Critic's Rating: 2.5/5
Thugs of Hindostan Story: After the British company’s officer Clive (Lloyd Owen) takes over the kingdom of Mirza (Ronit Roy), princess Zafira (Fatima Sana Shaikh) and Khudabaksh aka Azaad (Amitabh Bachchan) form a band of rebel pirates who swear to defeat the English officer and win their freedom back. The British Company in return, hire the wily thug Firangi (Aamir Khan) to track Azaad’s gang and thwart his plans.
Thugs of Hindostan Review: Action, adventure and fantasy is a genre that you associate with Hollywood’s big-ticket movies. So to watch India’s answer to films like 'Pirates Of The Caribbean', at the onset seemed like a novel experience. While 'Thugs Of Hindostan' has the aspirations to be a big-budget entertainer, it can’t quite emulate the same thrills of a Johnny Depp swashbuckler. In all fairness, despite the lacklustre writing, the film does manage to look and feel like a top-grade adventure film. It certainly looks like a million bucks, sadly it doesn’t feel the same way. The story begins in the late 1700s, where a conniving British officer named Clive deceives the honest king Mirza and dupes him off his family, life and kingdom. The young princess Zafira is the only one who escapes, along with the king's trusted guard Khudabaksh, and many years later they form a gang of pirates who are also goodfellas. Their only mission is to get their kingdom free from Clive and his company rule. 'Thugs Of Hindostan' is based during the East India Company’s rule in India, when the British used their trading position to dominate India’s princely states. But the fact that the heroes of this tale are pirates, doesn’t quite fit into the Indian context, given that Indians never gained notoriety as pirates. The Maratha navy under leaders like Kanhoji Angre did gain bandit status during the 1700s, but 'Thugs Of Hindostan' (TOH) doesn’t look like it’s based out of coastal regions of the country. Historical inaccuracy aside, 'TOH' is an adventure movie and you need cinematic liberty to setup a swashbuckling story. While the production design by Sumit Basu and cinematography by Manush Nandan are excellent, the predictable nature of the writing by writer / director Vijay Krishna Acharya doesn’t help the movie at all. You can guess every plot development and the fact that the movie doesn’t throw up a single good surprise or twist, just rocks the boat. The tedious screenplay features scenes that are too prolonged and over dramatic, that’s why the movie feels like it's always on choppy waters. Another disappointing aspect of the movie is the music by Ajay-Atul, that doesn't add to the narrative. While the individual performances by Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan are noteworthy, the rest of the cast just never comes together. Aamir excels in the physical comedy and banter, while Mr Bachchan pulls-off the heroics and the intense dialogues well, but the rest of the cast isn't able to rally up any serious effort. Katrina Kaif is limited to two songs and a few lines of dialogue, while Fatima Sana Shaikh is left at the mercy of some badly choreographed action sequences. Apart from the stray funny moments and consistently good visuals (thanks to decent CGI efforts), 'TOH' doesn’t really have the punch or the thrill that is required to pull off a film of this scale. At 2 hours and 45 minutes, the film feels a little too long and that’s down to the problematic editing. The grand canvas of the film does hold sway in terms of the visual experience, but at the end, this one is all show and no substance. With the mammoth expectations attached to this movie, the end experience just leaves you all at sea.