Raees : Movie Review 2017

There’s something about films based on gangsters, criminals and underworld… Have often wondered, why are several film-makers across the globe so fascinated by this genre? Though I am not a huge fan of this genre, I must confess, I have thoroughly enjoyed a number of crime sagas made in Mumbai: DEEWAAR, DHARMATMA, PARINDA, AGNEEPATH, SATYA, VAASTAV, GANGSTER, SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI… Helmed by some of the best names in showbiz, tRaees-1hese films have tremendous recall value and left giant footprints on the sands of time, besides leaving an indelible impression on my mind.

There’s tremendous speculation about RAEES… That the story is inspired by true events… That it’s based on a real-life character… Frankly, I am not the right person to comment on the authenticity of characters/episodes depicted in the movie or verify the speculations, but as a moviegoer, I must confess, RAEES did transport me to its world.

A majority of films that highlight the lives of criminals/gangsters have a set template vis-à-vis the plotline: An ordinary person takes to crime, becomes a hotshot criminal, hobnobs with the rich, influential and powerful, but, eventually, the law decides to get even with him. RAEES follows a similar graph as well… the only difference being, this one is more realistic in approach than several films of this genre.

Director Rahul Dholakia depicts the power play and the cat and mouse chase between Raees and the honest cop Jaideep with flourish and that, in my opinion, is the mainstay of the enterprise. Having said that, I must admit, what takes the film notches higher is the terrific portrayal by SRK and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who breathe fire in their respective parts. More on that later!

Here’s the plotline in succinct…Set in 1980s, Raees [Shah Rukh Khan] is trying to beat the system and succeed on his terms. His natural flair for entrepreneurship and never-say-die determination while achieving his goals makes him both loved and feared. Enter Jaideep [Nawazuddin Siddiqui], a cop, who vows to eliminate crime… and Raees’ empire.

Recreating the bygone era is a Herculean task, but the toughest part is to involve the present-day audience that’s clueless about the characters and ambience of that era. While the production design recreates the atmosphere flawlessly, Dholakia and his team of writers [Harit Mehta, Ashish Vashi, Niraj Shukla and Dholakia himself] ensure that the written material has the power to keep the viewer engaged and engrossed. Resultantly, the movie not only brings back memories of the 1980s, but also gives you the feel of the days gone by thanks to the characters and episodes highlighted in the narrative.

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