Highway Reel Film Review: Raees

Starring – Shah Rukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Atul Kulkarni and Mahira Khan

Director – Rahul Dholakia

Rating -3/5


King Khan essays the role of Raees, a bootlegger from the gullies of Fatehpur in Gujarat. He plays the baddie with a golden heart, who learns the tricks of his trade at a very young age. Using his ‘Baniye Ki Dimaag and Miyan Bhai Ki Daring’, he builds his own empire. Like any other mass-y entertainer, the hero here is flanked by his textbook entourage: a loyal sidekick, Sadiq (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub), a beauteous love interest, Aasiya (Mahira Khan), a trusted mentor and confidante, Jayraj (Atul Kulkarni). Then there’s the one obstacle in the way – inspector Majumdar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui).

The film being set in the ’70s, it promises to take you back to the era when the larger-than-life hero is worshipped by the people. He is like the Robin Hood of the masses, who goes to any lengths to protect the people, despite all his wrongdoings.

The first half of the film is quite fast-paced and equally entertaining, especially when Raees locks horns with Majumdar. Raees’ sharp and witty comebacks invite several whistles from the audience. The action sequences, however, fail to create a great impact as they don’t pack the required punch.

Usually in a blockbuster film of this calibre, the hero’s entry is one to look forward to. And even though SRK was splendid throughout, his very first frame fails to drop your jaw. Towards the second half of the film, there’s a general dip in pace. Director Rahul Dholakia almost gives away the climax until a fabulous twist gets your heart racing again. It’s only during the last few scenes that you’ll be able to predict how this onewill end.

Coming to the performances: SRK’s bad-guy act is commendable. He sure looks and plays the part of a bootlegging gangster to the T. But glorious as his role is, you don’t develop any emotional connect to the character he essays.

Another major disappointment is that there is no building of the romantic angle with Mahira Khan in the film. I feel this could have been explored a little more – they look great together and light up the screen with their chemistry. Mahira is absolutely gorgeous and her acting prowess can give any existing Bollywood heroine a run for her money.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui has yet again proved that he is terrific and can hold his ground even around someone like Shah Rukh Khan. His cheeky lines and character quirks will keep you chuckling.

Zeeshan has become an expert at playing  the small town guy who’s always sidelined by the hero. His effort is laudable and he surely deserves better roles and screen space, I think.

Another brilliant supporting role is that played by Atul Kulkarni, who blended into the character of a Gujarati liquor baron with seeming effortlessness.

Ram Sampath’s compositions Udi Udi Jaye and Zaalima will stay with you even after the film ends. Sunny Leone’s sizzling item song Laila Main Laila brings in the apparently mandatory oomph factor.

Interestingly, Rahul Dholakia had all the right ingredients to make the film perfect but he still managed to leave one slightly underwhelmed.

Supriya says: Raees is a promising entertainer and definitely worth a watch but you’ll wish there was a little more dimaag and daring in the film!

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