Thugs of Hindostan

  • 17 Nov - 23 Nov, 2018
  • Omair Alavi
  • Reviews

Ever since Aamir Khan achieved superstardom, he has been on a roller coster ride, enjoying all things good that come his way alongside entertaining the masses with his true geniuses and memorable, meaningful films. 

So, it was no surprise that his fans all over the world, had been eagerly awaiting the film where he got to work with the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, Thugs of Hindostan.

With Big B in his 70s and Aamir Khan entering 50s, it would have been better had they been cast as a mentor and student, but writer/director Vijay Krishna Acharya had a different idea and he went for full-throttle action, the safest genre on the planet. Add a fresh Fatima Sana Shaikh in a major role and the sizzling Katrina Kaif in a role that only she could have pulled off and you get a movie that entertains if you put your brain on a pause.

Yes, the film does lack a story but then it does not meant to be a history lesson either. The reason why I was not taken aback is because I did not have high expectations from the film. 

Yes, a better story could do well in the film’s favour, but to do that for Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan would have been a tough task as both the actors are considered super professionals in the era where quantity is preferred over quality. They both must have taken the film as a breather between their other projects and the audience should take it the same way. The soundtrack and the background score isn’t as bad as reviewers are painting it to be, watch the film and then decide as no song is deliberately placed, and no dialogue looks out of sync from the script.

The film revolves around Khuda Bakhsh Azaad (Amitabh Bachchan) who leads a rebellion against the British and their East India Company in 1806, 51 years before the actual War of Independence. With Zafira (Fatima Sana Shaikh), his daughter by his side, Khuda Bakhsh makes life miserable to the Firangis, until they send Firangi Mallah (Aamir Khan) to help them capture the rebels. How Firangi manages to do that and double cross the very philosophy of Azaad is what makes Thugs of Hindostan a film worth-watching in the same category as Pirates of The Caribbean. It does remind the audience of films like Lagaan, Mangal Panday: The Rising, Mard, Pukaar and 1942: A Love Story but that’s because the British invaded India and that’s a part of history both India and Pakistan can’t change. So why not make films on something that is close to our own history, right?

The film belongs to the one and only Amitabh Bachchan and not even the dance steps of Katrina Kaif, the conning of Aamir Khan and the adventurism of Fatima Sana Shaikh could take away the limelight from the Shahenshah of superstars. At 76, he is probably the fittest actor in Bollywood and the way he fights with two swords in his hands (definitely with a stunt double) takes you back in his heydays where he used to fight off an alligator, a lion, and even Dara Singh and emerge victoriously. He has the best dialogues in the script and every time he delivers such a line, the audience feels connected to the old man on the screen, and his young soul. Aamir Khan plays second fiddle to Big B in the first half but his role suddenly changes gear in the second and he takes over from the ageing master in his own style. For a conman, he looks perfect and even though he reminds the audience of Johnny Depp, he leaves an impression of his own too.

So, why does the audience feel cheated when they get to watch this long-awaited Aamir Khan-Amitabh Bachchan starrer? First of all, they were expecting it to be an intellectually advanced film, not a no-brainer they were made to watch in cinemas. Watching Aamir Khan play a conman after an alien, a student, a teacher, and a thief didn’t go down well with the audience, and neither did Amitabh Bachchan’s version of Long John Silver. They were hoping that Amitabh Bachchan would play the long-lost father of Aamir Khan’s character just as Dara Singh did in Mard where Big B was his long-lost son and the first time they met was in an arena, fighting against each other. Katrina Kaif hardly had any presence in the film and that could have been disappointing as the trailer featured her a dozen times. Fatima Sana Shaikh is relatively new to major roles (despite playing Kamal Hassan’s daughter in Chachi 420 in 1997) while Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub as Aamir Khan’s sidekick was something no one expected.

Blasting a film as soon as its release helped it more than damaged it because that made people all the more curious to watch the movie! To expect something like Bahubali from Vijay Krishna Acharya would be like expecting Hrishikesh Mukherjee come up with Mr. India or Rohit Shetty with Anand. The film is a paisa vusoolflick that will continue to dominate the box office until the next big release Zero in late December. Aamir Khan doesn’t do bad films because he always scrutinise the scripts and same goes for Big B who has been around for nearly 50 years and has more hits than duds to his name. 

Thugs of Hindostan will emerge to be a feather in their caps because it is a film that entertains the audience instead of ‘thugging’ them. •