Raees: Nawazuddin & Shahrukh’s aplomb performances save the film from falling flat on its face, and surely it deserves one time watch if you are a fan of either of one.
What works for Raees is exactly what doesn’t work for it. A grounded, honest cop spewing zinger one-liners in a restrained manner is chasing an overblown swagger anti-hero who is delirious to woo the ‘mohalla’ and audience alike. It’s not difficult to experience that you are watching two different films. The one starring our beloved star Shahrukh Khan as Raees who goes ‘back in time’ to play the anti-hero crippled by the wobbly characterization that can’t decide where to incline his loyalty- to the character or his mohalla’s people. And the other starring our beloved actor Nawazuddin who effortlessly slips into his character and maneuver smartly like Micheal Jackson, in this mess of a film.
Having said that, the headlock between these two accomplished actors sets the screen ablaze. The inviolable screen presence of the superstar and the undefiled actor compliment each other who involuntarily hijack the plot to showcase their insurmountable talent.
Without divulging the core plot, which I presume, everyone knows by now; I would just brief it. The film is set in the 70s and 80s, and possibly written at that time only. It will reminiscent of everything you have seen in the films of the 80s. A local boy — who prefers stealing spectacles than loaning the money to buy it– having a sidekick (like Pran Saab in Zanjeer) sets up a smuggling empire in the dry state using his wits directed towards voracious ambition. Not to anyone’s surprise, an honest cop (like Sashi Kapoor in Dewaar) takes the helm ‘in written’ to bring Raees to his knees. What follows is the predictable chase of an honest man trying to catch a swindler who later turns into Robinhood. Every bit is predictable, even the climax.
The film starts on the rousing note, and without much struggle, Raees rises to the dominancy of bootlegging business. The intricacy of smuggling alcohol in a small town ‘Fatehpur’ is detailed, and the narration moves bit-by-bit setting the stage for morally vague anti-hero and adamant cop. The first half has compelling drama that, in spite of certain glitches,promises a taut second half which it does not have. All the steam fizzles due to lack of credible screenplay that manipualates the character and tries twisting the plot for sake of it.
The trance inducing hooch when mixed with strong caffeine served in the new bottle, neither will appeal to a sober guy nor will it gratify a boozer. The fault lies in assembling these two distinctive but well-written characters. Both the lead actors does justice to their respective characters. SRK’s charismatic and arresting screen presence with the dash of suave and eloquent eyes does compensate for the tepidly written character of a businessman who considers his work as his only religion. Rahul Dholakia could not balance the massy character in his ‘almost’ realistic Gujrat. His inept for writing and directing full blown commercial scenes is quite evident while he handles the other scenes like a prolific film-maker who knows his shit well. That is the reason why Nawaz’s character feel more grounded, Dholakia is more comfortable to handle it. Not robbing the fact that Nawaz did a brilliant acting in the film, and why not, he can make even an outlandish character of Faroz/Shiv Gajra from Kick terrifying (a little funny too).
Mahira Khan looks drop dead gorgeous. Zeeshan Ayyub & Atul Kulkarni are wasted in the film. The placement of songs is awkward, I mean just to fit a song they ‘create’ an unnecessary situation that hampers the pace of the film. The writing is shoddy, unimpressive and lacks even the ounce of originality. Having said that, Nawazuddin & Shahrukh’s aplomb performances saves the film from falling flat on its faces & surely deserves one time watch if you are a fan of either of one.