“Pabandi hi baghawat ki shuruat hai”
So says the cop Jaideep Majmudar, beginning his narration of prohibition bound Gujarat, the thriving boot legging business there-desi and videshi and Raees.
How apt for all situations from raising children to raising slogans (and for the many pabandis in the country today).
As stories go, it’s pretty much a standard good hearted gangster story. Raised in poverty by a hard working mother, Raees (Shah Rukh Khan) is a street smart young child who earns a few bucks by working in the business of moonshine. Rising through the ranks of spurious and moving on to the imported “maal”, he works hard and is a loyal lieutenant for many years to one of the biggest in the trade-Jairaj (Atul Kulkarni).
He starts off on his own, despite his onetime mentor’s taunts and insults and with ingenuity and a display of integrity (refuses to kill another don for dosh), succeeds and establishes himself. Spurious liquor is not his trade and he gives back to the community through charity and help. Like I said, mobster with a heart of gold and the teachings of his mum “koi bhi dhanda bada ya chhota nahi hota aur dhande se bada koi dharm nahi hota”.
Add to this his own “Main dhanda karta hoon, dharm ka dhanda nahin” and his staunchness that the innocent should not get harmed.
The cast of his life includes his able aide and close friend Sadiq (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub), his wife-Aasiya (Mahira Khan), the residents of the place he has grown up in and the people he does business with and through. The villain of his piece is Jaideep Majmudar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), the conscientious cop who gets transferred frequently but remains unfazed in his determination to fight crime.
Raees grows, builds and sustains his “dhanda” despite the shenanigans and games of political power. He spares no one who wrongs him and protects his people, even at a terrible cost to himself.
A gangster with ethics and a conscience….as incongruous as it sounds.
A film well made. A paisa vasool, Bollywood style entertainer with action, emotion, drama, humour,gaana and bajana (the dhishoom type).
Shah Rukh Khan has acted after ages and superbly too. His carriage, his emotions, his look-terrific.
All members of the cast hold their own and are exceptionally talented in any case. Sheeba Chaddha,Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub, Atul Kulkarni, Narendra Jha, Pramod Pathak and definitely not the least-Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The smallest of roles has been well cast and that is a huge plus for the film.
Slickly shot and well directed, the film never really falters. Slightly sepia toned and gritty when needed, some shots remained with me. Notably,SRKs first scene, a fight in a meat market and the Laila song. All fairly bloodied too! The second half possibly could have been a little shorter and they could have done without all the songs barring “laila”. The background score is interesting though. Overall, one never gets restless or bored and at no stage does it become glaringly predictable.
It’s not the best gangster film made but it’s among the better ones. Do watch.Tell me what you think?