If we were all to go back in time - not too far back, just a day - and examine our expectations from Raees, what would we see? For over a year, Shah Rukh Khan’s new film has promised a very specific kind of story - gritty, political, realistic - but after watching the first full trailer on Wednesday, it all came crashing down.
To be clear, this isn’t a dig at the film - no one has seen it yet, and it may turn out to be great. Who knows? But this is certainly a dig at the trailer. One could argue that this is mostly a case of having unrealistic expectations. In fact, that’s what it probably is. But forgive us for picturing a prohibition-themed film set during a turbulent period in Gujarat’s history to have a certain look and feel.
And forgive us for not picturing this:
But then, SRK began dancing. His heroine, a full 20 years younger, looked at him with sultry eyes. And that’s when we realised, yet again, that ours is a film industry stuck in time. There is not going to be much change, especially when a big star is involved.
You see, in India, people still go to the movies for stars first, and the story second. That’s why most trailers for mainstream Hindi movies have only the slightest hint of the plot, and a lot of epic shots of the larger-than-life star.
You may point out that Raees is directed by Rahul Dholakia, who made the very gritty, and very good Parzania. But no one said anything about Raees being similar in tone. You may also point out that it stars Nawazuddin Siddigui, who is perhaps the most successful character actor working right now. But then, Nawaz has also starred in more than one Salman Khan movie.
You know what? It’s our fault. It’s our fault for wanting something as pulpy as a lesson in rewritten history by Quentin Tarantino. It’s our fault for hoping, that just this once, someone watched The Untouchables and had the bright idea of transporting its classic story to the rough interiors of a divided Gujarat. It’s our fault for shaking our heads when Sunny Leone popped in for an item number. We’d seen her giddy tweets! We knew she’d be there! And finally, it’s our fault for not expecting SRK to be SRK. It’s all our fault.
Till 25 January then, here’s your present
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