Raees Movie Review: Nawaz takes the spotlight away from King Khan in this mediocre crime drama

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Right after we exited the press screening of Shah Rukh Khan starrer Raees, a bitter debate ensued about the film's climax (wish we could spill the beans). After the film's production unit repeatedly claimed that it is a clearly a work of fiction - the parallels between the story of Raees and his muse Gujarati bootlegger Abdul Latif Shaikh, is baffling. For one, we certainly are convinced the film is largely inspired by his life. The tours and detours are on the same lines. The climax merely reiterates any doubts one may have had during the course of the film. Understandably, crediting is a risky business given that the names being dealt with in this movie aren't feather light in any fashion. Why bring this up at all? Like all works of art that interest us, one must be inquisitive enough to scratch more than just the surface of things that catch our fancy. 

Raees is enticing (may be), filmy (hell, yeah), part-mediocre with a few promising moments but it definitely manages to pique curiosity. Too bad, the story, in its attempt to play safe, loses the plot. Director Rahul Dholakia cannot be labelled as anything less than delusional if he claims there is no link between Latif and Raees. What's great is that Shah Rukh Khan, despite his lackadaisical approach brings the enigma of the robin hood-esque don to the fore. It is SRK's shot at being Bachchan, mouthing heavy-duty dialogues, paying a quiet tribute, maybe even trying to borrow the tricks of longevity from the Shehanshah. Opening to the backdrop of a polished 80s, the film is the story of a boy's humble beginnings, how he gets taken in by the deliciously sinister world of crime, faces the highs and lows of it but never loses sight of his benevolent side. The King of booze is a messiah in the dry state of Gujarat for more reasons than one. His acute sense of business 'baniye ka dimaag' coupled with 'miyaanbhai ki daring' helps him climb the ladder faster than expected. Of course, Dholakia doesn't tamper with the material much but neither, does he use the potent stuff to create an exemplary narrative. It is no wonder that for the most part, Raees is drier than Gujarat would've been minus him as the story claims. His troubled dynamics with his mentor Jairaj (played by a crackling Atul Kulkarni) is explosive but doesn't translate as impactful on screen. 

The lacklustre storytelling, classic to the 80s is probably the movie's biggest weakness. It is a masala potboiler that picks up everything wrong with the bygone era - slow-mo death shots, heaving breasts of buxom ladies, loud dialogues packed with drama, enunciated dialogues et al. The cat-mouse chase between Nawazuddin Siddiqui and SRK is another element peculiar to the 80s, that is partly-gratifying. 

While a lot of it works, primarily because of an effortless Nawaz who hogs every frame he is in, what doesn't work is the haphazard editing and a dull second half. After the zillionth transfer, Nawaz's Majumdar ceases to be as much fun. There is a long running gag about how he wants every instruction written on paper which goes on till the last scene. The otherwise luminous Mahira Khan is not used well. Thankfully, she doesn't settle for a gratuitous part ala Fawad Khan of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, she definitely doesn't do much for the story besides being easy on the eye. 

To point out that the film is unoriginal is futile. Besides blaming the convoluted writing of the film, its forgettable songs at regular intervals hardly makes a strong case for it. Its fabulous dialogues are a handful in number and doesn't have the punch, one may have hoped for. To be fair, Dholakia is more to be blamed for the fiasco. It isn't terrible but paying homage to the baddies has been done frequently in Bollywood. If you are bringing back a lost genre, at least get it right or attempt to give it a fresh spin. Rahul does neither! By DNA, Raees is far from falling under Dholakia's skill set. Then, who is the right man to blame? Maybe it is kohl-eyed, too-good-to-be-bad superstar who wouldn't stop doing indulgent ham fests despite knowing he is made for better. Mr Khan, when will you make us doff our hats next? 

We rate the film a 50% on the Pinkvilla Movie meter

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Comments

Being a hardcore Bollywood fan, I LOVED Raees. Not the best film or anything, but it's nice to see SRK in a masala entertainer film. And it's been so long that SRK dawned a negative role. Of course there is always room for improvement - songs, story plot etc. But all in all it's actually watchable. Nawaz is AMAZING and Mahira didn't do much in the film. Now I really really want to see SRK in Darr part 2 or something along those lines

Shah Rukh and Nawaz were both terrific. These two should definitely do another movie together.

