So who got thugged?
SORRY Aamir Khan. We know you were trying your level best to cheer us up in the more than half full cinema hall on the dull morning of the day after Diwali, during the first day, first show of the “biggest” film of the year, Thugs of Hindostan. Blame it on the weather or the pollution due to pataakhas or the fact that the previous night was one of merry making with family and friends (albeit an early one), but when you can actually snooze through the first half of a film and not miss anything, shows you’ve lost anchor. But let’s not begin on such a morose note – after all it is festival time.
Thugs of Hindostan is Vijay Krishna Acharya’s latest offering jam packed with action that pits, for the first time on the big screen, Indian megastar Amitabh Bachchan and superstar Aamir Khan against each other. You won’t be disappointed with the clash of swords, the rappelling, the swinging between ships, the pyrotechnics, the costumes and the elaborate settings.
All the characters look good, but that we’ve already established after Khan took his time to showcase them over the past few months.
While the first half of the film was spent simply in Firangi trying to trap Azad for the English, in the second half things moved faster. By this time, I guess, the viewers were also awake as a lot more reaction was registered, especially for Firangi’s antics.
Needless to say the huge film rests on the shoulders of these two actors. The Angry Young Man of our times, Bachchan – is he really 76-year-old or is he acting there too? – is in his element, despite confessing in various promotional appearances, that he had a tough time doing all that he was asked too as Azad aka Khuda Baksh.
Khan, though perfect for Firangi Mallah had a tall order to fill with being compared to Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow. More than a few times, you will see him mimic the now-legendary character, though he desperately tries not to. Fatima Sana Shaikh looks like the beautiful “warrior” she’s meant to be, but we’ve seen that character in several other films, not too long ago as Avanthika (Tamannah) in Bahubali. Lloyd Owens plays the baddie John Clive convincingly but lacks the “evilness” of Lagaan’s Captain Andrew Russell. Mohammad Ayub Jeeshan (Shanichar) is a definitely a saving grace but Katrina Kaif’s miniscule role as Surraiyya Jaan is only to please the front benchers.
In Atul-Ajay and John Stewart’s three compositions, the only song that stands out is Manzoor-e-Khuda, but again nothing new as we’ve heard Sukhwinder Singh taking similar high notes in other songs too.
What was really disappointing was the predictability of the story and plot. It’s not really The Pirates of the Caribbean, but it ain’t very different either. There wasn’t really anything to keep the viewer engaged. Even with Khan going back and forth between the English and the Azad forces with his conning, it began to seem a bit trite towards the end of the film.
However, true to his style, the Dhoom creator has left the ending open for a possible sequel. Fingers crossed that might sail better with the audience, unlike this action-oriented Titanic.
So in all the hype around Thugs of Hindostan, we wonder who really got thugged.
The film rests on the shoulders of Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan. The story is disappointingly predictable.
From left: Katrina Kaif, Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Fatima Sana Shaikh in Thugs of Hindostan.