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Raees’: An immersive SRK entertainer



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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Unhappy Naresh Agarwal joins BJP, says SP prefered Bollywood actress over me as RS candidate



Naresh Agarwal
Naresh Agarwal joins BJP (Photo-ANI)

The Samajwadi Party leader, Naresh Agarwal on Monday joined BJP in the presence of Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.

While joining BJP, Naresh Agarwal who is currently the Rajya Sabha member of Samajwadi Party said, “I am joining the BJP as I think that until you are in National Party, you cannot do anything for the society. I am also impressed by PM Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and UP CM Yogi. I still respect Mulayam Singh Yadav and Ram Gopal Yadav, but the current scenario in SP where it is doing a coalition with Congress and sometimes BSP is very sad.”

The leader joined BJP after the Samajwadi party nominated actor and politician Jaya Bachchan for the upcoming Rajya Sabha election in April. The party had to choose between Naresh Agarwal and Jaya Bachchan as they don’t have enough legislators in the assembly to support their candidate.

Talking about Samajwadi Party’s Rajya Sabha candidate, Jaya Bachchan he said, “My comparison was drawn with those working in films… I was rejected for those who dance in films, work in films. I found it not proper. Nobody found it proper.”

Agarwal became tv channels and newspaper’s headline for making controversial statements. In July 2017, he courted controversy in Rajya Sabha by associating Hindu Gods with alcohol, while speaking on the issue of mob violence related with cow protection. However, after his statement, he was made to apologise by BJP.


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India, Pakistan should decide to think of peace: Farooq Abdullah on ceasefire violations



Farooq Abdullah
National Conference party leader, Farooq Abdullah (File Photo)

Kashmir:  National Conference party leader Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday spoke about the situation on the India- Pakistan border in Kashmir. 

The leader speaking on the continous ceasefire violation said,”this will continue to happen.”

The leader urging both the countries to find a diplomatic solution said,”firing will continue to happen on both sides unless the two nations decide to think of peace.”

“The sooner they think about it, the sooner it will stop,” he added.

However this is not the first time when Abdullah has asked for diplomatic solutions, earlier the leader stated that war is not the solution of the Kashmir issue.


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Kabul seeks closure of Taliban’s Qatar office



Taliban office in Qatar
Taliban office in Qatar (Photo- The Newyork Times)

Doha, Feb 24: Kabul has started discussions with the Qatari government to close the Taliban office in Doha as it has had “no positive consequence in terms of facilitating the peace talks with the group in Afghanistan”, a senior government official has said.

“There is no need to keep the office open”, said Mohammad Hanif Atmar, National Security Advisor to President Ashraf Ghani, in an interview with Middle East newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat earlier this week.

“The aim behind opening (Taliban’s) Qatar office was to start official peace negotiations with the terror group from the address, but so far no official negotiation from the office has been started with government. Even a single step has not been taken forward in the peace process through this office,” Qadir Shah, a spokesman for Atmar’s office said.

“It had no benefit for us even after seven years… It is better to close it,” Atmar said.

He also said that Kabul has so far witnessed no sign of “sincere” cooperation from Islamabad in counter-terrorism efforts.

The Taliban had earlier reached out to the US with an offer for talks and urged people to pressurize Washington to bring an end to the invasion of Afghanistan.

The Taliban had said that they preferred to resolve the conflict that began in 2001 through peaceful dialogue and warned that the use of force alone would complicate the problem in Afghanistan.

The group had called on the “American people and the peace-loving Congressmen” to pressurize US leadership to end the occupation of the Asian country, a precondition that Taliban has always maintained to begin any negotiation.


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