Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees should scored decent reviews from critics. The average reviews are lower than Shah Rukh Khan’s last release FAN, but movies like Raees are never expected to win over critics.
Raees Review by Indicine
Rahul Dholakia walks on a narrow edge here and could easily have gone overboard with very sensitive topics. He makes a palatable, almost family friendly version of a gangster film. It isn’t the most refined, and it doesn’t work all the time, but Raees has got a swagger about it which has not been seen in Hindi cinema for quite sometime. It is a throwback to the 70s angry young man movies of Amitabh Bachchan, and quite interestingly plays out like a film from that era. The first half moves at a frantic pace, but the second half slackens when the focus shifts on Robinhood Raees. It suffers from the post interval lull syndrome, but the climax redeems the movie to an extent. Also, credit must go to the makers for daring to make a move on identity politics and masking it in a commercial entertainer avatar.
Raees Review by Taran Adarsh on Bollywood Hungama
Dholakia is not really known to be a hardcore commercial film-maker. One look at his body of work and you realize he tilts more towards realism than make-believe. But he does an about-turn with RAEES, for the film marries realism and masala wonderfully. The narrative moves seamlessly from romance [SRK-Mahira] to the game of one-upmanship as the criminal and cop collide. This is a big ticket film with SRK and Dholakia knows that the stakes are high. He maintains the realism, ensures that the pace and energy seldom dip… but, most importantly, he makes sure SRK’s legion of fans aren’t disappointed. He takes a leap as a storyteller, doing justice to the written material and extracting bravura performances from each and every member of the cast. Blemishes? Oh yes! The first hour unravels at a feverish pace, making you thirst for the second half. But it’s here that the problem arises. The pace slackens soon after the intermission and the romantic song and a few sequences act as spoilers. Thankfully, the film picks up when Raees’ life takes a dramatic turn, which leads to a high-voltage climax.
Raees Review by Nihit Bhave on The Times Of India
Shah Rukh Khan has never looked better; he’s full of fury and for once, isn’t spreading his arms, but breaking others’. The film lies entirely on his shoulders and he carries the weight most of the times. When he doesn’t, the ever-so-reliable Nawazuddin Siddiqui steps in with his crackling performance. In the trademark Nawaz style, he delivers some comic relief while playing the Tom to Khan’s Jerry. Mahirah is restricted to songs and a few emotional scenes, but doesn’t really add much. If her purpose was to soften the baddie, it’s lost on the viewer. The movie can feel a bit long, but if you’re going for a great Shah Rukh performance and some good ol’ popcorn-entertainment, it might just ‘raees’ to the occasion.
Raees Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
Dholakia knows his Gujarat . That was clear in his ‘Parzania ‘. There are some flashes of that insider knowledge here too, but you can see how fear of being censored has blunted the edges of this film which could have really lifted off the screen. The riots, both in Mumbai and Gujarat, have a seriously anodyne feel. And the predictable arc of the story weighs the second half down.SRK’s romantic interest, Mahira Khan, too is not as fresh as she could have been: the coyness is old Bollywood and in a film which should have embraced its masala roots much more firmly, it just sinks. So do all those slo-mos. And that Sunny Leone, who shakes it, shakes it, to no avail. So this is what we get: a Nawaz who is having the time of his life, and making us crack multiple grins, up against an SRK who breaks through in some moments (especially one in which he shares with his bete noire, when the film shuts everything else down so that we can focus on the duo ) but gets bogged down in florid, seen-too-many-times flourishes.
Raees Review by Rohit Bhatnagar on Deccan Chronicle
Director Rahul Dholakia made an honest attempt to make a typical masala entertainment for the mass audience but gets confused between story telling and making a Shah Rukh Khan film. The film deals with too many issues like his previous film ‘Lamhaa’. The pace of the film is slow too especially in the second half. First half holds a slight promise to offer an interesting chase but fails to impress gradually. The biggest hiccup of the film is its weak plot. Except for the hide and seek between Shah Rukh Khan and Nawaz, ‘Raees’ is a yawn fest. The narrative of the film has been uselessly complicated by giving the political angle to it. The film could have been much more thrilling and gut-wrenching. It is a typical 70’s drama but in 2017, it doesn’t excite much.
