for some entertaining cinematic moments.
Apart from the performances, dialogues are the biggest strength of the film. With a throwback to the dialogues of a gone by era of films, the dialogues here are both crisp and applause worthy. What also works is the tone which the filmmakers adopt. Instead of going the documentary way, they have decided to make it more commercial, and this works in favor of the film. Art direction is also good as it successfully captures the time period in which the film is set. Special mention regarding the background music, as this is one of the best in recent times. It elevates mediocre scenes and keeps the viewer hooked on to the proceedings.
The film slows down considerably in the second half. Also, the makers try to add too many plot points and this makes the film feel a little bloated. The cliches one finds in gangster dramas begin to increase and the film takes a predictable path to the climax.
Songs are average and do not have the required punch to keep the viewer hooked, which is a shame, as good music would have certainly improved the watchability quotient of the film.
This is SRK’s show all the way. He is there in almost every scene and carries the film with a performance that is devoid of most of his trademark mannerisms. Also, since this is a more commercial film, he turns on the star charisma that he was known for in his earlier films, and is absolutely mesmerising in a few scenes. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, however, gets almost all the claptrap scenes. He adds a lot of humour to the proceedings without even trying. Mahira Khan has a limited role but does manages to hold her own in the more dramatic scenes. Rest of the actors have roles with limited scope but perform well nevertheless.
A film that works mainly due to SRK’s star turn and Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s quirky act, this should be watched in a packed single screen theatre to get your money’s worth.
3 / 5 stars