From quite early on in director Rahul Dholakia’s Raees, you get a sense of what the rest of this terribly misguided biopic on a bootlegger/gangster will entail. As a series of flashy cuts introduce the viewers to the plight of young Raees, who grows into an adult, that too in a match cut, you get a sense that the movie is a harmless pastiche to the Salim-Javed brand of movies.
Nothing wrong with that.
However, it is apparent in these first few moments that Dholakia is aiming to achieve a Scorsesian docu-drama flourishes through Raees. What sets in instead, for the large part, is a nervousness that never really settles for a consistent tone.
And even though operating with bravado, which is splashed at least in the material, Raees comes across as a very dry drama.
In the movie, Raees (Shahrukh Khan) starts smuggling alcohol in prohibition-era Gujarat, not without up-ending a few souls. While the line of good and harm is ever skewed for Raees, there are few things even this morally-vague gangster would not do.
What is even more unsettling in Raees is the way it rushes through the life of its protagonist–leaving all the subtlety out to only highlight the punctuations in the life and times of the character.
There is no motive in the way Raees operates. And this is hugely problematic to the shade of goodness clumsily given to him as if to save the character from venturing to a more antagonist zone.
Ditto for the way it handles its villain in the form of cop (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). The cat and mouse chase never really reaches a crescendo and the by the time director Dholakia gives his hero a final chance of redemption that tears him enough to finally question his acts, it is too little, too late–making one question whether this very misplaced Salim-Javed/Scorsesian mashup was even needed.
A fair answer would be a ‘no’.
Published on February 3rd, Friday, 2017 11:09 AM