RAEES directed by Rahul Dholakia, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Mahira Khan. Raees runs an illegal alcohol empire business where cops try to tarnish it. As always, an empire of such, you also have friends or enemies, but the other big concern is to saving the ego intact and keeping those surrounded around you in a good relationship. Raees has to deal with obstacles to keep his empire from tarnishing. Does he succeed or will a twist in the tale see his empire dismantle?
- After the buzz surrounding the film for many months, delays and setbacks, the film finally released and what stood out the most were the exceptional performances. Having Shah Rukh Khan as the lead star, one would assume he will carry the film all by himself. But another co-star takes a bit of that spotlight, no not Mahira Khan, it is Nawazuddin Siddiqui who tags along and not allowing Shah Rukh Khan to be the complete face of the film. Both the stars countered each other with their performances and not allowing the film to be one sided. This was impressive to see others around Shah Rukh Khan get given an important presence as well so it does not feel the film is solely on one star, it gave more demeanour to the film on a whole.
- The dialogues were striking, whether it was the way they were narrated by the stars or simply the manner they were scripted, some are noteworthy, Nawazuddin is given the good comical one-liners whilst Shah Rukh Khan delivers meaningful dialogues as that adds the thrill to the story.
- The director has utilised some close ups to help build the tension, these shots have been executed to a great scale especially the ones associated with Shah Rukh Khan. His gangster type hard look avatar works commendably and this is complimented well with the background musical score.
- The scenery has been polished to bring a feel of an era set back in years, the surroundings, the avatars, props and specifically the look of Raees the man himself was perfect. The bad boy look of Shah Rukh Khan has been represented superbly, making you forget the romantic image that he has carried from majority of his films. The violent persona with expressions is priceless and one to admire of pure excellence by the star as a gang lord and confident individual running his own territory.
- The major frustration with Raees would be the predictable plot, not only is it predictable but it is sluggish. It has loopholes, that distract the flow of the film. Firstly, such concept needs consistent suspense. At times, it is present and it is very effective, but it is never maintained. It comes and goes, this makes it a distraction and uneasy to watch at times.
- The script needed more gangster type suspense, it was missing in some parts of the film where it was required. It also did not help with the inserted songs; some were successful whilst some may come as a interruption. ‘Laila Main Laila’ was perfectly fine because it created a platform for action to occur but other songs especially ‘Zaalima’ despite sounding so beautiful, it really slowed down the pace of the scenes prior and post of the song. The problem with Raees movie is the stop and slow moments. One moment the tension is being built up but then it comes crashing down again for it to once again try to build up.
- Without revealing any details of the script, itself, the film lacked realism with the way some scenes were being carried out. Being in the business of illegal alcohol exporting, not enough was being done to track Raees. There are also concerns with the chemistry of Shah Rukh Khan and Mahira Khan, it seemed as if less importance and effort was made on their characters coming together, it never really added something special to the storyline.
- SHAH RUKH KHAN – Great avatar for Shah Rukh Khan, he imposes the role with confidence, style and the arrogant attributes really well. He is great to watch and does what he does best, he allows his aura to bring the entertainment to the movie. The daring look that is presented with a little soft side to it, he is perfect in luring the audience’s attention. The rage and fury shown through his eyes and expressions, the slick body language and the urgency on doing business, for once he is not blossoming the screen with romance, instead he is a man showing no mercy and this new avatar attracts so much notice. He has done well stepping out of his comfort zone to run his own empire.
- NAWAZUDDIN SIDDIQUI – One would assume a co-star would act in the shadows of SRK, but Nawazuddin grasps his opportunity to play a cop who does justice to the film. His interactions with Raees is engaging, the face off moments, the hysterical one-liners and demanding attitude, the role was simply fitting for him. He was a delight to watch, manages to utilise the screen space and leave moments for the viewer to recall as he does not allow SRK to outplay him on screen.
- MAHIRA KHAN – A subdue performance, quiet and not much of a bearing amongst SRK character. She is unable to leave a significant effect on screen, she was decent in trying to be involved in this male dominated business, but her character had lack of development, she never had an impactful moment. Just adds a romantic angle to this gangster world.
Overall, I would rate RAEES 3/5. The film is a decent watch but it is not amazing. Shah Rukh Khan fans will be in for a treat, but as a film fanatic it may leave you with slight frustration considering how much hype was surrounded to it. The screenplay could have been better if written with more conviction and development, the lack of innovation with the plot did not do justice to Raees, it was all too predictable and not much was being done to alter the outcome. Shah Rukh Khan is a pleasure to watch whilst Nawazuddin Siddiqui never fails, he carried out his role brilliantly whilst Mahira Khan was average with hers as she hardly managed to take control in any of her scenes. There were glimpses throughout the film, the suspense was there but not maintaining consistently enough, allowing flaws to surface.