The 1980s had a slew of films based on underworld dons with golden hearts - 'Deewar', 'Dharmatma', 'Dayawan' and 'Satya' to name a few. But the era passed and the sentiment that supported it, passed too. 'Raees' makers appear to have forgotten the fact that the audience, the economy and Bollywood have all progressed beyond this beaten path of crime and punishment.
Shah Rukh's painful efforts to rise about the mediocre plot fail miserably in Raees. The story revolves around a notorious criminal from Gujarat and his rise to commercial succcess and subsequent downfall. The line 'Koi Bhi Dhanda Chhota Nahi Hota, Aur Dhande Se Bada Dharm Nahi Hota' used by the protagonist's mother when she makes a living selling empty liquor bottles, is used to disadvantage by the young Raees to climb the ladder of success using any means available to him.
Jaideep (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) tries to bring him to his senses but to no avail. Raees prefers bending the rules and twisting the arms of government machinery to get his way, and uses the spoils to do good to the common man. The end he meets is not unexpected.
The story, credited to Harit Mehta, Ashish Vashi, Neeraj Shukla and Rahul Dholakia does no credit to the film, and in fact, is the major cause of its downfall. Raees' stance does not evoke any sympathy among viewers, and consequently SRK the actor takes the flak despite a sincere performance. Another case of wasted effort is Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who has a good role and has poured his heart into it, but fails to touch the audience. Mahira Khan has little to do but look pretty, and Ram Sampath's music is nothing to write home about.
It appears SRK has invested his time and effort into a film that does not deserve it. King Khan may have to pay a heavy price for this.