Social media was brutal on Thugs of Hindostan. Memes and messages ridiculing the movie flooded Twitter and Facebook timelines. Bad word-of-mouth has hit the movie hard.
Bollywood’s big Diwali release Thugs of Hindostan set a new box office record for highest ever first-day collection. The movie opened to a mammoth total of Rs 52.25 crore across three languages (Hindi, Tamil and Telugu). The Aamir Khan-Amitabh Bachchan starrer smashed the earlier record held by Salman Khan’s Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo which amassed Rs 40 crores on its first day. Salman’s movie was also a Diwali release. Another movie that got Rs 40 crore opening on first day of its release was Baahubali 2: The Conclusion’s Hindi version.
But the Vijay Krishna Acharya directed film saw a close to 50% dip on its second day and could only earn Rs 29.25 crore. This took the film’s total collection to Rs 81.50 crore, a good, great number for just the second day but the despite this massive collection figure the film getting bad reviews not just from critics but from movie goers and even a layman, and it has started to impact its business as well.
Taran Adarsh, Movie Trade analyst, tweeted, “And the DECLINE begins… #ThugsOfHindostan slips on Day 2, facing a fall during #Diwali holidays… Mass belt / single screens are holding better, but the cracks are already showing at plexes… Day 3 [Sat] and Day 4 [Sun] are extremely crucial… #TOH”
And the DECLINE begins… #ThugsOfHindostan slips on Day 2, facing a fall during #Diwali holidays… Mass belt / single screens are holding better, but the cracks are already showing at plexes… Day 3 [Sat] and Day 4 [Sun] are extremely crucial… #TOH
— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) November 10, 2018
He also tweeted, “#ThugsOfHindostan has to show a positive upturn on Day 3 [today], else its sustainability from Day 5 [Mon] onwards will be extremely doubtful… One thing is crystal clear: #TOH has NOT met the monumental expectations… The BO numbers are doing the talking now.”
#ThugsOfHindostan has to show a positive upturn on Day 3 [today], else its sustainability from Day 5 [Mon] onwards will be extremely doubtful… One thing is crystal clear: #TOH has NOT met the monumental expectations… The BO numbers are doing the talking now.
— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) November 10, 2018
Even though the film has now crossed 100 crores, the massive decline in its numbers is too glaring to be overlooked.
— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) November 11, 2018
Yash Raj Film’s festive release Thugs of Hindostan opened with largely negative reviews from critics. Shubhra Gupta, Indian Express film critic, in her review, lambasted the film saying, “With two big marquee names, Amitabh and Aamir, coming together for the first time, the screen should have crackled but there is not even a flicker. What you get instead is nothing but a massive cherry-picking enterprise from big entertainers of the past, many of them YRF’s own. Not only do you end up picking up on past films, scenes and references, you are left struggling with staleness and boredom. The writing is shockingly pedestrian.”
Social media was brutal on Thugs of Hindostan. Memes and messages ridiculing the movie flooded Twitter and Facebook timelines. Bad word-of-mouth has hit the movie and Aamir Khan’s image of being Mr. perfectionist has taken a severe jolt. His last outing with the same director and producers, Dhoom-3, was dissed by critics as well but it had its glorious moments and Aamir’s sincere efforts together with some edgy chase sequences saved the day for him.
Thugs of Hindostan marked the coming together of two of the biggest superstars Bollywood has ever seen. Amitabh Bachchan defined superstardom and was monumental in single-handedly changing the course of Indian cinema in the 70s and 80s.
On the hand, Aamir Khan carved a niche for himself by featuring in entertaining and socially relevant films that wowed both critics and the audiences alike. From Rang De Basanti to Dangal, Khan’s filmography boasts off some the best plot-driven Hindi films in the recent times. Thugs of Hindostan crushed under the weight of expectations that comes with these two stalwarts of Bollywood.
We look at what went wrong for this Yash Raj film, dissecting its (glaring) loopholes.
