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Raees is Rahul Dholakia’s second outing after his National award winning film Parzania and this time he got Shah Rukh Khan under him to attempt an out and out commercial entertainer but again once a director who has the knack of having the nuances in the film can never leave his taste which we can clearly see in Raees. He has tried to keep the essence of both the worlds, over the top commercial glitz plus the conscientious touch of a director to be technically accurate and trying to give a message at the end. Raees easily looks over-plotted like the retro stuff we have seen in the 70s with Amitabh Bachchan in the lead, so in the end, we do not have a new plot. The rise of a robin hood kind Bootlegger and the fall is what we have seen many times even recently in the form of Ajay Devgn’s Once Upon A Time in Mumbai and Big B’s Sarkar to name a few. Why Raees works as an entertainer is because of its technical finesse as Gujrat of the 80s and 90s looks authentic, the underlined message Dholakia wanted to give that nobody is 100 percent right and no one is completely wrong works, though he tries many things to say with the movie in a haywire manner but only one thing comes out clearly as he invested most of the time in plotting crowd-pleasing dialogues and over the top cinematic thrills. The thing which works the most in the film is Shah Rukh Khan, his presence ensured Dholakia to make a commecrical film and he delivered what his fans want without displeasing the critics. His attire, swag and dialogues are charismatic, certainly Raees is far better entertainer than some of his previous films like Fan, Ra One, Happy New Year and Dilwale. Nawazuddin Siddhiqui is one actor who just makes his presence felt even in small roles, he is supremely entertaining and intense here too. The face off scenes between him and SRK are superb, I wish we had more of those in the film and also wish Siddhiqui’s role got little more substance.
Talking about the short comings of the film, it has plenty. The film’s plot is dated, the background score is also very loud certainly to please the front benchers, Sunny Leone’s item song is a gimmick which was not at all required, other songs also halts the pace of the movie and Mahira Khan, who is otherwise a very good actor (remember her TV series Humsafar) looks here very unimpressive and useless toy of Raees in most of the part. All the other support cast comes as caricatures, talented Zeeshan Ayyub and Atul Kurkarni are just side kicks. The cinematography of K. U. Mohanan is very good but I have issues with the editing and the screenplay, despite having many plots it looks very long and repetitive in second half. Inspite of all this Raees has many entertaining moments and Shah Rukh Khan is almost in top of his game which makes the film a good one time watch, I’ll go with 3 stars out of 5.