Movie Review: Spend your money on plate of Jeera or Sambar Raees instead!

Two thirds into this 150 min ordeal, Shah Rukh Khan angrily snarls ‘Kaun mai ka laal hai.. Kaun mai ka laal hai.. Saala’. The style of delivery instantly reminds you of the one and only don of Bollywood – Amitabh Bachchan. That’s the only time you feel for someone in this dated Gujarati illicit alcohol trader version of Pablo Escobar of Narcos. Back in his peak, Bachchan used to successfully carry ordinary masala movies on his shoulders. King Khan can’t carry Raees, but his charm will get the box office ringing. Credit though to ‘miyaan bhai ki daring’ step of doing grey roles the past few years, well outside his comfort zone. 

Bad casting, bad usage of cast

Raees, at best is a one time home watch. It doesn’t have glossy locales, nor picturesque shots of Gujarat, nor any memorable song, no proper glimpse of Sunny Leone (!) neither taught script nor a decent female lead. Seriously, any television actress would have done a better job that Mahirah Khan – who it seems was roped only for controversies and to cash in the Pakistan market. The support caste is completely wasted – that’s a fleet of talent in Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Jaideep Ahlawat, Narendra Jha, down the drain.

Nawazuddin Siddique’s performance was always going to be a highlight and he doesn’t disappoint. Although the script which initially built up to a Nawaz vs SRK showdown, meanders down later reducing Nawaz to just a standard cop. Ditto for the script. Which initially promised series of well crafted heists, murders and incidents later reduced to randomness. In not a single incident do you back the protagonist or the antagonist to win, except for one political rally showdown towards the end.

2017’s first big release disappointed me no end with loose storyline, bad editing, no depth in characters or plot. To cite an example from its long list of flaws, from the time the female lead declares her pregnancy to the time the child is born, Mahirah’s tummy is dot like the movie – absolute flat. 

Disappointing Dholakia

Rahul Dholakia’s only memorable work to date is Parzania, a movie which gives a convenient one sided story instead of the complete Gujarat riots picture. Same safe template.. Hindus are painted as perpetrators of violence and hatred while Parsis & Muslims, the innocent victims. 

He has three major contributions to this movie though. Giving a great look to Shah Rukh. Trying to stage the 1980s – A Rs 10 note on a groom garland, DSA bikes, Dyanora television and importance of Tutti-Frooti icream in that era. Lastly, the message that work is religion and your work or business should be above religion. Dholakia also explains corruption is always born out of needless prohibition. So a supposed dry state like Gujarat, today does Rs 25000 cr of alcohol sales annually.

King Khan deserves better scripts

Shahrukh has been trying away from his chocolatey hero roles – with mixed success. Dilwale, Chennai Express and Happy New Year all did 350cr+ business worldwide. Each of them were average to ordinary fare. It’s now become a trend. People troll him no end (unfairly) but come under peer pressure to watch and admire a Shah Rukh movie. Outside the hall, they again bitch.

We deserve better from King Khan. My recommendation is spend that Raees ticket money on plate of good Jeera rice or Sambar rice instead. That may make him realise he needs to get into better projects.

Rating: 2/5 (One for Nawazuddin and his ‘febrit’ (favourite) sweet, another for SRK’s look, charm and performance)

Box Office Prediction: Will gross over 200+ crores worldwide, as people will know its clumsy movie but still go to watch him. I dare say it will do better than Kaabil.

Yours truly in deep conversation with Nawazuddin Siddique during Darpan Film Festival Singapore 2013

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