I loved Raees. Shahrukh was awesome, looked amazing and his eyes conveyed myriad emotions. Nawaz was very good. The interactions between Nawaz and Shahrukh were very engaging. The movie is well made. But I can't think of any other actor playing Raees like srk. He owned the role.

Its a fantastic movie !! Whoever is bad mouthing hasn't seen it for sure. I think we should start asking them scenes sequences and let the chip falls.... LOL

Bollywood has two stars who are very over rated with very mediocre acting talent. One is Madhuri Dixit and the other is Shahrukh Khan. These two got way way more than what they have deserved. Both are being rejected now by today's audience which is a good thing. SRK's last 3 films were flops and so is Madhuri's last 3 films. And not to forget that both of them are expert in buying awards!

SRK's last 3 films were flops? Uhh go back and have a look. Dear Zindagi was a clean HIT, Fan was a FLOP, Dilwale was a SEMI HIT (although, an underperformer in terms of expectations). And if you take out Dear Zindagi in which he had a supporting role, then you have Happy New Year which was also a clean HIT. And Madhuri Dixit is a 50 year old woman in Bollywood. Bollywood hardly makes good female lead scripts for women of that age (English Vinglish is the only one that comes to mind from recent years). In an industry where an actress's career is cut after she hits her early 30s, the fact that she is still getting offers speaks volumes.

Pinkvilla not posting my comment but want to tell i have Watched this movie yesterday  . I wonder how this guys wrote negative about movie and SRK. I agree Nawaj is good but SRK also equally good. Look at SRK eyes,  he just acted with his eye's. It's too good yaar . I watched movie yesterday but still I have effect of him over him. SRK character is not cracking jokes and Nawaj character crackes jokes that doesn't mean SRK has not acted and Nawaj acted.  Does humor is criteria for acting. SRK character was serious ond. Both thr actors acted well as per there character. SRK also shown now that not only he is good in romance but also in intense action roles. I remember SRK movie Swades was flop when it was released everyone bashed movie. Now it's classic movie.

i don't care how much the makers were threatened by the MNS, but cutting the lead heroines role to almost nothing is pathetic!!the makers probably generated more money out of the controversy. lots of mahira fans went to see the movie because of her and came out so disappointed. karan johar did the same thing with fawad khan. some democracy eh!

Okay to bully one group but not Okay to bully Sanjay Leela kind of societies never become civilized following law and order

Both songs Udi Udi Jae and Zalima were also chopped off to the same length as shown in trailers.

Finally srk pr is here...;)

I fell in love with srk again.I don't know if its copy or not I don't think any actor could have bring intesity passion other srk. he just killed it. it's a treat for srk fan. me in.the first place was not all intrested in the first place but when srk came onscreen I was just mesmarized by him. what an entry man.... his chemistry with mahira was good in my personal opinion I don't like him with anushka and deepika as age difference shows. I saw the movie last night till now I can't get over srk. srk should do more anti hero type of mobies he looks smoking hot

Mahira role or whatever made it through edit does seem incoherent its bad character development not bad acting. what reviewers are missing is that if feels natural like real life and not "acted" in an otherwise masala movie.the other who seems real life is zeeshan ayub.

Now that you fail to impress, so coming up with excuses. Girl, a good actor can show his/her skills in few mins.

Her scenes were chopped off so she gets panned but still all small time reviewers are praising her. The popular ones are under tha radar of MNS. Remember, bullying one group and then getting sad for other ( Sanjay Leela ) never works. You are making people used too of threats and abuses.

she has nothing to prove she has proven her skill in movie BOL

Mahira, how many times you will repeat same comment? Be happy you got chance to work in Bollywood and with SRK.

47 CRORES IN 2 DAYS..THE KING IS BACK..keep dreaming HATERS..more power to SRK. AWESOMEEEEE Movie guys. Go watch it on my recommendation..just for the acting..!!

Raees was too good. SRK nailed it.

I thought I won't like it but the film was amazing tbh. SRK was ace.

loooooooooove the film. it is great and srk and nawaz were perfect. sorry HR but you can't spoil this. stop spreading fake hate!

