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 fast-expanding British East India Company and a band of intrepid rebels who refuse to be enslaved by a foreign power, are as flimsy as cardboard. Thugs Of Hindostan barely stays rooted long enough for those moments to make a difference.
The movie is all about Aamir’s antics. Amitabh Bachchan gets to work out some scenes, but he is also the most exasperating. Making a film based in the early 19th century doesn’t necessarily have to use ancient storytelling techniques. In the movie, there is no dearth here of cannons and guns, bows and arrow, and swords and daggers. However, the narrative weapons it presses into service are hopelessly blunt and ineffective. It tries hard to impress but hardly ever does. Thugs Of Hindostan builds up a narrative and then loses the ground. Just when you begin adjusting to one kind of tonality, it changes into another film. Holding a film together for 165-minutes is anyway a daunting task, but such big stars were expected to bring the party to us. It hasn’t happened.
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.
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....