Review by Sarit Ray on Hindustan Times
Raees is a typical ’80s potboiler. Disturbingly, like commercial cinema from that period, the moral compass is a bit off. As Raees breaks up a political rally with flaming bottles of spirit, it sanctions violence. And it is borderline misogynistic, with the female lead (Mahira Khan) little more than a prop: a love interest he marries, keeps at home to bring up his child, and either yells at or romances.
Review by Sreeju Sudhakaran on Bollywood Life
As a movie, Raees is definitely a letdown especially for those who expect a Deewar-like dhamakedaar masala movie. Fans of Shah Rukh Khan might give the movie its huge initial but don’t expect the road ahead to be a smooth ride. And warning for all superstars – acting with Nawazuddin Siddiqui is injurious to your own dramatic talents – he can steal your glory right from under your nose.
Review by Prasanna D Zore on Rediff
SRK’s Raees takes you for a boring ride, trying to soak the gangster’s character in filmi spiel that is so typical of Bollywood’s masala films when the film’s creators realise that the plot is absolutely lame. You wonder at SRK’s conviction as an actor playing a gangster when he cries in Mahira Khan’s arms, unable to cope with the pressure of an honest gangster (really?!), when friends-turned-foe politicians play mind games with him. Besides Ram Sampath’s Udi, Udi Jaye, the film’s music lacks character. Dholakia’s direction goes for a spin when he makes Shah Rukh pump bullets into gangsters, showing the bullets hitting them in the chest, not once or twice, but back-to-back.
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
As for the film itself, it has a very predictable storyline, a stale plot and stock characters- a gangster with a heart of gold, his supportive ladylove, a loyal sidekick, an upright cop, wily politicians, an ostensibly benevolent mentor et al. However, the background score somewhat makes up for it, but merely that is not enough, eh? Not that I have anything against commercial masala films, but for someone who grew up watching films like Deewaar and Scarface, Raees offers nothing new as such. If that was not all, the action scenes are quite unexciting and the ‘Moharram’ action sequence is so badly executed that you may end up wondering what were the makers thinking of while filming those scenes.
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
The film may be set in the ’80s but it also takes the cinematic liberties that films made in the era did. A song sequence to mark every occasion, chest-beating reactions, laboured death scenes (complete with slow-mo falls and multiple bullets punched from pointblank range to complete the job) and loud internal monologues (“Ya Allah, what have I done?” says Raees to no one in particular). In the action scenes, SRK mounts walls and leaps over buildings with the agility of Contra. But this is barely enough to make up for his loud and lazy performance. The actor seems to be too preoccupied with doing a Bachchan and ending up like Raju Srivastav on a bad night. Investing in Mahira Khan’s visa was a wasted cause as the actress can barely construct half an expression. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is surely the only redeeming factor in Raees but sadly, his parts are brief.
Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham
Surprisingly, RAEES (meaning rich) is not just a GARIB (poor/average) film it’s GARIB in its entertainment quotient as well. Shah Rukh Khan is a RAEES ( rich, talented) actor and he doesn,t need the remakes of Don and stories allegedly based on most wanted criminals to prove his stardom. A simple ‘suri’ from RAB NE BANA DI JODI, or the lovable junior artiste ‘Omi’ from OM SHANTI OM can do it while the coach Kabir Khan from CHAK DE INDIA will stay forever allowing us to hug ‘Jug’ from the recent DEAR ZINDAGI. And we hope he realizes that very soon. RAEES is a story that should have better remained untold.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
Shah Rukh and Nawazuddin Siddiqui are simply fun. But at 143 minutes sometimes the cat and mouse game becomes tiresome. And the lackluster music does not help despite the words that insist ‘Raees is single piece’ (one of a kind). Despite all this Shah Rukh pulls off an action hero role that clearly encroaches on Salman territory and manages to keep it convincing. In fact, the violence in the fight sequences make you squirm. And the anger in Shah Rukh’s surma-lined eyes feels straight out of Amitabh Bachchan revenge dramas like Kala Patthar (watch out for the scene from the film beautifully juxtaposed!). Watch it because the recent spate of silly romances have not touched you at all. The bad-guy-with-a-golden-heart Shah Rukh fills that space, and really well.
Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
SRK is on top of his game here, recalling his Chak De India! performance in the process. With an effortless actor like Nawazuddin Siddiqui snapping at his heels, the lead actor is always on his toes. The modulations that SRK brings to the act are impressive not only on the level of craft but also in relation to the layers they add to the conflicted character. Nawazuddin, in the middle of a red-hot streak, operates in a totally different zone. He digs his teeth deep into his meaty role with customary elan and delivering a dazzling performance.
Review by Sarita A Tanwar on DNA India
Raees begins so well. Rahul Dholakia captures the journey of young Raees’ fascination with crime so well that you are completely engrossed in the story. Raees holds you spellbound all through his rise to the top – his journey to Bombay and back is a highlight. The scenes between him and his mentor Atul Kulkarni are brilliant. The fight scene in the meat market is one of the best (read realistic) ever in Hindi films. SRK’s performance in Raees for most part, is on par with Swades and Chak De India. The supporting cast is exemplary, Zeeshan Ayyub deserves a special mention.
Review by Devarsi Ghosh on India Today
Putting that aside, the filmmaking is pure masala and this is one well-cooked masala movie. The story is not surprising; a gangster rises and he falls when he becomes bigger than the people who had patronised him for long. You have seen this a hundred times, but director Rahul Dholakia’s treatment seems fresh. There’s the time and place working for him, which is new for the Hindi film screen: Gujarat, the land of prohibition. There’s Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the earnest cop Majmudar, the perfect foil to Raees. Siddiqui gets his own hero moments, for instance, his entry scene is the stuff of genius. His character gets a lot of sharp one-liners, which he has developed a habit of delivering casually, like he has done in several other films. Mahira Khan is, well, there; just because she is not from around these places, you thought she was going to get something else to do other than exist? Silly you.
Review by Mayank Shekhar on Mid-Day India
The film mixes research, realism, and more than a whole lot of ‘Bollywood’ to look exclusively into the politics and the inevitable underworld around the booze-trade in prohibitionist Gujarat of the ’80s. Being an anti-prohibitionist myself (how can any sane human not be), you align yourself with the heroic anti-hero instantly. The character is ostensibly based on the real-life rags-to-riches don Abdul Latif. The pesky cop seems more like a high-level Dhoble, although he’s merely doing his job. Between the don on the run, the cop on the chase, there are so many facets to ‘Raees’, recounted through a gasping episode after another that you wished the filmmakers had calmed down just for bit, given us few moments to pause and soak in the material. They could have turned this into a fantastic ‘Narcos’ like television series. There’s nothing niche about a Spanish show being loved by global mainstream audiences anymore, by the way. Yeah, we’d love to see SRK attempt his own version of a Pablo Escobar.
Review by Raghav Jaitly on Zeenews
‘Raees’ is an entertainer which is driven by powerhouse performances. From dialogue delivery to slow motion sequences, the movie will give you goosebumps at times. If you want to witness high-octane actions, intense emotions and sincere filmmaking, then go for ‘Raees’. It amalgamates Shah Rukh’s charm and Rahul’s intelligence.
