We do not know what defines Raees. When you think of Don Corleone, you know he stands for family; it is his ideal above all else. Velunayakan stood for justice, for the people less privileged, because that is where he came from. Raees lacks that spine in his character.
Who is Raees?
He is a businessman. He deals in hooch. He’s street smart. He’s ambitious. These are the facts, and they cannot be disputed. Baniye ka dimaag, aur miyabhai ki daring, repeats SRK innumerable times. So we get that.
But who is Raees, really?
It is not clear. We do not know what he stands for, and what he believes in. We do not know what defines Raees. When you think of Don Corleone, you know he stands for family; it is his ideal above all else. Velunayakan stood for justice, for the people less privileged, because that is where he came from. Raees lacks that spine in his character. This really hits you when you see him disrupting a politician’s rally. You think of his motivation, and you cannot find an admirable reason as to why he is doing all of this. It is the hero beating up a villain figure in the sequence, but there is nothing heroic about his deed. It is an act of ego and anger, not of benevolence or justice.
Whenever he is outwitting his cop nemesis, he is shown to be an intelligent, shrewd operator who manages to slip past the law to achieve his end. But what is this end? Selling alcohol? Making money? Outwitting the law? On their own, none of these can create a character that one admires or engages with in film. There is no larger cause.
SRK is in fine form, but Raees is such a wonderful character, that you want more out of him. He is trumped by Nawazuddin’s cop; a dimunitive man, but he brings such swag to his role that nimbly by-passes even SRK’s bravado act.
I remember the first time I watched SRK die. He was splattered with blood, in the arms of his mother, having succeeded in finally revenging his father by killing the man who killed him. As SRK died in Rakhee’s arms, a hero was born. Baazigar was the beginning of the reign of the Baadshaah. When he fell in Raees, downed by bullets in a staged encounter by the police, calm and philosophical, he was the antithesis. I hated watching him die then, I hated watching him die now. I want him to rise, because there is so much more he has to do. An actor like SRK comes once in a lifetime, so it is only fair to expect the world of him. With Dear Zindagi and now Raees, we can hope for him to do the kind of cinema that befits his intellect (indeed his upcoming line-up is lip smacking), and we can hopefully forget the memories of what he has done in the last few years.
Raees is a half-baked hero in a half-baked film. The canvas is spectacular; a hero living on the fringe of the law, standing up against a system that needs fixing. It is almost as if the film shies away from confronting with the audience. In the way it is edited and how the screenplay is setup, the film never gains intensity. We end up watching a pillow fight, when we’re really in the mood for a hard as balls fist fight.
Hindi, Action, Drama, Color, Period