It’s the onset of the 19th century and the British technically rule India for most of its regions are under East India Company. But they are opposed by a group of Bandits which goes by the name Azaad led by an old warrior called Khudabaksh (Amitabh Bachchan). To tackle this group, John Clive (Llyod Owen) appoints an Indian trickster Firangi Mallah (Aamir Khan) to help the British get to Azaad and bring it down.
Will the British be successful in their endeavour or will Khudabaksh save Azaad from obliteration?
Positive Points: –
- Thugs Of Hindostan has an excellent production value. The sets, the props, the costumes, in fact, the entire setup has been brilliantly done with great vibrancy and splendour.
- The performances of Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan and to some extent even those of Llyod Owen and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub.
- If you go with its risible flow, you’ll actually find it intriguing enough notwithstanding its humongous runtime.
Negative Points: –
- Thugs Of Hindostan is a visual spectacle but it lacks a grand storytelling to justify all the money thrown in for its making.
- Fatima Sana Sheik’s lukewarm performance and Katrina Kaif’s inconsequential appearance in the film.
- A terrible screenplay which reduces an otherwise serious plot into a farcical piece of work.
- The movie fails to highlight the real scenario of India under the British Raj. Most people, events and set-ups are glaringly concocted just for the sake of making a commercial flick.
The General Aspects: –
To be damn honest, I had the least expectation from Thugs since the trailer came out and many would concur with me. As expected it proved to be exactly what we had anticipated, a showy fest with a shallow content. No doubt this Vijay Krishna Acharya (I swear we aren’t related) directorial is a grandiloquent cinematic experience with excellent production and technical values but the same doesn’t reflect in either his screenplay or even his direction. I won’t go all critical of his work because the glorious visuals have to be attributed to him. Unlike some critics, I do not detest its VFX and I believe that they are pretty great if we keep Indian film standards and budgets in mind. Thugs being the costliest Indian movie as of 2018 has put it all to leave its audience amazed and intrigued but its thematic hollowness just backfires for it.
Thugs actually has a rich story, albeit mainstream, but what it lacks is a compelling storytelling which is lost in Acharya’s attempts to make the movie grand. It suffers from weak character developments, plot-holes and plethora of nonsensical events that lack both intelligence and credibility (the Manzoor-e-Khuda performance will be a shining example of the same along with the sequences where Britishers converse in Hindi instead of English). On top of that, his direction which clearly lacks acute insight magnifies the ludicracies of its events. Thugs’ biggest loss is, however, the apathetic treatment it gives to history and we can only be sorry that the makers couldn’t flesh out the innumerable atrocities that Indians faced under the colonial rule of the British. It’s not the artistic freedom that Acharya takes here but the inaccurate and facile portrayal of the pre-Independence era that appals the viewers. Although the songs are good, their very presence in the story is questionable for they do nothing except adding to the runtime and the idiocy of the narrative. Acharya probably forgot that he couldn’t use the same approach of filmmaking in Thugs which he incorporated for Dhoom 3 because people look for content in such kind of films and superficial extravagance is not going to help you get away with your blatant incompetent work.
With loads of talented actors including two heavyweights (Khan and Bachchan), the movie finds some solace in its acting department.
Aamir Khan as Firangi is the soul of the movie and arguably the only character which gets some proper development. He not only enacts as the swindler but even breathes in his character, giving the film all its required punches in all terms, be it action or comedy or emotions. Amitabh Bachchan doesn’t get a well-crafted character but he rises above it and gives a compulsive performance, and not to forget his contribution to the action sequences even at the age of 75! Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub may have been tad theatrical as the eccentric friend of Firangi, he is no less endearing and lovable with his comical gimmicks and his chemistry with Khan is a treat to watch. Just like Bachchan, Llyod Owen also suffers from a poorly developed character but with his acting chops, he does make the most of it. Interestingly, his dialogue delivery in Hindi is more refined than those of most mainstream non-Indian actresses and we got to appreciate his dedication to his work.
Fatima San Sheikh has her moments to shine and she does, especially in the action sequences, but for most other parts she is bland and incoherent with her overall act. Last but not the least is Katrina Kaif who’s in this movie for only a couple of songs and that’s it! She has almost no contribution to the story and the makers could have easily evaded a surplus character like hers in an already prolonged movie. Nonetheless, her dance performances are terrific and she gets to showcase some really tough moves which she does effortlessly. But that doesn’t score her acting points, do they?
Final Verdict: –
Thugs Of Hindostan is an ambitious film which is evident from its extravagant setups and overall visual grandiloquence but in most other terms it’s a sore loser. It neither does justice to its budget, its story nor the stalwart performances of its two male leads and ends up being this appallingly laughable film which is so bad that it’s good. No matter who plays what kind of role in this film, the real villain of this film is its director and writer Vijay Krishna Acharya, hands down!