Gujarat is under prohibition and RAEES is an act of fiction. Set in 1980’s Gujarat, this is a take on a real-life bootlegger, his political closeness to the top bosses and his downfall due to the same closeness. Here is the story of the rise and the rise of a bootlegger to create an illegal alcohol empire. Not any such local goon. This is a complete man, love, emotions, hatred, anger, money, all of it and he is the most powerful man in the state with his rags to riches story. He is popular, strategic, trusts people, loves cult following.
Not for him the staid one-dimensional thought of boring routine methods of business, he dives head first into his money making venture with new ideas and thinks ahead and is ruthless with rivals. He breaks bones, rules and also makes people weep with love for him.
There is a throwback to old Bollywood, slightly garish, with songs and a goon with a heart of gold. The first half is about lots of introductions, the cop ACP Majmudar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), Sunny Leone and off course Raees.
Raees, comes from a less than privileged background and then sits on an alcohol-fuelled empire. Smuggling is the modus operandi and politicians, as usual, are his business partners. He hates his spectacles and has driven a business from small time Ponzi to big time bootlegging strategies.
Alcohol money fuels Fatehpura in Gujarat. He has the charm and the brains and killer ambition. He has a loyal sidekick, tons of rivals and he wants to grow, so he has to do the normal killing, threatening, jail term etcetera. He also grows into a Robinhood, wants to run for elections, supports violence when he ambushes a political rally with flaming bottles of spirit, taps phones and marries to find some moments of happiness learning about his unborn child and a wife who partly tries to reduce his rough edges.
He comes with layers of personality almost making us love the bad boy. Love him, worship him or cower in fear, this is Raees , always ahead of his rivals. Here is a movie which talks about the fact that goons have hearts too and this has been proven time and again.
Raees is smart, but tad emotional, so illegal shipments go past cops, but he trusts the wrong people, picks fights galore, and struggles at some level.
SRK brings to Raees his usual screen presence, his menacing anti-hero from his early career and his unending lust for power or whatever it is that he has set out to achieve. He looks the part; and in the absence of spreading his arms on snow-laden slopes, he looks likes he is in the midst of a full day’s work.
The movie is about the battle between the good and the bad. It is captivating and forms the crux of the film narrative. Director Rahul Dholakia’s Raees has religious undertones as seen in the Muharram scene, the meat market scene and his love for violence as part of business, this masala mashup, the one-liners, the product is different. SRK it is all the way. Watch this man in the pathan outfit on his body, the khol mixed with determination in his eyes. SRK never looked better. He carries the film from the time he is a goon to his cop-robber game played brilliantly (as usual) by Nawazuddin Siddiqui whose breaths just to kill crime.
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