Are you sure this review fro raees!!! Come on! I just finished watching it and it is a very good movie. SRK excellent and how.

Me and my whole family loved the film. Solid with great acting.

Take the songs aside. The film was faaaaaaaab. SRK was in top form and sexy, brilliant and intense! Raees is a very good film with great hidden details.

SRK is brilliant actor. Should do more roles. I loved him in the film.

This review is so not for Raees! Sorry, I watched the film and it is quite great tbh. SRK killed it.

Very gritty and gripping movie. I loved it. SRK was phenomenal. will watch it again.

this review makes the movie sound more crass than it was. the only heaving breast i saw was sunny leones and that was a dance move lol and in the end she ends up being part of the story in a subtle way (her dancing seems to have improved a little as well). the dialogues were filmy but not derogatory. Nawaz had 2 transfers that i noticed...the only thing i agree with about this review is the editing was weird when it came to the songs. and there was no real character development for mahira so the things she does later seems bafflling and also their chemistry was a bit off considering the relationship... but in the end this story is about Raees and his many enemies (one of which is nawaz), and raees staying true to his dreams and values. Watch for the nostalgic thrills and fights and intervals of romance, stay for the inner battles that shah rukh brings to life just through his eyes.

Mahira's role was edited out when it went to censor preview. Must be someone from MNS present there. Teaching people that its ok to bully and harass one group but not okay to harass and abused the other ( sanjay leela ) never works.

The film was great. Not sure who come up with this review????

This review is really weird. I saw the film and I LOVED IT. SRK was terrific to say the least. and I was so into the story of his and his growth and falls.

WOW! Look at the fake negativity here by people! The film actually is fantastic. And people are loving it. Time to stop spreading fake comments and likes!

SRK you are a great actor! I loved Raees. Please do more grey roles and your intro is breathtaking. The ending was perfect and not over dramatic at all. Just awesome awesome film. People here are just funny! I thought the film has some serious notes to make despite being entertaining. Hats off to the makers.

Good movie. Good acting and all. Will watch it again for sure. SRK is doing some incredible work lately. He is a bro in grey characters.

LOVE THE FILM. SRK IS BRILLIANT. Love from Dubai!

Who says it is mindless!! LOL. I saw the movie. It was really really good. SRK was perfect and so others were fab.

Just came after I watched the movie in Canada. It was awesome and SRK was brilliant. And it was houseful since yesterday all shows despite no holidays here. Not sure why you guys here speak rubbish. Clam down

Copied or not.......... Raees is entertaining watch ( I'm NOT an SRK fan)......SUPER PAISA-WASOOL, SRK was good, there were too small scope for Mahira as an actor in the film, But Nawaz.......MAAAAAANNN!!! Is there any role that he can't play??? Brilliant ! Brilliant! Brilliant!!! Bollywood should give him bigger and better more complex roles in commercial movies and count him as lead............. 'Cause he truely could be the Daniel-d-Lewis of India!!!
P.S.- the concept of Kaabil itself is taken from Daredevil (If you don't know yet). Now I'm going to watch NAARCOS............

SRK looks superhot in the movie. Puts the younger lot to shame, amazing....loved it!!

He was epic!! The action scenes and all. first class. Also his introduction. Scary but sexy!!

He was outstanding and looking so damn GOOD!

This review is so fair and unbiased. Speaking as a die hard SRK fan - I slept through most of the film as the scenes were so repetitive and boring. The ending was completely silly - and Mahira looked so good but had nothing to do. If this film was made for entertainment then it didn't succeed on any account and it definitely didn't send out a good message!

The movie was boring and SRK has lost his charm. He really needs to pick up good scripts and not just projects.

I'm no big fan of SRK and i loved the film and it was fab. WTH you are talking about! lol

50%? Wow!

saw raees. Mahira has done complete justice to her part or what is left of it one can tell Her scenes are chopped off one can clearly tell since they were in the trailer . She was meant to act and have mannerism according to 80's which she does. She held her own ground infront of SRK. The two look like husband and wife as they are meant to . Its honestly surprising and sad to see the media's bias. SRK was brillant

can our Indian filmmakers come-up with anything original? NOW THEY HAVE STARTED COPYING FOREIGN TV SHOWS. SIGH.

another Flop after Fan & Dilwale kabeli was better

I just saw raees. Mahira has done complete justice to her part or what is left of it in movie. some of her scenes are missing you can tell . she held her own ground infront of SRK. the two have chemistry. Its honestly surprising and sad to see the media's bias. SRK was brilliant.

