Raees isn't a single piece
Director: Rahul Dholakia
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mahira Khan, Atul Kulkarni, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, et cetera
Being screened at QFX Cinemas
A familiar plot, tried and tested tricks of a masala flick and many moments that want you to suspend logic — all these elements together make Raees.
Rahul Dholakia's Raees has a familiar plot — it is about an ordinary person Raees (Shah Rukh Khan) becoming a hotshot criminal, who is adored by the public, but is chased by one upright police officer. Set in 1980s Gujarat, it tells the rise of an ordinary employee of a bootlegger to becoming a shrewd, cruel yet golden-heart bootlegger of Gujarat. He is challenged by tough cop Jhatak Majumdar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who is committed to catch Raees at any cost.
In this cat-and-mouse chase, the contents of a typical Bollywood masala movie — romance, dance songs and gunfights — get good space. Though gunfights and other action scenes make sense, most romantic moments between Raees and Aasiya (Mahira Khan), and their romance numbers are out of place. And do not try to find logic during many incidents as the plot moves ahead, as you won’t get one.
Dholakia has focused his attention entirely on Shah Rukh, who appears 'in and as Raees' in the film that is centred around him. His gangster avatar (with kohled-eyes and fierce expressions) is charming enough to woo moviegoers. But most other things he does in the film — beats the goons, jumps from one roof to another with ease, knows how to dance and sing, gets his girl, easily fools cops, is a good-at-heart and principled character but cruel and shrewd at the same time — are nothing new and are for his fans only.
Siddiqui, as the tough cop, does his part well in whatever screen space he gets — but it seems a waste of such a talented actor, whose task seems to enhance SRK’s character. However, the duo's onscreen chemistry (elevated especially by shrewd dialogues) is commendable.
Actually, it makes no difference whether there is Mahira in the film or not — thus, the addition of songs and romance seems an attempt to give her screen space and enhance the glamour quotient. This newcomer doesn’t make much of an impression.
The music is okay, but even one of the songs — Akhi Duniya — is dedicated to elevate SRK's character. But unlike the song's lyrics, which says Raees is a 'single piece', the film or the character isn’t unique or single piece. It is another not so-fresh masala film.