Image Source: Yash Raj Films
Writer-Director: Vijay Krishna Acharya
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Katrina Kaif
The first thing that came into my mind after watching Thugs Of Hindostan (TOH) is why did Aamir Khan decide to do this film? Aamir Khan, one of the best actors who gave Indian cinema movies like Dangal, Rang De Basanti, Lagaan, Sarfarosh, 3 Idiots, Taare Zameen Par with his impeccable performances, and how can the same actor choose a script like Thugs Of Hindostan?
I know Aamir is not to be blamed for a flawed script or storytelling, but over the years, he has set the benchmark of his movies so high, with choosing only the best narrative, it seems strange that he gave TOH a go. There was hardly anything going on for the film and it’s the weakest movie of Aamir Khan I have seen in years.
The biggest problem with Thugs Of Hindostan is its screenplay. On paper, the story is not bad: a group of thugs facing the giant English empire. But writing the characters, scenes and their chemistry were the most crucial tasks and writer Vijay Krishna Acharya fails at those. The character of Aamir Khan named Firangi lacked the zeal and fun.
Understand this, Firangi is an extremely talkative guy so if his dialogues are not going to be hilarious, all the scenes with him will be boring and that’s what happened with Firangi. Initially, it was really fun but then, Firangi’s long punches bore you out with no comic soul attached to it.
As a director too, Acharya didn’t do justice to Aamir Khan’s comic potential. You watch Rang De Basanti, Andaz Apna Apna or 3 Idiots, you will laugh your heart out, but in Thugs Of Hindostan, you just feel irritated with Firangi’s constant babbling.
I do appreciate the scenes between Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan in the first half, wherein their extreme nature of characters make some strong dialogues and powerful context. However, that small time is not enough to save this lengthy movie.
Another flaw of Acharya as a writer and director is Zafira’s character. There was so much scope to show her fierceness as an archer but there’s hardly any core strength displayed on her part. She constantly gets overshadowed by either Khudabaksh or Firangi. Even Zafira’s chemistry and scenes with Firangi lacked the depth.
Vijay Krishna Acharya has a knack for grand set up. Not that there’s anything wrong with it but he seems more interested in visuals than story. Thugs Of Hindostan may be visually good (not great) but all that is in vain when your storytelling ability falters. I have watched enough Aamir Khan films to know what kind of supreme potential he has, to do any kind of scene and roles. Acharya just doesn’t give him that persona in Thugs Of Hindostan. The Firangi character overall lacks the passion, enthusiasm and hilarity.
I say this again, when you watch Rang De Basanti or 3 Idiots, that comic timing of Aamir naturally gives you a sense of laughter. I didn’t see that in Thugs Of Hindostan at all. The entire plot and its working were predictable and dull.
Performance wise, Amitabh Bachchan is the biggest takeaway from Thugs Of Hindostan. He holds the role of Khudabaksh strongly and feels absolutely powerful as the commander. Amitabh has the weight in his voice and has authoritative presence. He gives seriousness to the film.
Like I said before, Aamir Khan has set such gigantic benchmarks over the years through his previous films that his performance in Thugs Of Hindostan becomes mediocre. Don’t get me wrong; he does well as Firangi but it just doesn’t feel like his true potential. I can’t blame this entirely on director, Aamir himself also could have done a lot better. Bringing the comic timing to the role and scenes is actor’s responsibility. Aamir was just not up to the mark. He is way better than that.
Fatima Sana Shaikh in Dangal was flawless but in Thugs Of Hindostan, she couldn’t deliver the role properly. I thought she was too obvious and her act was not as smooth as one would have expected.
The background score as well as songs miss the mark. In fact, songs stretched the movie for 15-20 minutes pointlessly.
Big doesn’t necessarily mean good. Thugs Of Hindostan is the latest example of that. Grandness in experience maybe exciting to witness but without a good story and direction, a movie can never become interesting.