Kabil is a copy of Korean movie..both movies watchable

I saw the movie yesterday. It is a good one time watch but if you are an SRK fan then a second watch. For srk fans they will never have seen srk like this before. This is a different role for him this is the kind of role ajay devgan usually does and many times i wished ajay was in place of srk. Srk was good but not that good. Nawaz is damn good as he usually is. Mahira is average. I have heard on pinkvilla so many times that mahira is very talented but this movies proves that she is nothing special. This role could have been done any other new bollywood debutante. In fact this is the first srk movie where the actress has nothing much to do. most of the reviews will also say the same thing about mahira. She just got lucky.

Just came back from watching Raees. Mahira was looking beautiful and stunning. Her acting was absolutely perfect. Im surprised some critics are panning her performance. Can they not see that her scenes have been CHOPPED OFF!!! Her introduction in the movie has also been CHOPPED OFF!! It's so obvious. There are scenes in the trailer that aren't in the movie! Mahiras scenes with srk doesnt connect organically. The scenes look disjointed. It looks as though some scenes are missing! Hence the lack of chemistry. It's not at all her fault. It's the producers fault! Shame on them!!!

Calm down Mahira! We didn't see your acting others than your presence in a song. You failed!

Nothing great. One time watch.

After seeing it I feel not even one time watch

Guys, Raees is a copy of Netflix series "Narcos". sigh! now that it is golden period for American/British TV and they produce incredible material , our Indian filmmakers ,too, have moved on from copying Hollywood films to copying (our Indian filmmakers would prefer "inspired" instead of "copy" ) TV series. However, our filmmakers should be aware that India is changed too. especially, in the last 2 years, everybody started watching foreign TV shows , we all hold the same remote now in this instantly streaming world. so disappointed. SRK can do better.

it seems like downhill from here for SRK.Just like Sr Bachchan, in his mid 50s SRK will slip to side-kick roles with substance (Like Sr Bachchan in Mohabbttain ) ..it doesn't seem good anymore for SRK as main lead.

Raees is a very good movie,i think it's srk's one of the best performance,nawaz did wonderful role.kabil fans obviously making negative comments.kabil is a good movie too but story is average,one time watch in my opinion

Not a Kaabil fan-will not watch it. Saw Raees and was disappointed. Its best performance was from Nawaz. SRK has tried to do his best but falls short of his own charisma which we could see in his earlier films. I went to see something better than HNY/Chennai Express but was sad to see SRK not coming of those films hangover....

Lol...someone was saying Madhuri, Kajol, Juhi etc are over age and that's why they don't get lead roles anymore.lol.lol..lol. 3rd flop in a row of this young guy called SRK . Give advice to your kids SRK and try to save your own career first.

Is anyone stopping the above actresses from getting lead roles? The market speaks mate and the Khans are still in the top as the public will watch their movies. Can you name any actor apart from the Khans who can command such markets?

Hrithik Roshan ...."market speaks mate"....Watch Kaabil mate. You will understand what I'm saying mate. Then make up your mind mate.

I'm not interested in watching kaabil old pal. I will be watch Raees this weekend with my friends.

Akshay Kumar

Akshay himself said very recently that the Khans are way ahead of him, he's not in their league at all. Also he needed Salman help promoting Rustom, Salman neve needed anybody else. lol

I am so done with the mafia being portrayed as Robin Hoods and saviors of the poor. Truth is when you are on the wrong side of law, you just try to buy some protection in the form of public support. But nobody exploits the poor (alcohol? Drugs? Adulterated food? Hafta?) more than the mafia.

mahira was great with SRK

Please post guys...
Com on guys SRK is not a good actor...he is charming that's it...even hrithik,abhi is better than him...ok dislike truth hurts...

I am really sad that this movie is not getting good reviews! :(

Fan flopped despite double role and it was one of his best performance by critics....why it failed then? Where was the star Power?

