Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif, Fatima Sana Shaikh
Director: Vijay Krishna Acharya
Rating: 2.5 Moons
It certainly isn’t surprising to note that Thugs Of Hindostan was unanimously perceived as a ‘visual extravaganza’ from the trailer but Vijay Krishna Acharya’s film is actually much more than just the typical epic drama. There is a lot more to it than what meets not just the eye, but your heart and soul as well, at almost every juncture of the much-awaited Diwali bonanza.
Thugs Of Hindostan, honestly, is a revenge story wrapped in the plot of an epic tale as it begins with a rather recurrent crux. Zafira, the daughter of the royal family of Raunakpur, witnesses the murder of her parents and brother by the hands of the acrimonious British East India Company officer Robert Clive and unsurprisingly is led to the task of avenging their deaths with the help of her messiah Khudabaksh, played by Amitabh Bachchan.
[caption id="attachment_163249" align="aligncenter" width="1199"] Still of Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan from the song 'Vashmalle'[/caption]
It is rather poetically apt that Bachchan’s character is titled Khudabaksh because he doesn’t spare – neither his enemies nor death. Fondly referred to as Azaad by his army of supporters for the thought of freedom that he propagates, Khudabaksh is everything in Thugs Of Hindostan. Yes, everything. Commissioned with the task of protecting Zafira after her birth, Khudabaksh trains her into becoming a fine warrior as the young girl transforms into a perfect amalgamation of beauty and battler – Fatima Sana Shaikh puts up a brilliant show as she commands her archery skills with effortless ease.
The atrocities of The East India Company that India has had to endure the wrath of is a subject that has been tackled by Bollywood often and Aamir Khan, for that matter, has also been a part of a plot as such in Lagaan. But his character Firangi in Thugs Of Hindostan is obviously not even remotely similar to that of the 2000 film – it’s equally dynamic though. Firangi Malla has multiple layers, not only in the form of his sartorial taste but also in his character.
He isn’t able to decide whether to side with the British or entrust himself to Khudabaksh and ends up in an internal conflict frequently. The best part of the joke is that very less can be revealed about Firangi’s shades in Thugs Of Hindostan because it might just end up as a massive spoiler – but you must know this much that Firangi is not just a tricky personality and will try your patience every so often.
Aamir also adds his own to Firangi through his comic timing and with punch lines as such, we are not sure whether you will forget Jack Sparrow – Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean character that he has been compared with – but Firangi will definitely divert your attention from him, at least, quite easily in certain parts.
As far as Khudabaksh is concerned, Thugs Of Hindostan belongs to him. It’s astounding to watch Big B perform aerial stunts with such brilliance at 76. And boy, he is amazing in the sword sequences – so much so that you might just end up gaping at Khudabaksh and forget that Firangi is also there on the other side of his weapon. Dialogues, mostly, belong to Big B with slapstick comedy reserved for Aamir while Khudabaksh’s and Firangi’s fluctuating rapport is also a treat to watch.
Oh well, we almost forgot about Katrina Kaif. Astonished? Don’t be. Because Suraiyya Jaan’s role in Thugs Of Hindostan is pretty simple – to take your jaan away – something that she has resigned herself to in most of her films. She only appears in two songs – Suraiyya and Manzoor-e-Khuda and that’s about it. Breathtaking, yes of course, especially her introductory scene in which she is nothing less than what webloids would refer to as scintillating in a barely-there blouse and skirt, kohl-rimmed eyes, the bindi and the nath to go with it – insinuates seduction, right? You, bet!
Thugs Of Hindostan is Yash Raj Films’ ‘biggest production’ so far and it’s visible considering the massive sets with ships, armour, dockyards and the palaces of course. But Vijay Krishna Acharya, it appears, couldn’t do justice to it as much. He certainly brings out the best in his pivotal characters as well as the supporting ones – be it Ronit Roy, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub or Ila Arun - but lacks considerably in the screenplay for which he is unable to deliver what was expected out of the spectacle.
Musicians Ajay-Atul have done a good job with Suraiyya, Manzoor-e-Khuda and Vashmalle but the elan-vital of Thugs Of Hindostan is in the background score - John Stewart Eduri is responsible for it. Manush Nandan’s cinematography is precise as the film is set in the 1700s and most of the sequences are convincing enough to transport you to the pre-independence era. Special mention to costume designers Rushi Sharma and Manoshi Nath for adding soul to the characters through their definite appearances.
To cut a 2-hour 44-minute story short, if you ultimately decide to watch it, we have a suggestion and considering it will only benefit you and your pockets, of course. Remember to tell yourself before it begins that you are about to watch ‘The Amitabh Bachchan film’ and not Thugs Of Hindostan. It’s that simple, actually.