Raees is an upcoming 2017 Indian action crime thriller film directed by Rahul Dholakia and produced by Gauri Khan, Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar under their banners Red Chillies Entertainment and Excel Entertainment. It stars Shah Rukh Khan, Mahira Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Raees is said to be based on criminal Abdul Latif's life, though the filmmakers deny this. The film is scheduled to be released on 25 January 2017.
Raees is based on a real life character - underworld don Abdul Latif. "Latif played an important role in the decline of congress and growth of BJP in Gujarat, the state from where the don hailed." "BJP made the arrest of Latif an election issue. In 1995, BJP formed its own government and the same year later Latif was arrested in Delhi. He was lodged in Sabarmati Jail of Ahmedabad subsequently, and two years later, he was killed in an encounter when he tried to flee from the police custody." "The arrest and end of Latif’s terror was seen as a promise kept by the BJP and is seen as a major factor why BJP’s popularity and political power kept growing and Congress could never come back to power in Gujarat."
The film is set in 1980s Gujarat. It tells the story of the bootlegger Raees Alam whose business is highly challenged and eventually thwarted by a police officer, ACP Majmudar.
- Shah Rukh Khan as Raees Alam
- Nawazuddin Siddiqui
- Mahira Khan
- Sunny Leone as Guest appearance
Filming and development
Shooting of the film began in April 2015. The film has been shot in Mumbai, and sets were re-designed to depict Ahmedabad slums. The last schedule of the film was shot in Gujarat in January 2016. Despite protests, the film was shot in Bhuj without disruptions between January and February 2016.
The film was scheduled to be released on Eid, 6 July 2016, but was postponed due to clash with Salman Khan starrer Sultan. The film was then rescheduled to be released on 26 January 2017, but again falls in the trap of clash with Hrithik Roshan starrer Kaabil. Later, the release of both the films preponed to 25 January 2017.
There was a clearance issue by Archaeological Survey of India for shooting at Ahmedabad at the ancient mosque and tomb complex, Sarkhej Roza. In March 2016, a legal notice was sent by an alleged gangster, Abdul Latif's son, Mustak, asking how or why a film on his father's life is being made.
A few days after the 2016 Uri terror attack, 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 on their list, because cast member Mahira Khan is Pakistani. MNS put forward a condition to lift up the ban, that producers shall never cast Pakistani artistes in future and they have to give ₹5 crore as penance to the Indian Army welfare fund, but Indian Army refused to accept it by saying sacrifices should not be politicised. Later, ban was lifted without the conditions on Raees as demanded by MNS.
Farhan Akhtar, co-producer of the film said Raees will never pay, and was threatened by MNS. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra and member of the BJP and the RSS, Devendra Fadnavis said at the meeting with MNS and the producers ₹5 crore as contribution to the Indian Army welfare fund was not quoted compulsory and was never a condition for lifting ban on films featuring Pakistani actors demanded by MNS, and earlier at an event praised Shah Rukh Khan as an "icon" and a "proud Mumbaikar".
Ankita Shorey was the first choice for the female lead of the film, but Mahira Khan got the role, Shorey confirmed that the consideration was not due to the nationality, the script needed a real Pakistani look. Shorey later stated that she did not speak about replacement, and did not spell "part of the project" phrase in her last interview regarding Raees, the actual phrase was "strongly considered for the project", the journalist who took her interview apologised for it. Farhan Akhtar clearly stated that Mahira Khan is in the film like before and nothing has been changed for her part, and the film is ready to release, he further said that if they started the whole film shooting after the terror attack then they would never have signed her depending on the present situation, and concluded by saying showing solidarity to Indian Army is up to them, and only Indian government has the authority to brief them regarding dealing with their conscience, and not by any outsiders.