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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: ***

IANs

Entertainment

‘Skyscraper’ Review: A lowbrow, watchable thriller

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Dwayne Johnson Skyscraper

New Delhi, July 20: Film: “Skyscraper”; Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Moller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber and Hannah Quinlivan;

Rating: ** (2 stars out of 5)

Despite being visually exciting, suspenseful and entertaining, “Skyscraper” is a lowbrow, one-dimensional, fun B-grade action thriller that is absolutely worth a watch.

The premise is simple and the plot is predictably straight laced. Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson), an ex-military operative who has lost his leg in an explosion, now owns a security company that has been appointed to service ‘The Pearl’, the tallest building in the world, built by the Asian Financier Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han).

Fit with the latest security measures, the building seems insurmountable, till a group of mercenaries led by Kores Botha (Roland Moller) try to sabotage the building by burning it down because of their differences with Zhao Long Ji.

Sawyer’s stakes in saving the building are doubled as his wife Sarah and two children; Georgia and Henry, are stranded in the blazing skyscraper. How he rescues his family and Zhao and saves the building from being completely destroyed, forms the crux of the film.

The film is serious at times with by-the-numbers, over-the-top set action pieces and a few little twists here and there that defy expectations. The audience may find the set pieces to be incredibly entertaining, but in actuality, they don’t particularly mesh with the narrative. But then, as an action film it delivers the goods.

Overall, the film is Dwayne’s canvas. He entices the audience with his jaw-dropping stunts especially when he is dangling outside the building with nothing but a rope and wrapped prosthetic leg keeping him alive, the notion of “suspension of disbelief” only goes so far to save it.

He and Neve Campbell, who plays his wife Sarah, have surprisingly solid chemistry and together they as a couple make the telling of the film relatable. The kids are there to tug you on the emotional note, which definitely seems forced.

Overall, the film delivers on pretty much everything it promises and even adds a layer of emotion when looking at the family dynamics.

In fact, it even tries to reach the levels that the original “Die Hard” did, but then the ridiculous dialogue at the end – “You nearly need a shower” belittles Sawyer’s endeavour and takes away from the seriousness of the events one witnessed.

IANS

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Google ‘Launchpad Accelerator’ India chapter to nurture desi startups

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google

New Delhi, July 10: In a bid to nurture Indian startups working in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), Google on Tuesday announced to open the India chapter of its global “Launchpad Accelerator” mentorship programme.

The three-month “Launchpad Accelerator” India programme has been designed to grow the AI/ML ecosystem by helping desi startups build scalable solutions for the country’s unique problems.

The programme, based out of Bengaluru, will provide a cohort of 8-10 Indian startups mentorship and support from the best of Google in AI/ML, Cloud, UX, Android, web, product strategy and marketing, along with up to $100K of Google Cloud credits, the company said in a statement.

“India has the appetite to build entrepreneurs of the future and we are proud to announce a focused programme for the next wave of Indian entrepreneurs, who are using new technologies to solve the country’s needs,” said Roy Glasberg, Global Launchpad Founder.

Over the years, Google has worked with some incredible startups across India who are using advanced technologies such as AI/ML to tackle everything from agri-tech to language web, healthcare and transportation.

“With the dedicated India-only Launchpad Accelerator programme, we will be able to build a bridge between startups and the industry ecosystem and support them to drive innovation in the India market,” Glasberg added.

Applications for the first class is open till July 31 and the first class will start in September 2018.

In an effort to mentor emerging start-ups, Google India hosted a four-day boot camp for the first 10 Indian startups as part of its ‘Solve for India’ programme.

The India-focused accelerator programme is building on Google’s “Solve for India” roadshow from last year.

Ten Indian startups were shortlisted from across India which underwent four days in one-on-one consults with experts from Google and mentors from the industry to solve critical product and growth challenges.

“We shortlisted 10 startups from 160 home-grown start-ups by travelling across 15 cities in India, and are now ready to scale this pilot as a dedicated programme for India,” Karthik Padmanabhan, Developer Relations Lead, Google India, said at that time.

The participants were the founders of startups including Nebulaa, Slang Labs, PregBuddy, LegalDesk, PaySack, Vokal, FarMart, Meesho, Pratilipi and M-Indicator.

“Launchpad” regional accelerators are tailored specifically to their local markets, helping startups build great products, Google said.

IANS

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Fuel prices hiked for fifth consecutive day

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Petrol Price

New Delhi July 9: Petrol and diesel prices on Monday hiked for the fifth consecutive day, according to the Indian Oil Corporation data.

Petrol is being sold in Delhi at Rs.76.36 per litre, as against Rs.76.13 on Sunday, while diesel is being sold at Rs.68.07 per litre, as against Rs. 67.86 on the previous day.

While in Mumbai, petrol prices increased from Rs. 83.52 on Sunday, to Rs. 83.75 per litre on Monday, and diesel prices from Rs.72 to Rs. 72.23 per litre.

Members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) last month, agreed to jointly increase oil production, which was estimated to be about one million barrels a day.

The deal, which came after days of negotiation, was reportedly aimed at easing fears of a global supply crunch.

WeForNews 

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