Review by Rajeev Masand on News18
Evidently inspired by the true-life story of Abdul Latif, the illegal liquor kingpin of Gujarat who was charged for his involvement in the 1993 blasts, Raees shrewdly steers clear of naming names and only hints at true events. Still, it’s a well-made film that benefits from Dholakia’s keen eye for period and atmospheric detail. Although crammed with too much plot, and overlong on account of a screenplay that could’ve done with further tightening, the film nevertheless offers enough to enjoy. As a throwback to those thrilling gangster films from the 70s, many starring Amitabh Bachchan and scripted by Salim-Javed, Raees delivers ample bang for your buck.
Review by Subhash K Jha on Bollyspice
Deliberately stagey and selfconsciously ‘retro’ Raees gathers its strength from the voluptuous resources of drama in the protagonist’s life and the power of the narrative to make clichés come alive by their defiant reiteration. The director knows his material is weather-beaten and he doesn’t pretend it is any other way. The shoot-outs filled with bombast and bravado, are from an era when such violence was considered macho. At the end when Raees’ world falls apart with a close encounter of the ‘thud’ kind, there is no surprise left in the plot. It isn’t only Raees who has nowhere to run to.
Review by Meeta on Wogma
Shah Rukh Khan slips in and out of being Shah Rukh Khan, but he is more Raees than Shah Rukh Khan at most times. This is despite some very good yet “film-y” lines. It would have been so easy to get carried away and SRK-ise them. But there’s restraint and that restraint doesn’t glare at you in the face. The rest of the cast isn’t gimmicky either. The tribute to this genre of Hindi films from the 80s is obvious including the song placement. However, the style of songs reminded me more of those from 90s. Yet, neither of those are jarring as they were in their times because of the writing. Sure, there are loopholes and there are continuity jerks (especially in some of the action sequences). However, it is just a relief not to be taken completely for granted as the audience. It is a relief to see a formula film play around with the formula. For now, that is good enough.
Review by Lokesh Dharmani on Masala
Sadly there is nothing heroic, tragic or even comic about our protagonist that could get me invested in his story. The hunter and hunted chase sequences between Raees and his cop are so lazily written that they hardly establish the much required edge-on-the-seat tension or drama. When the cops block the roads, Raees smuggles liquor through the waters. Wow. Amaze balls, Captain Obvious. It is this simplistic writing that robs our hero of quick thinking, ruthlessness and a larger than life appeal.
Review by Manjusha Radhakrishnan on Gulfnews
While the film is engaging, what lets it down are some of the contrived and ridiculous twists in the second half. But the climax packs a punch and that misgiving — ‘where is this film going?’ — is erased. Give this film a shot. While it doesn’t make you pop the bubbly, it does have some fizz and sparkle to keep you satiated.
Review by IANS on Sify
The film is largely elevated by Shah Rukh Khan’s performance and a few dramatic dialogues that are used to churn the emotions. Shah Rukh essays the eponymous character with sincerity and aplomb. He emerges as a sympathetic and even admirable character and he does a very good job of portraying a brutal character albeit with soft tones in equal measure. Nawazuddin Siddique as the incorruptible IPS officer, Jaideep Majumdar is equally competent. His cat-and-mouse chase with Raees, punctuated with vibrant dialogues often elicit a chuckle. Together they keep you hooked. Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub as Sadiq — Raees’ friend and partner in crime — is effortless and affable. Unfortunately, though he has his moments of onscreen glory, he does not rise from being Raees’ lackey. Mahira Khan as Raees’s wife Mohsina is wasted in the film. Her character is perfunctorily included to add the romance angle and her onscreen chemistry with Shah Rukh lacks zing. The rest of the supporting cast are sincere.
Raees Review by Indiaglitz
Director Rahul Dholakiain order to get the style and looks of the film, Rahul misses out on the content basis and ends up delivering a good performance oriented dragging and bland film. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is fantastic in some scenes and highly repetitive in others. He adds a good balance to Shahrukh Khan’s character and shines out in some of them. Mahira Khan looks adorable in some scenes, but fails to impress with her acting skills. The Sunny Leone’s item song failed to create the expected wonders. ‘Raees’ had all the potential to become a wealthy king, instead settles down to becoming a pauper prince.
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