Not a gangster to die for

Film review

Not a gangster to die for

Raees
Hindi (U/A) Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Mahirah Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Director: Rahul Dholakia

No business is small, mouthed his mom. And Raees makes a big killing out of that single piece of wisdom. Later, an entire village sings he is in fact “a single piece in the entire world”.

The terrific piece in question gets down to bootlegging business right from school. Kohl in eyes and a fire in heart, he grows to become the contraband king of Gujarat. And the journey ought to be bloody, with bullets finding an uncomfortably violent rhythm and precision early on, silencing all of Raees’ rivals.

Espousing violence? The man kills many, but appears guilt-free throughout.
After all, he makes amends by adopting his community (free meals during riots, housing complex, English medium school et al). When cops come calling, the folks of Fatehpura — Hindus and Muslims alike — shield Raees, their Robin Hood.

Said to be based on the life of a gangster of 80s, the movie gives enough fodder to Shah Rukh Khan to reinvent the anti-hero in him. It’s a delight to watch him go about his wily ways, with zero celebrity baggage.

That said, Raees fails to satiate the thirst for the thriller it was touted to be.
The meetings between Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui (brilliant as the earnest cop) are full of subtle sparks.

While Khan takes the menacing route, Siddiqui does an ultra-fine act as the transfer-prone officer. Barring their chemistry, nothing much works in the film’s favour. Mahirah Khan makes little impact.
The liquor tale plateaus after the initial kick and fails to deliver a high.

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