Hi

Now why did we need to haul Mahira from Pak, Katrina would have played the role to the tee but SRK hates Katrina. SRK himself has acknowledged that kajol, MD, Ash, Juhi have surpassed their age limit. Mahira is not that beautiful and does not have screen presence.

Finally someone said it! She's has mediocre acting skills and she is not even good looking. She's not a superstar material. We've better looking girls walking on streets here

K

I loved mahira!

A number of reviews were in line with my own impression when I watched teasers and trailers: She is soap opera TV precise. She does all the standard emotions, smiling, worrying, frowning, walking, winking, perfectly, like a food freezer. Nothing special. She is pretty.

So what are 'unstandard' emotions then?

We all have standard emotions. I am saying she did not do them organically, She did them gracefully, precisely, but leaving the viewer cold. If you want to know acting from the heart, come to Bollywood. Say hello to Kajol in MNIK. Nod to Kangana in Queen. Look at PC in Bajirao. And bow down please to Tabu in Maqbool..

Thats your opinion and Mahira is a better actress in my opinion than all the ladies you mention, apart from Tabu of course.

Mahira better than Kajol, Kangana, PC? That definitely is your opinion.

you know " the aadaab" **wink wink** quite unstandard!

Good movie.. those who say srk should only work limited,why don't they say to big B?he is still working and getting awards.anyway go watch raees and kabil enjoy, have fun...:-)

Big B had a time when public rejected his films. He has reinvented himself. SRK is doing same stuff, he became superstar due to his unconventional choices- strange that he is now playing it safe

Raees and kabil both good movies !!

Excellent movie,nawaz excellent srk fine, all over, good entertaining movie...

Raees will run just coz of SRK's stardom. I really hope he starts choosing his scripts wisely. Good luck to team Raees.

I can watch both movies,on the weekend,one on next week...Caz I like the actors

I quite liked the movie. But then just an opinion lol

im gonna watch it anyway

I knew I won´t miss anything when avoiding both movies.

Nawazuddin is a brilliant actor

SRK acted well as he did earlier. He is just awesome. I loved this movie.
3 out of 5 points.

Raees is best movie but kaabil best

Raees need 130 cr to be a Hit and Kaabil needs around 65 cr as budgets of both movies are 98 cr and 50 cr respectively , saw this from various official websites

Most of the reviews are negative ,but his die hard fans will make it a hit of sorts.

Those who are writing i am from Dubai are actually from India and writing this . They are creating an environment like Kaabil has no audience and raees is a Hit but the fact is the person public in India is preferring Kaabil more in India. No one cares about the overseas business , everyone is excited for India only but SRK fans since two years are taking help of other countries because they don't want to talk about India

Those who are saying Raees budget is 54 cr , kindly check if you know how to . Every website is showing the budget is 98 cr , 55 cr budget is of kaabil .

SRK's narcissism gets in the way of him doing quality films

Just came out of a ghettoized theater in Dubai famous fro Indians , Pakis, Bangladeshi etc. Couldn't hear a word of Raees, All I could hear is whistles, claps, screams. Kabil theater next door was 70% empty. Not sure about India but Raees is already blockbuster in Dubai.

Why would that be a surprise. We know SRK draw in Dubai for anything. Not meant in a bad light, just saying it is what it is.

India is a country who has a neutral audience and surely will give support to a better movie . Muslim countries gives support blindly to srk even if his movie is Flop so i am not surprised . What matters is collection in India not dubai

It was ok movie. Nawaz was good.

Raees kaabil bhai bhai 50/60 rating :P

SRK is at a level where he can make scripts for him but no he still wants to do these terrible masala films, he should realize that he is cross his prime age, do roles that suit your age, he is a fantastic actor but only if he chooses right scripts and right directors...

Look at Dear Zindagi, Raees and Fan. All 3 films he played a different character with a different look. Hes experimenting so give him the credit where he deserves it.

Another torture fest from 51 yrs old. It is high time, he starts acting his age and stops making such mediocre film.

