Image Courtesy: Wikipedia 

When a film is inspired by certain people or events, there are bound to be similarities to the original, but not too overt, for obvious reasons, of course. How inspired can a film get by real life people or events? What is the stand of the actors playing such “inspired” characters? Do they face moral dilemmas, if the inspiration has been a negative figure? I’ve always wondered about this. I cannot believe that an actor as brilliant as Shahrukh Khan would not have seen the very obvious similarities between his character Raees and the real-life gangster Abdul Latif! As an actor then why would he have accepted the role? To be true to his craft, which is telling a story – and telling a story means telling it as it is, without being judgemental; or to make another multi-grosser? Even if it is to just tell a story ( but based on a real person, so biographical to an extent), is it okay to stretch fiction to such a limit, that the audience actually comes out of the hall feeling sorry for that negative central character??
I came out of the hall today pondering over all these questions and yet appreciating Shahrukh Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s performances! I may be biased, but I really do love King Khan! And thank god he is leaving behind his histrionics and conveying more and more these days through body language and facial expressions rather than the “KKKKK Kiran” kind of creepy performances! Loved him in “Dear Zindagi” and loved him here too! Nawazuddin Siddiqui, as usual is the other hero of the film! This guy does not fit into any of the stereotypical moulds of an actor and yet shines the brightest in whichever film and as whichever character he acts!
I cannot really say whether I liked the film or not. As just a story it pulls at your heartstrings, oh yes it does! The most adorable and smart little Raees who grows up to be a gangster, smuggler, bootlegger and killer, with a golden heart and a secular and philanthropist streak, a savvy style and a business acumen which could put most Ivy League business gurus to shame – well, except for the gangster-bootlegger-murderer part he is a man of every woman’s dreams!! And a thorn in the side of the very politicians whom he supports and the upright police officer whose mission is to eradicate crime. Well, the saving grace for the film is that at least he is punished for his crimes, has to pay with his own life, which is probably the only logical end for a gangster. 
But again, in trying to tell a story, was it necessary to glorify the character so much, to make him so much human, give him those “Robinhood” streaks? For me that was an overkill! If i have to compare two gangster movies, then I would rate Don higher than this one – at least the gangster there is purely evil, not capable of any compassion and totally self obsessed and arrogant! 
Mahira Khan is graceful and can emote reasonably well. But honestly nothing extraordinary. Whenever there is a foreign actor in one of our films, I always feel it is because they are brought in for a specific reason, an extraordinary role which can be done only by them. An Indian actor won’t do. But none of the films having foreign actors have fulfilled this criterion so far. Other than probably adding an aura of exotic anticipation, they don’t add any value to the film! 
Watch if you are a King Khan and/or Nawazuddin Siddiqui fan; don’t if you are a very meticulous fact-checker. The disclaimer of this being a complete work of fiction fools nobody; the fact remains that right down to the bespectacled look the central character is very much inspired; and made to look more human to somehow justify the making of the film, which was sure to be a top grosser for the very controversial nature of the central character! There is no dearth of good stories to tell otherwise. 
A couple of songs are hummable, the others forgettable. A few fight sequences and chases are totally paisa-vasool. Looks like King Khan doesn’t mind baring his torso these days in films, which he never did earlier. It started with Om Shanti Om though. Looks like he is inspired on this one by his good buddy Salman! 
A rating of 2.5/5 for this one, my friends, not more!!

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