Raees is one of the most awaited films of 2017. The films is an action thriller directed by Rahul Dholakia and produced by Gauri Khan, Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar under their banners Red Chillies Entertainment and Excel Entertainment. The film has been in the news for its amazing star casts. It stars Shah Rukh Khan, Pakistani actress Mahira Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in lead roles. Raees is said to be based on the life of real life bootlegger Abdul Latif who used to operate from Gujarat. There have been a lot of speculations around the film’s release. After a few delays, it was finally announced that the film will release on Republic Day on January 26, 2017 but not the release date has been shifted and locked for 25 January 2017. Another big banner film, Hrithik Roshan and Yami Gautam’s Kaabil is set to hit screens on the same day as Raees.
This Shah Rukh Khan starrer is set in 1980s Gujarat and tells the life story of bootlegger Raees Alam, played by SRK. His biggest nemesis is police officer ACP Majmudar, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Mahira Khan will portray the role of Mohsina while the very hot Sunny Leone will make a Guest appearance in the film. Actress Sheeba Chaddha will play the role of Raees's mother in the film.
The film has been extensively shot in Mumbai where special sets were created to resemble the slums of Ahmedabad. The film has also been shot in Gujarat where the crew shot at the ancient mosque and tomb complex, Sarkhej Roza. The makers of Raees got into trouble when earlier this year, Abdul Latif's son Mustak sent out a legal notice to them for making a film on his father and showing him in a negative light.
Also, the filmmakers were in a quandary post the 2016 Uri terror attack where the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) banned films featuring Pakistani actors on the basis that the actors were not openly condemning terrorism. Raees was one of the films under scanner since it stars Pakistani actress Mahira Khan as a female lead. We hear that Shah Rukh Khan met MNS head Raj Thackeray and assured him that Mahira Khan will not be roped in to promote Raees and she will not be called to India and also, that he will not work with Pakistani stars in the future. It can be recalled that Mahira Khan was not the first choice for the film and it was Ankita Shorey who was first approached the female lead.
Following the Uri attacks, there were also speculations that Mahira Khan’s role in the film must have been cut short however producer Farhan Akhtar cleared the air and said that the role hasn’t been fidgeted with. The film had also got into trouble when Indian Shia Muslims forums got together to file a petition against the film Raees. This happened post the release of the trailer of the much awaited film. Shah Rukh Khan’s dialoguebaazi, daredevil gangster swag and the true blue Pathan look, the amazing onscreen chemistry with Pakistani actress Mahira Khan and more impressed the fans and critics alike. But a few scenes in the film’s trailer had hurt the religious sentiments of the Shia Muslim community in India. In one scene, SRK is seen in black garb doing maatam, a ritual that Shias follow during the mourning months of Muharram. In an extension to that scene, which seems to be a chase sequence, SRK is seen jumping across rooftops. The scene shows the Khan jumping over juloos (procession) carrying alam mubarak which according to Shia theology is considered as disrespect. However, the some members of the Shia community approached the makers of the film and the trailer was revised and re uploaded on Red Chillies’ YouTube channel. The makers also assured that the objectionable scene will be deleted from the film as well.