Acting, or lack of it
It is unprecedented that one needs to discuss about the “acting” department in a film that has Khan and Bachchan. They are too big to fail, but they have failed and how! The script gives both of them enough screen time, at the cost of other characters but they fail to make the most of it. Khan’s Firangi and Bachchan’s Khudabaksh looks like character straight from bad revenge saga from 70s. Bachchan shows sparks here and there, but he looks like a sad version of his younger self from the last century. Audiences are unable to see the fierceness that was the hallmark of his “angry-young-man” avatar.
Khan’s Firangi is just busy with an (over) act that never moves beyond childish dialogue-delivery feast. Firangi comes across as a Kohl-eyed manic which exhausts the audience with some naive dialogues. A chemistry, like the one we saw with Shah Rukh and Bachchan in Karan Johar’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, between the two megastars is also missing. Film’s female characters are Katrina Kaif and Fatima Sana Shaikh have little to do. While Shaikh does have some gritty action sequences and Katrina excels in her dance numbers, they have too little to do when it comes to ‘acting’, Khan remains the highlight throughout.
Khan and Bachchan’s expressions are overburdened by elaborately made-up faces. The film never recovers from this shock.
Logic, historical accuracy and originality in plot are not Bollywood’s forte, lets accept that. But to expect at least some sanity is not too much to ask for. When you pay money for a film, you expect it to be somewhere close to logic. No, we did not go to watch Thugs of Hindostan to get a coaching class on British rule in India, their battles with the cult of Thugs in the 1830s and how they wiped it. No one either cared why they named the film’s antagonist Clive, even though the film’s action take place in 1806 while Clive of India passed away in 1774.
No one would have cared, No. But unfortunately, viewers get so bored by this close to three hours long yawn-fest that they end up noticing these errors. For example how on Earth a landlocked Raunakpur in Thugs of Hindostan is shown having a coastline! How can Indians just blend with British by putting up a blonde wig, really! Why are Britishers talking in caricaturish Hinglish among themselves. Why, pray why?
Copied… err, Inspired
Thugs of Hindostan looks highly inspired by Hollywood’s Pirates of the Caribbean series. The movie is set against the backdrop of early days of the British rule in India. Khan plays a character of a con named Firangi which looks borrowed from Johnny Depp’s Jack Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean series. A two-faced man, a trickster who is kohl-eyed, wears a nose pin and has ear piercing and betrays other characters when least expected. He has dual personality and uses others for personal motives. These idiosyncrasies look more sparrowish than Firangi’s. Khan does try hard to be comical but lacks the much needed subtlety and charm that Depp portrayed in Pirates series. Firangi is nowhere close to Jack, No.
Some viewers have even pointed to similarities between fatima’s character Zafira and Elf Legolas from Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogy by Peter Jackson. It had similar braids, was a proficient archer had pouty lips and was a great acrobate. The final sequence on the two fighting ships also looks similar to the third Pirate movie.
During promotions, the film went on a marketing spree and created quite a storm. The film has a huge and awe inspiring canvas but misses a basic ingredient – a coherent plot. Film’s screenplay was undercooked storyline had many loopholes and editing was not good to say the least. Vijaya Krishna Acharya is know for his action packed-direction, there is a certain pace that we see in his Dhoom series. But that was missing in here. Dialogues are largely forgettable.
Storytelling on celluloid is a craft but it looks compromised to fit in the demands of a big-budget production and director has tried to fit in borrowed themes like visual appeal and action sequences in the narrative. Emotional intensity of characters which is needed to establish a connect with audience has gone missing under the weight sumptuous wardrobe and VFX shots. Film’s soundtrack by Ajay-Atul and the background score is also not noteworthy.
Overall, the film is high on budget and less on entertainment quotient. Business and creative sense want it to be the other way round, like we see in film’s like Andhadhun and Stree. The film is a warning to big bollywood studios. They can’t take audiences for granted, not anymore.