A first day fan, that I like to call myself, I would never miss the first show of a film starring Shah Rukh Khan. I always want to know the film before others, so I can defend it. The act of defence began since Jab Tak Hai Jaan I believe, people started talking about how the man had lost his Midas touch. I, on the other hand relentlessly stood up for him.
As I walked out of the theatre after the end credits of Raees rolled out, the need to defend him stopped. The villain who went on to being stereotyped by the film fraternity as the epitome of romance was back in his element. The film that was thought out to be a serious, deep, artsy piece of work from the first look and the teaser surprised every man and woman sitting in the movie hall and turned out to be the most entertaining film in a very long time.
As hard as it is to deliver an unbiased opinion of a Shah Rukh Khan movie, I would have to say the film had it’s flaws barring the fact that it was a massive leap from the likes of Dilwale that was called out for being a debacle.
Firstly, the film could have survived as well without the inclusion of unnecessary romantic numbers. Apart from a couple of scenes here and there, those did not even serve the purpose of taking the story forward through montage. Except the part where Raees’s romantic interest, Asiya helps him get votes for the upcoming election and of course to show a softer side of an otherwise criminal, his lady love hardly had a role to play.
Secondly, if you are showing the life of a man who since childhood led a life of crime, do it right. On one hand you want to have a robin hood angle to it where you want to portray how he is golden hearted; on the other he influences his own community to forge a riot against a political rally thereby sacrificing the peace of the same community he wishes to serve.
We now come to the part where the story-teller is trying extremely hard to arouse our sympathies for the said character but in the next scene he goes on a killing spree seeking revenge from the very man who he owes his entire business to. (Okay, that was kind of justified) But that does not help the fact that this man did not have a strong enough backstory for the audience to root for him. Whatever sympathy and support he did get from the viewers was only because Shah Rukh was playing the part.
In Baazigar, his family was ruined; in Happy New Year, his dad was jailed, in Om Shanti Om, his lover was burnt to death. But what exactly happened to Raees? Except that he wanted to become a bootlegger when he grew up just because ‘koi dhanda chota nahi hota’.
In the duration of the entire film, there wasn’t a single boring moment although the chase did get a bit tedious. Raees managed to escape the cops too many times using multiple escape mechanisms which seemed to have a Don hangover and when he did get caught, he surrendered, unarmed, helpless, at Mazmudar’s mercy. That was quite unexpected from a powerful man like himself.
Keeping all of this aside, I would still like to conclude with the point that Shah Rukh did strike back with this one. The character portrayal was flawed, but he portrayed it as well as he could. In fact, every single actor in the film fit their roles perfectly well. Nawazuddin was remarkable as always, Mahira had a substantial part in the film and Zeeshan was the perfect friend to Raees. The actors ensured that those 2.5 hours and 250 bucks were well invested.
Now the long wait for Rehnuma begins.
(Editor’s note: Rehnuma’s review will be called Revnuma)