Banner: Yash Raj Films
Producer: Aditya Chopra
Director: Vijay Krishna Acharya
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Fatima Sana Sheikh, Katrina Kaif, Lloyd Owen, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub, Ronit Roy
Writer: Vijay Krishna Acharya
Thugs Of Hindostan is a period film set in the East India Company era. With a stellar cast and as a product from the YRF banner, the movie seemed to check all the right boxes as a complete entertainer. But all that glitters is not gold, not even during Diwali. The movie, which promised to be the ideal festival family entertainer packed with action, emotion, drama and romance, is an all-out disappointment in every department of filmmaking.
The year is 1795. Mirza Sikandar Baig, the ruler of Raunakpur, has managed to keep his kingdom safe from the rule of the East India Company. John Clive is the face of the company and he is determined to usurp every single piece of land for the company. When his diplomacy fails, Clive holds Mirza’s son Aslam hostage, and in exchange for his life, he captures Raunakpur. But the deceitful man kills Mirza, his wife and Aslam. Zafira, the daughter, too would have been murdered if not for the timely arrival of Khudabaksh, the loyal commander of Raunakpur.
Eleven years pass and Khudabaksh is now Azaad, a rebel who along with a now grown-up Zafira and a band of soldiers are in hiding, while they continue their fight against the British. Clive and his men are desperate to lay their hands on Azaad, but he continues to elude them. So they decide to hire the services of Firangi, an ass-riding, flute-playing, scoundrel.
Firangi is without a conscience and he worships only wealth. In exchange for a promise of land and money, Firangi along with his friend Shanichar heads out to find Azaad and his gang. As luck would have it, he succeeds in not only finding Azaad but also becomes a part of the rebel army. When opportunity strikes, Firangi traps Azaad and his people, and Azaad sacrifices his life to save Zahira.
Does Firangi realise his mistake? Is Zahira able to take revenge on Clive? Are the British defeated by the ‘Thugs’? That is what the rest of the story is all about.
Written and directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, Thugs Of Hindostan must have been a very ambitious project on paper. The canvas of the story is vast, and the setting perfect for a dramatic and high-octane film. A revenge saga works when there are interesting twists and turns in the plot. But the screenplay of this film falls short. The treatment of the characters and the premises don’t do anything to elevate the film. The overall look of the film does not match its period setting and the grandeur that one would expect from a film like this is also missing.
The action sequences have been shot well, but when the story is weak, there is only so much that visual appeal can do. Another important aspect of any film is music. Except for Manzoor-e-khuda, none of the tracks is memorable. The background score is impressive in parts, especially during the fights and action scenes.
Performance-wise, Amitabh Bachchan as Khudabaksh/Azaad is vintage Big B, the one we have seen in fantasy-action capers. He is the larger-than-life aspect of Thugs Of Hindostan and it is indeed a delight to watch him.
Aamir Khan as Firangi is probably one of his weakest written roles. But he manages to do a good job of what he has been given. He brings out the humour element in the film. His chemistry with Mr Bachchan works for the most part. Fatima Sana Sheikh doesn’t suit the character and fails to deliver. Katrina Kaif looks beautiful but that’s about it. Lloyd Owen as John Clive is convincingly evil. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub plays Shanichar. He has some funny scenes with Aamir Khan and is quite a delight to watch. Ronit Roy as Mirza Sikandar Baig is decent.