Raees (2017) Hindi Movie Review


Running for almost three long hours, ‘Raeez’ is a grim, and yet mostly mindless gangster flick that does not leave you breathless. Appearing puffy and trite by turns, it pushes in all the gangster chestnuts in a rather bloated package.


Ecstasy gives way to an odd emotion that almost borders on the uncertain, when the protagonist in ‘Raeez’  is informed of an impending new arrival in his family, and is almost immediately assigned a task to bump someone off the line.  This conflicting temperament is what marks the psyche of don that we get to see in the film, but the dazzling sparkle here and there that one gets to witness in Shahrukh Khan’s ‘Raeez’ does seem too few and very far in between.

Rahul Dholakia’s film seems to be in a no compromise mood, and sets its story in Gujarat. It tells us the rise, fall and rise of Raeez (Shahruk Khan), a Muslim gangster, who would stop at nothing, until he get to pull that mighty throne right towards him and majestically recline on it once and for all. This isn’t an undemanding ride for him, and the blood that is spattered all across an eventful life, makes him want to mull over it time and again.

If a film that is as obsessed with its anti-hero as ‘Raeez’ is, still looks up to S P Majumdar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) for its clap worthy moments, you realise that something is amiss in the way it has been penned. It mostly has to do with the way in which the gangster tries out every trick in the trade to ascertain his integrity, and to declare vehemently that there will never be a compromise on values.

The format that the film sloppily adopts, is that of a Bollywood masala flick that should have graced the screens a couple of decades back. It doesn’t help much either, that the plot, or rather the lack of it, makes it look decrepit, and wanting on several elements. The surprise facet too is disastrously low, if not non-existent, and the predictability truly kills the film.

It’s the 80’s, insists the makers, and we are all in agreement, though questions abound. And then ‘Laila O Laila’ happens, and you tell yourself that it’s just Sunny Leone. You might then apathetically pretend to  care two hoots for the plot, and try assuring yourself that this is an SRK show – nothing more, nothing less – and one real hardcore one at that, and yet come back disappointed from ‘Raeez’.

This isn’t a film that tries to be politically correct, or offer a verbatim take on events that you might be familiar with. Those instances that you might have come across in real, might even have streaked in by accident, and ‘Raeez’ does not try to transcend the authentic material at the cost of its commercial value. It plods along, playing out like a spluttering tape recorder that lets out a familiar track in disjointed bits.

It’s a true delight to watch Shahrukh Khan in ‘Raeez’, and I should admit that it’s infinitely better than many of the feats that we have seen from the actor in recent times. Those kajal lined eyes are deceptively efficient in the film, and if Nawazuddin Siddiqui still manages to steal the show, its only because of the high voltage performer that the man truly is. And of course there is the beautiful Mahira Khan, who is, well…there.

Running for almost three long hours, ‘Raeez’ is a grim, and yet mostly mindless gangster flick that does not leave you breathless. Appearing puffy and trite by turns, it pushes in all the gangster chestnuts in a rather bloated package.


Verdict: Average


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