Khuda, baksh us from the ‘Ughs’ of Hindostan

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTMETRO -

so badly. A lit­tle chem­istry and en­ergy might just have made the au­di­ence lose them­selves in the Tech­ni­color ridicu­lous­ness, ex­cel­lent pro­duc­tion de­sign and (mostly) smooth vis­ual ef­fects.

When you buy a ticket for a Bol­ly­wood film, along with money you hand over ex­pec­ta­tions of logic, his­tor­i­cal ac­cu­racy and orig­i­nal­ity in plot. Which means no one watch­ing Thugs of Hindostan was ex­pect­ing a crash course on how and whether the Bri­tish wiped out Thuggees in the 1830s (some aca­demics think thuggees were a Bri­tish in­ven­tion). Nei­ther would any­one have raised an eye­brow at the film’s vil­lain be­ing named Clive and most of the ac­tion taking place in 1806 (Clive of In­dia died in 1774). Few would have cared that Khan’s Fi­rangi and the ship­steal­ing prank make Thugs of Hindostan look like Pi­rates of the Caribbean fan fic­tion. Those who no­ticed the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween Zafira and Le­go­las from Peter Jack­son’s Lord of the Rings tril­ogy (Braids: Check. Archery: Check. Pouty lips: Check. Acro­bat­ics: Check) may even have clapped a lit­tle louder be­cause it’s one of the few sur­prises in the film. Un­for­tu­nately, when you’re bored, you end up notic­ing what’s out of whack. For in­stance, how does the fic­tional Rau­nakpur of Thugs of Hindostan ap­pear land­locked on a map, but end up hav­ing a coast ? Why are two English­men speak­ing to each other in Hindi ? Who are th­ese In­di­ans who can blend into a crowd of white English­men by putting on a (bad) blonde wig? Why would Khud­abaksh trust some­one who he’s just dis­cov­ered to be a traitor? How is it that Dussehra in Rau­nakpur looks so much like the song se­quences from the 1983 Him­mat­wala? Does the fact – SPOILER ALERT – that the bad guy gets his come­up­pance from a girl make up for how lit­tle time is given to the fe­male char­ac­ters in Thugs of Hindostan and the fact that the four times Kaif is on screen, the cam­era fo­cuses on her torso? Be­fore you know it, there are more ques­tions than there is pop­corn and while the pop­corn gets over, the film doesn’t.

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