About 20 minutes into Thugs of Hindostan, the best actor of the movie appears. It's an orangutan Khudabaksh and you do not dare to drop the bird just because the computer is generated.
Eagle enters Aamir Khan and saves the day more often than Firangi. He has more time on screen than Katrina Kaif, one of the heroines of the movie. There are more emotions in the eagles' flamboyant cries than on the face of Amitabh Bachchan, which is mostly dampened with fabric and false beard. While the oracle communicates emotions like worry and victory, the only thing that is biased and firm with Bachchan's face is Kaif's stomach.
The real discovery of the Hindostan robbers was not to have earned Rs 50 crore in one day. Although this is a stunning figure, it makes sense when you think of the Khan and Bachchan fans and follow them and keep in mind that it feels like age, as we have a real masseuse blockbuster in theaters. Just like the 45% decline in collections on the day two also makes sense – it's hard to imagine someone being disappointed by the Thugs of Hindostan.
The most subtle cut that the film brings is that two of Bollywood's best-known actors are not too big to succeed. One thing the audience needs to expect from Khan and Bachchan starrer is good action. So, of course, the scenario of terrorist Hindostani neglects every other figure to celebrate Firangi (Khana) and Khudabaksh (Bachchan). When even the glitter of Khan's and Bachchan's stars of power can not get out of their neatly-formed faces, it's a blow from which the movie can not recover.
Khanov Firangi exhausts the viewer with his excessive and verbal diarrhea. In addition to Khan's manic, facing look, Bachchan looks rough and exhausted. His Khudabaksh is in such fierce new battery needs that he can barely move his lips to talk. It is tempting to imagine the Thugs of Hindostans with two actors who are not so bad about it. Small chemistry and energy might just have led the audience to lose in Technicolor's laughter, excellent design of production, and (mostly) smooth visual effects.
When you buy a ticket for a Bollywood movie, you and your coin spend the expectations of logic, historical accuracy and originality in the country. Which means no one is watching the Thugs of Hindustan expecting a collision on how the British eradicated Thuggee in the 1830s (some academics believe the robbers were a British invention). No one would have raised an eyebrow in the movie of a villain named Clive and most of the action held in 1806 (Clive of India died in 1774). Few would worry that Khan's Firangi and the hijackers were to steal the ship, so that the Hindustan bullies would look like fanatics Pirates of the Caribbean. Those who noticed the similarities between Zafire and Legolas from the trilogy of Lord of the Rings of Peter Jacks (Checkout, Checkout, Checkout, Pouty Lips: Check, Acrobatics: Check) might have even glimpsed a little louder as one of the few surprises of the movie.
Unfortunately, when you're bored out of your art instead of having fun, you'll finally notice what's being striking.
For example, how does Raunakpur appear in the Hindustan bandits as a map, but has a coastline that could (and is) a right from Malta? Why did the two Englishmen speak in Hindi one another? Who are these Indians who are supposed to fit into a multitude of white English people by putting (bad) blue wigs? Why would Khudabaksh entrust the protection of the person who loved him to the man he just discovered was a traitor? How is Dussehra's celebration in Raunakpur so much so that they return to the future to Himmatwala in 1983? Is the fact – the SPOILER ALERT – that the bad guy gets his arrival from the girl compensate for how little time is given to the women of the characters in the Thugs of Hindostan and the fact that four times Kaif is on the screen, the camera focuses on her torso?
Before you know it, there are more questions than popcorn and while the popcorn gets more, the movie does not.
First published: November 10, 2018 23:12 IST