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Raees’: An immersive SRK entertainer

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NewDelhi, Jan25: “Raees” is a typical Bollywood blockbuster designed like films of the early 1980s, with over-the-top yet thrilling action, drama and a tinge of romance. It is a biography of a disciplined businessman, albeit with ragged edges.

Set in the late 80s and early 90s and inspired from true events, Raees is a fictionalised story of the rise and fall of a bootlegger-turned-gangster,in the alcohol prohibited state of Gujarat.

Told entirely from within the closed underbelly of Fatehpur in Gujarat, the script attributed to four writers does a brilliant conjuring act of inviting us into the
life of Raees (Shah Rukh Khan) who at a very early stage in life is inspired by his mother, a ragpicker who quotes, “Koi dhanda chota ya bada nahin hota hai, aur koi dharam dhanda se badkar nahin hai.” which literally means, no occupation is small and no religion is bigger than one’s business.

So with this as his mantra and philosophy he sets out in the world on his own terms.

He starts off small by working for Jairaj Seth (Atul Kulkarni) who indulges in branded liquor. Jairaj appoints “Raees” because he has, “baniya ka dimaag aur miyabhai ka daring,” which means he is shrewd like a shopkeeper and daring like a Muslim. How Raees gradually grows into a formidable figure in society, forms the crux of the tale.

With complex scenes, the plot offers nothing that you have not seen before. Narrated in a linear manner, the script is taut and the narrative moves at a rapid pace. The first half is promising and the second half which begins with Inspector Majumdar’s point of view holds your attention with equal gusto, but unfortunately, the climax tilts into a predictable zone of bad things happen to bad people, making the film a cliched fare.

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.

The action sequences are well choreographed, brutally raw and a bit far-fetched, making the act unrealistic especially the long chase and fisticuffs with Muharram celebrations in the backdrop.

The songs, “Dil ka patang, udi udi jaiyae,” “Oh Zaleema,” and “Laila Main Laila” are well choreographed and seamlessly mesh into the narrative. But the quick edits mar the viewing experience.

With excellent production values, the era is realistically created. But there are certain scenes which are marred by the director’s inability to control his actors from taking “star liberties”. Evident among them are the few scenes where Shah Rukh Khan is seen without his spectacles.

Overall, “Raees” is a well made film that would appeal to the masses.

Film: “Raees”; Director: Rahul Dholakia; Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Mahira Khan, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Atul Kulkarni, Narendra Jha, Sheeba Chaddha, Sunny Leone; Rating: ***

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BJP Minister caught urinating in public near campaign poster, Calls it ‘Old-age Tradition’

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Ajmer, Oct 8: A picture of Bhartiya Janata Party minister urinating near a wall, next to a campaign poster featuring chief minister Vasundhara Raje is making rounds on social media.

The minister, Shambhu Singh Khatesar, justified himself by saying that urinating publicly was “an age-old tradition” and he had done nothing wrong.

Speaking to media Khatesar said, “There was a wall and some posters stuck at some distance on it. I hadn’t paid attention. It isn’t right to urinate in open but it’s a natural call. Urinating in a crowded area, is wrong”.

On the Narendra Modi government cleanness drive the minister stated “As far as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is concerned, urination alone doesn’t contribute to uncleanliness. That place did not have urinals for kilometers at a stretch”.

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IMD issues cyclone alert for Odisha

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Cyclone
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Bhubneshwar, Oct 8:  The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday said a depression over the Bay of Bengal is likely to concentrate into a cyclonic storm during the next 48 hours.

Under its impact, several parts of Odisha will receive heavy rainfall starting from October 9.

Fishermen have been advised not to venture into deep sea areas of the Bay of Bengal from October 9 to 12 as the sea condition would be rough.

While rainfall at many places with heavy downpour at isolated places over south coastal Odisha is likely to occur on Tuesday, heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places over coastal Odisha is likely to occur on Wednesday.

It further predicted rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy downpours at a few places and extremely heavy downpour at isolated places over coastal and adjoining interior Odisha on Thursday.

The IMD said squally winds with speeds reaching 45-55 kmph to 65 kmph are very likely along and off north Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal coasts from October 9.

It is very likely to increase gradually, reaching 70-80 kmph to 90 kmph from October 10 evening onwards along and off south Odisha and adjoining districts of north Andhra Pradesh coasts, said H.R. Biswas, Bhubaneswar Met centre Director.

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Russia, Pakistan sign MoU on gas pipeline from Iran

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Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline

Moscow, Sep 28 (IANS) Russia and Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding on implementing a project to build an underwater gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan and India, the Russian Energy Ministry said in a statement Thursday.

“The memorandum provides for the identification of authorized organisations through which the project will be supported, including during the development of a feasibility study, identification of the resource base, configuration and route of the gas pipeline,” the statement said, Xinhua reported.

Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky and Pakistan’s Ministry of Energy Additional Secretary Sher Afgan Khan signed the document in Moscow.

Now Russia will have to inform Iran and India about the signing, after which it expects to sign a similar document with India, Yanovsky said in the statement.

The project was frozen in 2013 due to the imposition of sanctions against Iran, but its revival started in 2017. In November 2017, Russia and Iran signed a memorandum that envisaged Russian support for gas supplies from Iran to India.

In March, a Russian-Iranian working group on the implementation of the project had its first meeting.

According to Yanovsky, Russia and Pakistan were holding consultations on another project of building the 1,100 kilometer North-South Gas Pipeline (NSGP) between Pakistan’s Karachi and Lahore to transport 12.3 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

The implementation of an agreement signed in October last year between Russia and Pakistan on Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies “can become a promising direction of cooperation,” he said.

The governments of the two countries were also considering signing an agreement on Russian oil products supplies to Pakistan, Yanovsky said.

In addition, Russian electric power industry has shown interest in the Pakistani market, he said.

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