You have the country’s biggest superstar, second only to the Thalaivaa – Rajinikanth. You join him with the ‘Mr. Perfectionist’ of Bollywood, who has been well-known for not giving a single flop in the last 12 years. You also have the opportunity of setting the sick Indian film-making narrative by glorifying wronged heroes for the first time with your movie.
But give it to Vijay Krishna Acharya, and he’ll make a film that’ll give tough competition to even the likes of ‘Mohenjo Daro’ in terms of mediocrity. That also sums up the reality of the much hyped film ‘Thugs of Hindostan’, which is a stark reminder of the ever famous quote: ‘All that glitters is not Gold!’
In 1795, Raunakpur province comes under the siege of English East India Company commander John Clive, who murders the entire ruling clan by deceit, except for Zafira [Fatima Sana Sheikh], who is rescued by the loyal commander of the province, Khuda Baksh [Amitabh Bachchan].
The duo become rebels, who wreak havoc on the English garrisons in the coming eleven years, and in desperation, they resort to Firangi Mallah [Aamir Khan], who volunteers to bring him down. How their worlds collide, and whether Zafira and Khudabaksh free Raunakpur from Company rule or not is the entire crux of this movie.
To begin with, ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ is a criminal loss of a golden opportunity that could’ve changed the face of the Indian film industry, especially Bollywood. The plot seemed extremely promising, where the Thugs are not the dreaded ruffians as portrayed by the British, but strong willed, native fighters who resisted the British rule, but that was it.
The characters were so loosely built, that the absence of one made a deep void that could be filled by none. Even actors as polished as Aamir Khan were at a loss of words in the movie. There is also a weird note, whenever Katrina Kaif actually acts, with facial expressions, either the film is too good, or it is so bad that even Katrina would look better. Unfortunately, ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ belongs to the latter category.
What further annoys the cinema goers in ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ is its preference for glamour, even if it throws logic and historical accuracy to the winds. Even though the sets are lavish, and the visuals look a bit appealing, they’re not enough to save the sinking ship that is ‘Thugs of Hindostan’.
Except for Amitabh Bachchan, and to an extent Katrina Kaif, other actors, including Aamir Khan and Fatima Sana Shaikh, have been completely underwhelming, and so has Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub, who portrays the role of Sanichar, the sidekick of Firangi. For the British cast, the less said, the better.
Worse, the rip offs are more irritating than outrageous. Yes, we know that ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ is an apparent ripoff of the ‘Pirates of the Carribean’, but that is not all. The film has shamelessly copied from ‘Baahubali’, ‘Kranti’, and even out of the world films like Mohenjo Daro! Yes, you heard that right; some of the destruction scenes reminded one of the cringe fest that was ‘Mohenjo Daro!’
Some of the critics are of a view that Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan’s film is a version of ‘Pirates of Caribbean’ without Pirates or even Caribbean in it. Aamir Khan seems to have misjudged a role after a long duration.
Also, who performs jazz in 18th century India, that too in an English East India Company feast? As far as my memory serves me right, no courtesan of the early 19th century wore the kind of clothes Katrina Kaif was shown wearing in ‘Thugs of Hindostan’. Why, for God’s sake, why does it have to be like this? Would Vijay Krishna Acharya have lost millions if he paid attention to a strong script?
It is a real shock for many that Ajay Atul composed the music for this movie, because going by the looks of it, the songs were anything but the ones that had the energetic touch of the Maharashtrian duo in it. Ironically, the Urdu hangover is not missing from this movie as well, and this only adds to the irritation of the viewers.
Is there anything even Good?
To be honest, the movie is anything but great. However, the efforts of Amitabh Bachchan, however laughable they might look, were earnest and almost to the point. Had he been supported by strong characters, this would’ve been a different story altogether.
But Alas! ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ is not the one to be. It is a brutal reminder of how the elite Bollywood is yet to get over their liberal hangover, and how things turn haywire if given in wrong hands.