WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India
Nov 08, 2018, 03.42 PM
One would think the year 2018 would end with a bang in cinema. The year saw some incredible cinema from smaller producers and gave rise to numerous new stars -who with their sheer talent and good cinema, carved their own space in Bollywood this year. When newere actors, directors are churning out such amazing content, expectations from superstars like Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan and a banner like Yash Raj Films would naturally double up. They have in the past- individually- delivered some fantastic cinema, so when these three prominent forces of Bollywood team- up for a film, one would expect nothing but the best. But 'Thugs Of Hindostan'- 2018's big Diwali release is utterly disappointing leaving the audience with a migraine in its 2 hours 44 minutes run time.
Based on Philip Meadows Taylor's book 'Confession of Thug', the film merges a revenge saga with the fight for freedom from the British in late 18th century India. After the British murder her parents, a young Zafira(Fatima Sana Shaikh) is raised by her father's most trusted aid Khudabaksh Azaad( Big B). Zafira is a princess of sorts of a kingdom whose king has been murdered along with his kin by the British who now rule the kingdom. Zafira, since then has been on the run and trained by a thug/ pirate Khudabaksh who, with his army, often plunders, loots British ships and convoys ever so often. Naturally, Zahira, as Azaad's chief commander has been trained well in archery and sword fighting. Together as a team, they are unbeatable and a pain for the British. The Brits then hire Firangi (Aamir Khan channelising his inner Jack Sparrow in this one) to get them Azaad and his army. Firangi is a con man of sorts, who just works for money and doesn't really belong to any camp. Firangi does manage to infiltrate Azaad's den and even manages to win his trust even though Zafira isn't too convinced about the new member in their band.
Now a film on pirates and their adventure ideally should be a thrilling ride. There is so much to look forward to such films. But director Vijay Krishna Acharya's film is far from it. A long drawn saga of seeking revenge with over the top background music, silly dialogues and a predictable story makes 'Thugs of Hindostan' an overbearing, torturous ride.
Considering the fact that this is perhaps YRF's most expensive film till date, it is alarming to see so much money getting wasted on a film that struggles to stay afloat. It is long, the VFX is amateur, stunts are unrealistic(no one jumps, everyone does backflips instead) and the songs are forgettable. There is Katrina Kaif - in a role that seems so unnecessary- dancing in the most obscure outfits to the most impractical steps choreographed by none other than Prabhudeva. She wears a pair of silver shorts in one song, and a thigh-high slit ghagra in another- fashion trends that never existed in the 18th century - and does the twist in one song.
Basically, her character Suraiya is ahead of her times considering her dance steps and costumes became a rage several hundred years later.
Kaif is ornamental and most of the film features Shaikh who tries to deliver but falters primarily because of a bad script.
It also takes special talent to make Aamir Khan and Big B do mediocre work in a film that not short of resources. Khan and Big B's performances are just about average. In a film that lacks an original story, and logic- the presence of two stars just makes the overall film more cringeworthy and makes you wonder what made them choose such a film. Did the film appear interesting on paper? Did the execution go this grossly wrong and if so, why didn't Khan intervene? Questions that will never get answered perhaps.
Factually wrong, overstretched and a convoluted story which in the middle suddenly turns jingoistic- 'Thugs Of Hindostan' is a ship that sinks soon after it sets sail.
It is a shame that YRF, one of the biggest producers in the country, pumped in money at the wrong things instead of investing in researchers and writers who could churn out something original and better.
In a year where Bollywood has given us some really fantastic films, a 'Thugs Of Hindostan'- cushioned with big bucks, stars, grand sets- is just not acceptable.
With the producers had invested their money in a good story and some research.