Shah Rukh Khan’s next movie Raees is weeks away, but has already been hogging attention thanks to an early teaser that contained a line that is destined to go down in popular culture. The line, attributed to director Rahul Dholakia, describes the titular character, a powerful bootlegger in Gujarat, as a man who has “Baniye ka dimaag and Miyan bhai ki daring” – the mind of a Baniya businessman and the chutzpah of a Muslim don. Raees also has Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the police officer who goes after Raees and Pakistani star Mahira Khan as Raees’s wife, who calls him “Battery” because of his myopia.
Here’s the full trailer of the movie, which is set in the 1980s and designed as a retro ’70-style crime thriller packed with larger-than-life characters, whistle-inducing dialogue, and Shah Rukh Khan in crackling anti-hero mode. Sample dialogue, aimed at establishing that crime is but a twisted form of entrepreneurship: “Gujarat ki hava mein vyapaar hai sahib; meri saans to rok loge, lekin is hava ko kaise rokoge?”
There’s also a reworked version of the song Laila O Laila, featuring Sunny Leone, for safety.
The filmmakers have denied that Raees is based on the life and times of Gujarati mobster Abdul Latif, who provided a steady supply of alcohol to a state that follows an official Prohibition policy, after Latif’s family filed a case against producers Excel Entertainment and Red Chillies (Khan’s banner). Latif died in a police encounter on November 29, 1997. He has already been the subject of the low-budget biopic Lateef King of Crime, released through the internet in 2015.
Raees is leaving no stone unturned in its attempt to conquer the box office. A smart marketing campaign accompanied the trailer launch. The trailer was live-steamed at cinemas across the country that use UFO digital distribution, after which Khan addressed his fans through a link-up.
The movie’s release date has been advanced by a day from January 26, 2017. Raees was to have been released at the same time as Sultan in July 2016, but the date was changed to avoid a clash with the Salman Khan movie. The new date, however, clashed with Sanjay Gupta’s revenge thriller Kaabil, starring Hrithik Roshan and produced by his father Rakesh Roshan. After Rakesh Roshan declared that Kaabil would open a day earlier in evening shows, the producers of Raees announced that they too would be out on January 25 – from the morning itself. Roshan has been fuming at Khan’s chutzpah, setting the stage for a new war of words that will only benefit both films. Talk about dimaag and daring.