The creative edge and the commercial disadvantage of Raees is that it is a gangster film with a relatively sensible amount of realism to its credit. The mould of the story is pretty much in the same space of the 80’s Salim-Javed films. But the timely change in the presentation of drama and the way they gave space to each character in the film gives a cinematic appeal to Raees.

The movie is actually the entire life story of title protagonist Raees. As Gujarat is quite strict in prohibiting liquor, the bootlegging business there was quite strong. There were a few names that did this business and because of his passionate approach towards the job young Raees became a part of one of these gangs. The film Raees is actually about the rise of Raees from a mere gang member to a tycoon in the bootlegging business and what all things happen to him in that eventful journey.

The Salim-Javed element and the typical Gangster movie structure are there for sure. Even though it adds to the predictability factor of the content, there is an emotional nucleus to everything that is happening. It isn’t a mere exercise of swag of the hero. The characters are not fillers. All of them have a space and relevance in the drama and with multiple combination scenes and creative intercuts, the makers establish a rooted feel to the whole setup. The lack of attention in the scripting department in certain details (Aasiya’s pregnancy for instance) are some of the minimal mistakes which annoys you.

Shah Rukh Khan owns Raees with full charm and earnestness. The promos of the movie may have only showed us that side of the movie which emphasize on the tagline of the film. But from being an underdog to becoming a game changer and then going through many emotional dilemmas, Shah Rukh as an actor gets a wide canvas to perform and he uses it very impressively. Nawazuddin Siddiqui once again delivers a blended in performance. The arrogance and anger of Majmudar has that cool temperament which makes the hunt look very appealing. Mahira Khan is not there just for song and dance. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as the friend of Raees did a good job. The entire casting looked perfect for various roles.

Rahul Dholakia who earlier made films like Parzania, Mumbai Cutting and Lamhaa isn’t trying to make an entirely commercial film. The theme is such that it demands the treatment we see in mainstream movies. There are some phases in the script which wasn’t unnecessary but felt like a bit exaggerated ending up in the blind hero worshipping sort of thing (The Mera Dhuniya part). Except for those portions the content is invested in the realistic emotions. K U Mohanan’s frames are in sync with the realistic and stylized approach of the movie. Occasional counter dialogues like the ones we see in promos sounds classy. Production design of the film looks fabulous. All the songs are good and I really enjoyed the background score’s mass appeal.

Raees isn’t an error free classic commercial cinema. The ambitious efforts of the hero to be the people’s man kind of takes away the anticipated negative hero heroics image of the film. But even within the 143 minutes of its runtime they have managed to create a world in our headspace which in my opinion succeeds in creating the much needed ache.

Rating: 3.5/5

Final Thoughts

Raees isn't an error free classic commercial cinema. But they have managed to create a world in our headspace which in my opinion succeeds in creating the much needed ache.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


Categorized as Hindi, Review

By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.

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