Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma started the trend of glorifying underworld dons on the celluloid with his critically-acclaimed Manoj Bajpayee-starrer Satya in 1998. For the next two decades, he continued to treat fans with films like Shool (1999), Company (2003), Sarkar (2006) and Rakta Charitra (2010).
Several other filmmakers followed suit. Mahesh Manjrekar’s Vaastav (1999), Milan Luthria’s Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai (2010) and Apoorva Lakhia’s Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007) are a few. The films proved to be great money churners at the box office but the trend seem to have faded away.
Ever since Once Upon.., we haven’t seen a single large-scale movie that aims at deifying criminals with the style and enigma of a gangster film.
However, with Rahul Dholakia’s Raees which hit the screens on January 25, the trend seems to have made a solid comeback.
Reportedly based on Gujarati bootlegger Abdul Latif, Raees aims at portraying him as an honest businessman who did not intend to hurt anyone, unless his business was affected. Much like Sultan Mirza (Ajay Devgn) in Once Upon or Raghu (Sanjay Dutt) in Vaastav, Raees (Shah Rukh Khan) is a messiah of the downtrodden even as he wreaks havoc on those laden with money and luxuries of life.
Riding on SRK’s stardom, Raees’s dialogues, merchandise and mannerisms are already a rage among fans. Given the film’s performance at the ticket windows, it will certainly remain in the public’s memory for a long time, raising demands for more gangster films.
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