Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Katrina and Fatima in Thugs Of Hindostan (Courtesy: Instagram)
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif and Fatima Sana Shaikh
Director: Vijay Krishna Acharya
Rating: 2.5 Stars (out of 5)
Big, bloated, bombastic, Thugs of Hindostan is a period saga that banks solely upon action and spectacle for impact. The characters that populate it are, like the thousand ships that the film launches in the service of a bitter early 19th century battle between the British East India Company and a band of rebels who refuse to be enslaved by a foreign power, are as flimsy as cardboard. A gravelly-voiced Amitabh Bachchan and a puckish Aamir Khan bring everything that they have – the combined weight of the two superstars is undeniably significant – to the table but director Vijay Krishna Acharya's screenplay and the film's big-budget veneer lack the solidity to guide this overwrought vessel out of the deep waters.
Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan in Thugs Of Hindostan (Image courtesy: Instagram/tohthefilm)
Bachchan plays Khudabaksh Jahaazi, a patriot who marshalls his people against a tyrannical British officer named Clive (Lloyd Owen). Aamir slips into the skin of a shifty Firangi Mallah, a mercenary who thinks nothing of repeatedly switching sides for a few guineas more. Both actors are required to tilt heavily towards the excessive – the former is overly stuffy; the latter is a comic conman who has to resort to runaway methods to raise a few laughs.
The girls in this universe inevitably play second fiddle although Fatima Sana Sheikh, in the guise of Zarifa, whose father, Mirza Sikander Beg (Ronit Roy), is killed by Clive before she finds protection under the wings of Khudabaksh, does have a few scenes in which she comes into her own. In contrast, Katrina Kaif, cast as dancing girl Suraiyya, is used primarily to liven up the song and dance routines.
Impressively mounted but caught between solemnity and fluffiness, Thugs of Hindostan might entertain large swathes of the audience, but it is ultimately too tacky and unconvincing to lay legitimate claims to being India's answer to Pirates of the Caribbean.
(This is a short review. Please check again in some time for the full review).