Review – Raees (2017)..a puerile attempt in concocting a gangster-saga that must have looked amazing on paper! (2/5)

Rahul Dholakia’s SRK starrer is a letdown, in many ways. It wastes an eager SRK who’s looking to break away from his stereotyped image; it wastes an extremely talented Nawazuddin Siddiqui (to a trifling side-character who doesn’t have much to do, so much so that his role in Bajrangi Bhaijaan looked better ugh!); it reduces the heroine to a mere prop who has a smile pasted on her face (almost 99% of the movie except for the end bits) and appears mostly just to adore the hero and dance with him; it fails to capitalize on an engaging bootlegger plot-line. The music and BGM are also ho hum. The twists are instantly forgettable.

The synopsis is something as ancient as the history of gangster films. Raees’ childhood portions resemble the initial sequences of Kamal Hassan’s Nayagan but carries none of the zest of the latter. There is no coming-of-age portion as such, a slight relief in a way (saves the viewer from further boredom). A few not-so-exciting action set pieces (one at a butcher shop and one a badly-done parkour set-piece!) keep the viewer from completely snoozing away. The movie does amp up its pace a bit in with the entry of Nawazuddin’s Majmudar character but the viewer soon realizes that the director is only interested in following the tried n’ tested template of the ruthless bootlegger outsmarting the cop on several occasions.

You do expect things to take a turn in the second half but again the yawns just keep piling on. The political angle and the forced insertion of a few non-fictional events are all done in underwhelming fashion. I did like Zeeshan Ayub’s character of Sadiq but there is very little exploration done into any of the character psyches other than Raees’ (that too for a film that runs close to 142 minutes).

SRK smirks, seethes, brawls and dances his way to glory in a role that requires him to maintain his charismatic screen-presence all throughout. He does succeed in doing so, partially, with the right set of expressions, his appearance and costumes quite on-point. Mahira Khan’s role is unfortunately a forgettable one. Nawaz’s one-liners make the viewer occasionally let out a chuckle but his character too is underwritten.

Overall, ‘Raees’ will most likely not be regarded as a winner in SRK’s filmography but I still appreciate his boldness in trying to break away from his Dilwale/Happy New Year mode. Give it a watch on DVD later in the comfort of your home or when it airs on television!

Watch the trailer here:

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