Shahrukh should slowly move out of films in a dignified manner. He was the king of hearts for two decades but now that he is old and also looks old on screen in spite of all the layers of makeup, he should exit gracefully. He is lucky to have survived in the industry for so many years and nothing wrong in ageing and letting other younger actors take centre stage. He can continue doing side roles or age appropriate roles like Amitabh and Rishi are these days. Same with Salman and Aamir, even they are past their expiry dates for being lead actors romancing 18 year old actresses. Anyway, this film Raees is a rip off of so many 80s and 90s films in bollywood and hollywood, and same plot. Mahira Khan is just a prop in this film. Shahrukh continues with the same mistake of releasing his mediocre films with content and performance rich films like Bajirao and Kaabil.

lol! WTH! haha.

Kaabil copied bunch of Hollywood and Korean movies btw. Raees is supposed to be a masala flick stop comparing it with other genres. It's like asking Crazy Stupid Love to be more popular than La La Land

The khans are not romancing 18 years olds; most of the actresses are 30+ I understand it's not right, but 10 yrs difference is very common in India! AND None of the khans look 50 from any angle. Even Hollywood doesn't care these days. PLUS, this is called acting; you don't have to look young or old but you just have to be a good fit for that specific role. Think about Alia and SRK they didn't play lovers. Oh Alia wasn't even 18 dude lol

Well you can't just leave the industry bc you are old. It's like asking George Clooney to leave bc he's old. SRK is not playing a 22 yr old anymore. All he needs to do is pick a role good for his age. He is a middle aged gangster in this movie, which is fine. He shouldn't look young in this movie.

Aamir's film Dangal that released 1 month ago has just grossed 700 crore... , Sultan more than 300 crore 6 months ago, and past 5-6 years they are consistently crossing 200 crore.... but hey I agree with you they are past their sell by date Lol.

Sultan grossed 645 crores and Dangal 700 crores. You r giving Dangal gross amount and sultan's net amount in India .

The trailer was good except for the stupid cliched songs so I am surprised to hear this is just another mindless commercial film from SRK. Atleast he's now working with Imtiaz and Anand L Rai..

The film is not mindless at all! Everything was great including the acting of all.

It is not a mindless film AT ALL. I saw it. It is great actually.

Imtiaz is imo over-rated. A Romantic yet does not understand women. Rai might do something interesting. Imtiaz at best is Gauri Shinde at worst.

I went and it was awesoooooooome! Not sure what you guys talk about! lol. This is SRK I love. I don't want him to do typical love stories. His grey roles always work for me. More human and have layers to watch.

go for kaabil, it's a good and better movie.

Kaabil looks far superior to Raees in terms of story, direction, acting, everything. Yet dull masala movies like Raees do well because of SRK's "super stardom". Why do Bolywood audiences always encourage, support, and applaud mediocrity? When will we learn to appreciate talent and beautiful cinema that doesnt rely on the supposed "star power" of one celebrity? I wish the Bollywood audience would evolve with the times and become more mature. Maybe it's too much to ask.

Kaabil is a good convincing story!! How!! LOL. Raees makes more sense than that blind guy who can apparently do anything! lol Sorry but you cracked me up

Great film. SRK was epic. Sally from Canada.

fantastic movie tbh. Not sure what you are talking about. Nawaz was great but SRK was outstanding. I hope he does more such roles than silly stuff as HNY & CE.

Another brilliant performance by SRK after Fan. Loved loved loved his acting. Greet from Dubai.

Will watch the movie myself. U guys are not trust worthy.

Booked my tickets and can't wait to watch it.

Oh please. It was awesome.

SRK was brilliant tbh. You got to be kidding me. I loved it.

Just came out of theatres . The KING is back !!! He's one heck of lucky guy, I must say. Thought he will drown with this one.

SRK fans now stop calling it a Hit and paisa wasool , you all said this during Fan & Dilwale also .

I just checked , budget of Raees is around 98 cr , to be a good hit it should cross 130 cr and Kaabi's budget is around 50 cr , for good Hit it should cross 70-75 cr

Raees Budget is 54 crores, but in any case it will collect over 250 crores only in Overseas. All factors working for it.

People are calling it Seeti Maar, paisa Wasool. SRK with Mast maal Mahira.

SRK's career is over now , another Flop after Fan & Dilwale

keep dreaming.

Not a positive review , i have read the whole thing and 80% content is negative

May be mediocre movie plot..but srk will rock always..wait 4 public response tom.

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