January is almost over & we have the first major releases of the year in "Raees" & "Kaabil" on the eve of the 68th Republic day. Since I was busy with my work commitments, I thought to watch them over the weekend after all both the trailers seemed to give the impression that it was worth watching. With the FEDAL match set to commence in less than 6 h, I decided to first check out SRK's "Raees" which has been in the news for quite some time be it for the Pakistani actress or the clashing of the movie with "Kaabil" which was frowned down upon by Rakesh Roshan. Anywaz it has hit the screens now & it remains to be seen whether it will be able to challenge the undisputed run of "Dangal"???
The film unfolds in Fatehpura in the 70s where Raees (Shubham Chintamani) his buddy, Sadiq (Shubham Tukaram) in their school years also doubled up as carriers for the local bootlegger. They later on join the gang of Jairaj (Atul Kulkarni), who was the kingpin in this business. With time, Raees (SRK) in Jairaj's words due to his "baniya ka dimag aur Miya bhai ka daring" becomes the trusted lieutenant of his boss. But Raees's dream to set up his own empire makes him loggerheads with Jairaj & Co. All their efforts to stop Raees fails, but a bigger threat for all of them was Jaideep Majmudar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), an honest police officer who was hell bent to wipe out the illicit alcohol business in Gujarat. Will Jaideep prove to be nemesis of Raees???
Rahul Dholakia's credentials as a director needs no introduction as he was awarded the National award for "Parzania" in 2002 which was based on the Gujarat communal riots. His previous outing "Lamhaa" didnt make much stir at the box office; there are huge expectations from "Raees" after all it is a SRK movie. Even though Rahul & his team who had penned the script claim the characters to be fictional, there is no doubt that the protagonist is inspired from Abdul Latif, the king of illegal alcohol business in Gujarat. The first half is absorbing as SRK rocks the screen with his negative character shades. However post-interval, the character is mellowed down & made to play to the galleries showcasing him as a gangster with a heart of gold.
In the technical department, there were some fantastic dialogues while K U Mohanan visuals deserve praise. The VFX effects weren't exactly top notch & the action sequences could have been choreographed better. Ram Sampath's music was ok with "Zaalima" rendered by Arijit Singh & Harshdeep Kaur being the stand out one while Deepa Bhatia ought to have done a better job with the editing in the latter half.
Shahrukh rocked as the protagonist & carries the movie with his charisma whenever the screenplay faltered. His scenes with Nawazuddin were the best ones in the movie & the latter was brilliant as the police officer. Mahira Khan has done a very average job & her chemistry with SRK wasnt upto the mark. It was a role which could have been much better performed by any of our leading Bollywood ladies. Zeeshan Ayyub has done justice to his role while Narendra Jha & Atul Kulkarni were fine as well.
Verdict: "Raees" is creating waves at the box office as expected as it has collected close to 60C in the domestic market in just 3 days. It's been a while since SRK had a blockbuster & from the looks of it, this is likely to do just that. There is no doubt that the fans will love the movie while the rest can be assured that it is worth a one time watch provided you dont expect anything out of the ordinary. In short, you can give it a try!!!