Thugs of Hindostan Movie Review: Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif's Pirate Saga Needed Less of Jack Sparrow Buffoonery and More of Amitabh Bachchan Badassery
Thugs of Hindostan Movie Review

A scene in Thugs of Hindostan has Amitabh Bachchan pull a heavy log across the ground, during which Aamir Khan joins him in sharing the burden. Intentionally or unintentionally, director Vijay Krishna Acharya, of Dhoom 3 and Tashan fame, made this scene a metaphor for the entire movie. Where a badass Bachchan Saab and an extremely earnest Aamir Khan drag the burden of a contrite screenplay to take Thugs of Hindostan to its finishing point, as they try their best to stay afloat in troubled waters. If there is an award for the biggest disappointment of the year award, there is a high chance that this pirate saga will get nominated. Even if Aamir Khan has no interest in awards!

At some point in the 19th century, a kingdom in India, under the rule of Mirza (Ronit Roy), is usurped by an East India Company commander Clive (Lloyd Owen), who kills off the ruler and most of his family members. Only his young daughter Zafira survives, saved in a timely fashion by the kingdom's general Khudabaksh (Amitabh Bachchan). Years later, Zafira (Fatima Sana Shaikh) has grown up to be a fierce warrior under the tutelage of Khudabaksh, now going by the name Azad. Together, along with their dedicated band of Thugs, they take on the British and steal their ships. Thugs of Hindostan: Fans Are Unhappy With High Ticket Prices for Aamir Khan's Film; Call The Makers the Real  Thugs - Read Tweets.

To tackle Azad, Clive's right-hand man sends a treacherous scoundrel Firangi Malla (Aamir Khan) to infiltrate into Azad's thugs. Firangi manages to do that, winning both Azad and Zafira's trust, only to pull the rug from under their feet. And ours too! Again and again and again! That has to be blamed on whoever penned this boring, empty, and contrived screenplay. Which happened to be the director himself.

Like the Thugs in the film, the lack of a good, engaging story loots whatever little novelty the movie has, when it comes to its genre and its set-pieces. Borrowing liberally from a lot of movies, Kranti and Avatar included, and devoid of any kind of originality, the 'inspiration' bogs down Thugs of Hindostan heavily to the point of that it becomes a chore to watch the rest of the film, when we know exactly how it will end. Sure, the film may have a period setting, but what was the need to borrow ideas from movies that belong to the '80s? There is even a scene near the climax where the villain sits on a throne, while the leading ladies dance for him. A couple of huge twists, including the 'death' of a major character, do shock but on the hindsight, makes little sense. It also shows that the writer in Acharya didn't have the guts to create some very strong moments for the characters' fates. Thugs of Hindostan Box Office: Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan's Magnum Opus Gets 7000 Screens Worldwide; Over Two Lakh Tickets Sold in Advance Bookings.

Another big drawback of the film is Aamir Khan's character. Whether the makers or the star himself want to admit it or not, his Firangi is clearly inspired by Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean series, right from his treacherous side to his mannerisms to the multiple slaps he gets from the leading ladies. It's another matter that neither the director nor the writers have an inkling of what makes Jack Sparrow tick and how his double-faced heroism feels so convincing.

Instead, they make Firangi switch sides so many times, like Aamir's wavering accent, in the film that he ends up being a joke. Not a convincing one, though. And each time he ends up switching sides, it also adds five more minutes of cholesterol to the narrative. Till the end, we are not sure what to make of this dude. Is he a hero or a wimp? No, the doubt has nothing to with mystery of his character, it has more to do with how unconvincing the writing is.

Unfortunately, like Ila Arun (wasted)'s kinda creepy character, Thugs of Hindostan is obsessed with Aamir's starry charms so much, that it painfully pushes two of the comparatively better characters in Azad and Zafira outside the arena most of the times. The movie gets some life when the spotlight shines on these two and they also get some of the best action scenes, especially the first Thug fight. Sadly, if you are in for some impressive ocean-warfare, Thugs has disappointing less to offer in that aspect. The VFX is very inconsistent (at times the warfare impresses and then at another point, we feel like we are watching wooden toy boats in action). Thugs of Hindostan Music Review: Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Katrina Kaif's Film Deserves a More Epic Score.

Thugs of Hindostan scores big in the technical areas, save for the loathsome editing. The cinematography by Manush Nandan is glossy enough to make the film look appealing. Special mention must also be given to the action choreography, the costume and the production design. The locations of Malta add a unique charm to the milieu. Ajay-Atul's music is disappointing, though, except for Vashmalle. The background score by John Stewart Eduri, though, impresses.

Watch the trailer of Thugs of Hindostan here - 

The Performances

While he appeases the front-benchers, Aamir Khan is just about okay as the discount Jack Sparrow. Major blame should go on the writing for the character, that even Aamir's perfectionist touches couldn't rectify. Amitabh Bachchan, on the other hand, is very impressive and stands tall even when the narrative lies like a rubble around him. He is a delight to watch in the action scenes, looking a total badass. However, if you are looking for some powerful combo scenes between Aamir and Amitabh (working for the first time together), disappointment stares at you once again. Save for a fight near the interval, there is nothing much to say about their combined scenes, while their bonding looks forced.

Between the two leading ladies, it's only Fatima Sana Shaikh who makes some sort of impact, especially when she is in the middle of the action. Her character is the crux of the movie, which the makers tend to forget often. However, her 'will they, won't they' relationship with Firangi feels awkward, considering the senior actor played her father in Dangal.

Fans of Katrina Kaif would be truly disappointed, as the actress has barely anything to do in the film except appear in a couple of songs and flirt with the leading man. While she is an exceptional dancer, Katrina's role qualifies for a mere cameo and her accent is quite jarring in the period setting. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, who is Gibbs to Aamir's Sparrow, is really good. Lloyd Owen is merely passable as the one-dimensional villain, seen in British uniform but possesses the spirit of Amrish Puri from Tridev.

Yay!

- Amitabh Bachchan

- The action scenes, mostly

- The background score

- The set-pieces

Nay!

- Inconsistent writing

- Editing

- No new story to say

- Aamir's contrived character

- Katrina fans will be disappointed

Final Thoughts

Thugs of Hindostan has everything going for it - a dazzling starcast, grand scale and the backing of a big production house (Yash Raj Films). While the makers did do a good job of making the film a grand spectacle, they failed to invest some time and money in creating a good story arc around the explosions. Thugs of Hindostan will disappoint you and even Mr Perfectionist, Aamir Khan, can do little to change this!

Rating:2out of 5