It’s a thug life….. The curiosity of what Thugs of Hindostan entails, being a Yashraj Films production, got me to grab the first day tickets. Before I pull the movie, thread by thread, I must add that no matter what the fate of the movie, Thugs of Hindostan is an experience to live….. at the big box. Touted to be an adaptation of “Pirates of the Caribbean, it is, instead supposedly, a representation of an 1839 novel called “Confessions of a Thug”… Thug Thug and more thugs….
The movie begins with Ronit Roy opening the shots as King Mirza of Raunakpur. As he is slandered by the British General Clive, enters Khudabaksh, the body guard, Amitabh Bachchan, who enters in the nick of time and rides the King’s daughter Zafira, to safety. Though his entry comes early in the movie, I expected it to be a tad bit grander! Moving on, fast forward 11 years…. Clive appoints a greedy vagabond, the thug, Firangi Malla, aka Aamir Khan ( well, because i’m still reeling under the effects of This Desi Jack Sparrow), to help capture Khudabaksh, now Azad.
One waist gyrating antic displaying song ( enter Katrina Kaif as Suraiyya, the renowned dancer), some comic relief and dramatic re-introduction of Amitabh Bachchan and Fatima Sheikh, Zafira, later as thugs…. poof…. Aamir Khan and AB (The Thugs of Hindustan) in the same frame…. finally! Believe you me this was one moment I had to hold myself from whistling to.
The fight against the nasty General Clive, played by Lloyd Owen, ending in freedom of Raunakpur, well played, but still left reminiscences of our favourite Pirate. Whether Firangi really does join Azad as a comrade or is he living the thug life? The movie plays with that psyche. Firangi is a friend….Firangi is a foe… at least that keeps you on the edge.
Amitabh Bachchan, delivers what is expected from him…. perfection in his baritone, intense eye contacts and quiet, yet at times menacing. Though at times, seemed over laden with piles of clothes… but when it’s AB, we don’t mind anything. The bottom line…. he is superlative, but obviously. I only wish we heard him a tad more in the movie….
Aamir Khan is perfectly smoothly blended into the depiction of Firangi Malla…. shameless, straight forward, funny at the same time. His dialogues delivered as a matter of factly, somewhere you see him as just the person who could win the next elections (hic hic). His bashful admittance of his charm, is subtle which makes him endearing. The nose pin? It looked better on him than it does on me!
Fatima Sana Sheikh surprised pleasantly with her antics as Zafira, but obviously, being clubbed with one stalwart and against the other, she stood an even lesser chance… but manages to just about sail through. Her acting prowess isn’t much to talk about… she is there, that is all.
Lloyd Owen, is the dishy, groovy, handsome British General, Clive… convincing as the ruthless conniving officer. I must give him due credit for delivery of dialogues in Hindi! Well played, well delivered. But why did he need to deliver in Hindi again?? Subtitles could suffice!
Katrina Kaif? Maybe she didn’t need to be there at all…. the scenes including her were well…. forced, because, of course it’s Katrina Kaif! Given some very tribal moves through her dance sequences, she does excel there and looks absolutely ravishing (her lip job shown to prominence)…. her workout pays off!
One actor who stood out amongst the powerful first cast, is Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, who plays the role of Shanichar Prasad, Firangi Malla’s trusted friend. He shines as an actor with power of dialogue and expression delivery, he is spontaneous and adds to the comic relief alongside Aamir Khan… not a small feat to achieve, but Mohammed does it with elan! He is the newbie to watch out for!
Others who added to the pot boiler are the very talented Ila Arun, though wasted in this one… Gaven Marshall, does an excellent job of dialogue deliverance.
The sets are awe striking, well co-ordinated and sequenced, at times missing the realism….. but that can be overlooked as the movie is a fictitious representation of ‘thugs’ of India blending with pre-independence struggle. Director Vijay Krishna Acharya, has tried to cash in on the ‘hindustani’ bit, which he might successfully achieve to a certain extent, but fails to build a strong story around it. But i’d give him an extra point, just because he brought AB and AK together!
This larger than life, at times comical depiction of the thugs, a little over the top with the action sequences, Thugs of Hindostan, is a one time watch…. just for the fact that Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan come together on screen for the very first time. Their shots together, may go down in the history of Indian cinema, but the movie could have made some more use of these two actors par excellence!
The Real Thugs!
“Thugs of Hindostan” were no criminals, but a Kali-worshipping tribe, which lived in the jungles of India. During the British colonialism, the latter wanted to destroy the jungles of this tribe to occupy the land. Facing resistance from the tribe, the Britishers took measures to project the “thugees” as criminals through “atrocity literature”.