“Thugs of Hindostan”… A dull attempt at a masala potboiler that hopes star power will trump the script

Posted on November 9, 2018


Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/thugs-of-hindostan-movie-review-aamir-khan-amitabh-bachchan-katrina-kaif-baradwaj-rangan

There are three words in the title of Vijay Krishna Acharya’s new film, and at least two of them are wrong. Unless you count a small band of thuggees, who rob and kill travellers, the film has  no “thugs”. Aamir Khan’s Firangi Mallah is more of a stool pigeon, who earns a living by passing information to the British. (The film is set in the early 19th century.) Khudabaksh Azaad, played by Amitabh Bachchan, is more of a warrior-guardian. His mission is to protect Zafira (Fatima Sana Shaikh), a former princess who seeks revenge on a British officer named Clive (Lloyd Owen), who wiped out her family. Fast-forward this story — a woman on a mission, aided by two men (one of whom is a rogue) — to the early 2000s, and we get another Aamir Khan starrer: Mela. In other words, Thugs of Hindostan gives, of all people, Dharmesh Darshan cause to say “I got there first.” Whatever next? An update of Raja Hindustani, set in the pre-Christian era, with Aamir Khan playing a donkey driver?

No, wait. That’s here, too. Firangi Mallah does get around on an ass, named Nawab. In the film’s closing portions, there’s talk of moving to Calcutta. I wondered if a name change was in order for Nawab: Bray of Bengal. What’s that? I’ve meandered from my original aim of explaining why this film’s title is misleading? Forgive me. It must be the screenplay’s influence. So what’s the problem with “Hindostan”? Just that the action is centred on the kingdom of Raunakpur. It’s not as though the film traverses from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Gujarat to Bengal (though, as we have discussed, Calcutta is name-dropped), amassing “thugs” along the way. Yes, I admit Random Rebels in Raunakpur doesn’t quite have the stentorian ring of Thugs of Hindostan — still, one must strive for truth in advertising. Look at Katrina Kaif, for instance. Has she ever tried to sell herself as anything but the Indo-Brit that she is? Whether playing Meera Thapar in Jab Tak Hai Jaan or Supriya Menon in Balram vs Tharadas, she makes sure we know she’s just hopped off an intercontinental flight. That explains the audience’s trust in her. We know she will never deceive us by slipping into character. She will always be Katrina Kaif.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Hindi