Raees is one of the most awaited films to release after fans watched its riveting trailer and extremely well-made song trailers. Raees is the fascinating story based on the rise of a bootlegger to becoming Gujarat’s most infamous liquor dynasty. He is revered as a Robin Hood or Pablo Escobar like figure to his colony. Raees rapidly bonds with audiences as the film is crafted by an extremely realistic film-maker and a megastar actor who previously essayed villainous roles with finesse but Shah Rukh Khan in & as Raees is pure gold!
Raees is introduced to us as a young boy in Fatehpura in the 1970s. He is poor, but assiduous, and works as a runner for a local bootlegger. He has a short temper, he holds onto grudges, and resents being referred to as ‘Battery’ as he wears oversized spectacles. By the time he’s older and has had some practice on the field smuggling alcohol in and out of the Prohibition state, he branches out to set up his own business, encouraged by his mother’s teaching that “no job is too small” and reassured by a mentor he was ready to rule!
The first half is enthralling stuff as we watch the anti-hero expand his enterprise on the strength of his quick thinking and sheer callousness. It is surely these qualities that make him such a magnetic figure, He softened up in the second half but still had callous. Raees became a liberator for his people, the mobster with a heart of gold, a profane humanist. The only flaw in the second half is that the plot slips into predictability and characters like the corrupt chief minister and other venal politicians come off as crude and a tad bit exaggerated.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, as Majmudar is an ethical police officer fixated on taking down Raees, and the thrilling interaction between both men that keeps you invested. Exploiting his relationship with powerful political figures, Raees routinely foils Majmudar’s plans, but the cop remains unwavering in his resolve. The scenes between both actors, featuring some terrific and are easily the best bits in the film. Mahira Khan is poised as the love interest of Raees. She makes an impact and connects with the audience, she has good chemistry with Shah Rukh Khan in the few moments they share together. Sunny Leone is brilliant as Laila, she totally set the dance floor on fire!
The film is powered by Shah Rukh Khan, as most of his films usually are. From his introduction scene, slashing his back during a Moharram gathering, to a Scarface-like shootout, all guns blazing, to his many moments simmering with rage, Shah Rukh commands your attention. In more pensive moments of the movie, and a quiet breakdown scene, SRK reveals the actor behind the star. Evidently inspired by the true-life story of Abdul Latif, the illegal liquor kingpin of Gujarat who was charged for his involvement in the 1993 blasts, Raees wisely steers clear of naming names and only hints at true events.
Raees is a well-made film but at some point, there is too much crammed into the plot in a short span of time. The editing could have been tighter and screenplay less foreseeable post interval, nevertheless The movie is an all-out entertainer with great moments of action, acting and superb music. Raees serves an engaging, vintage and high voltage gangster film. It is textured like a Bachchan film from the 70s.