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Posted at: Nov 8, 2018, 6:31 PM; last updated: Nov 8, 2018, 6:31 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW: THUGS OF HINDOSTAN

A ride in the rough waters

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Film: Thugs of Hindostan

  • Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif and Fatima Sana Shaikh
  • Director: Vijay Krishna Acharya
A ride in the rough waters
A still from Thugs of Hindostan

Nonika Singh

Amidst the deluge of content-driven films which have enamoured us this year one after another, in case you had forgotten what a regular mainstream film looks like, well welcome to Thugs Of Hindostan. 

Now the moot question is whether it brings good tidings on its wings or not, whether this pot-boiler and a mishmash of several ingredients, like umpteen before it, is an entertainer or a big yawn. 

Alas, despite riding high on the strength of two stellar superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan, the film fails to deliver and runs into choppy waters sooner than you anticipate. With a run time of two hours and forty minutes, it tests your patience at most crucial junctures, even when Katrina Kaif looks like a million bucks in her much hyped dance numbers. 

Indeed, Aamir Khan as he confessed in Koffee with Karan had valid reasons to be nervous about the film. Nevertheless, he is the singular saving grace in the film. As the Firangi who swindles people left, right and centre he gets into his character of the conniving conman bang on. He has the right chutzpah, demeanour and attitude. From the way he delivers his dialogues with panache (it helps that he has the 

best lines) to how he makes his eyes roll, he is a delight and his energy holds you. Between the treacherous British and the upright rebel army of Azad, he with his scheming ways is an interesting departure. Sadly even his delectable act can’t set the massive ship called Thugs of Hindostan from sinking. Caught between its two threads;  men fighting for freedom in the good old days of East India Company and the enticing world of cheats and pirates lookalike, it ends up being neither. The attempt to whip 

up patriotic sentiments falls flat. The emotive chord it tries to foster between Zafira (Fatima Sana Sheikh) and Amitabh Bachchan’s character is more foisted than natural and leaves you singularly cold. The greater pity is that Big B as Khudabaksh is completely wasted. More attention has been paid to his get up than developing his character which is one-dimensional to the point of being tardy. 

As Khudabaksh, the saviour and protector of the Nawab’s only surviving heir Zafira, he stands tall but only physically. With a massive eagle hovering by, if his persona reminds you of Khudagawah, the story harks back to umpteen formula films. Only here the formula gets relocated to pre-Independence milieu, the days of Nawabs and the East India Company. 

Indeed, action and fight sequences are well mounted. The scale is stupendous and fluidity of actors impressive. Besides, one must give it to the senior Bachchan for having the gall to play the ball. However, the heavy duty action gets repetitive in a narrative that as it is, offers little newness or fresh twists. The revenge drama of British against Hindostanis in a spectacular avatar is no more than surface gloss. 

Firangi may make you forget Jack Sparrow of Pirates of Caribbean, but the film is eminently forgettable. A massive let-down.  

nonikasingh@tribunemail.com

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