As a big fan of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, I was expecting Vijay Krishna Acharya’s “Thugs of Hindostan” to be terrible in comparison. My low expectations, however, made “Thugs of Hindostan” quite entertaining. In this review, I’ll list what I liked and disliked, so you can decide if it’s worth watching for yourself!
At the dawn of the early 19thcentury, John Clive (Lloyd Owen) and his East India Company ruthlessly begin usurping Indian principalities. A rag-tag army of rebels led by Khudabaksh (Amitabh Bacchhan) and his ward Zafira (Fatima Sana Sheikh) make it their mission to overthrow the foreign powers. Firangi (Aamir Khan), a small-time conman out to make a quick buck, gets embroiled in their war to interesting and unpredictable results.
WHAT I LIKED:
- I love period films, especially those concerning the British Raj era of Indian history. Though a work of fiction, some facts are historically accurate and well-portrayed. For example, the Indianisation of many East India company employees in the period before the crown took over, through their costumes and celebration of Indian festivals.
- The story is interesting, especially in the first half.
- The acting can’t be faulted. Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bacchhan are at their seasoned best, while Fatima Sana Shaikh doesn’t disappoint. Lloyd Owen and the team of English actors also do a good job.
- The costumes are beautiful, and quite accurately display the difference between the rulers and the ruled.
- The music is foot-tapping and enjoyable, especially Katrina Kaif’s item number, “Suraiya Jaan Legi Kya”.
- The film isn’t of the fantasy genre, though its clearly inspired by successful proponents of that type. The action scenes and period cinematography are fun to watch.
WHAT I DISLIKED:
- The over-dramatization is annoying.
- The action scenes are overdone and sometimes look fake.
- The film is too long and needs to be edited more. The second half could’ve been half its length, to maintain the flavor of the first half.
- Katrina Kaif’s item numbers, though enjoyable, are completely forced. Her barely-there costumes and dance moves are far from 19thcentury reality, more in tune with current-day Bollywood!
- At the risk of sounding ageist, Amitabh Bacchhan is too old for the role he played. He’s an arresting performer, but his body language doesn’t match the daredevil stunts he performs on CGI.
- The dialogues are preachy and annoying, akin to Bollywood films from 20 years ago.
- There was one plot twist too many. If the film had been tighter and better edited, it would certainly have fared better.
With a more edited storyline and a shorter run time, the film had potential to be very good. As it stands, it’s not a good film, but the acting skills of its veteran stars, the action-packed fight scenes, and the interesting historical setting make the film a one-time watch.
I recommend it to those who enjoy entertainment for the sake of entertainment. It certainly fares better than the boring “Baazaar”, in my view (read review here).
If you don’t have the time or patience to stomach three hours of flippant amusement, watch the excellent “Badhaai Ho” instead (read review here).
Film Rating: 2.75/5