Yash Raj Films' ambitious drama, Thugs of Hindostan, directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, is a tedious, laborious watch, one that reaches such bizarre levels of absurdity, you wonder if the film is a parody of itself.
From Amitabh Bachchan, who plays a rebellious pirate determined to free India from the clutches of the British Empire, to Aamir Khan, a manipulative, self-seeking character that largely draws from the eccentricities of captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Carribbean universe, there's nothing original or exciting about Thugs of Hindostan, a vanity project that tries to cash in on the profitable wave triggered by the Baahubali movies.
The movie, set in 1857, has a narrative style reminiscent of tropes used in embarrassing movies from '80s Bollywood—villains seen through silhouettes, overdramatic background score, random one-liners with even more random metaphors and an omnipresent spooky eagle. This feels like a recycled version of every bad movie you've ever seen.
Certain scenes make you wonder if the movie is in on the joke or whether it actually merits some serious thinking from the viewer's perspective. Is Bachchan's character being sarcastic or serious after being rescued from his deathbed? Did these guys just perform an elaborate dance number in a bid to overthrow the vile British empire by guilt-tripping them? Does the humour in Khan's character come from self-awareness, in the sense that he's slyly taking a dig at himself for signing up for this film? Why, given the current conversation and a justified demand for well-fleshed out roles for women, is Katrina Kaif's midriff given more prominence than her character arc?
The only thing more superficial than Kaif's dialogue delivery in Thugs is the film's VFX. And that's saying a lot about the film's special effects, or the lack of them. Why do we constantly set ourselves such lofty standards despite the resources? If our country's best studio can only produce this quality of VFX...