In the 18th century, the British East India Company is pitted against Khudabaksh, a "Thug of the Seas" fighting to liberate his country. The English, not knowing how to defeat him, call on a talented con artist, Firangi Mallah.
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The movie is set in 1795 and follows a gang of thugs who aspire to free Hindostan from the British Empire. A small-time thug is then sent by British commander John Clive to infiltrate the gang and counter their threat.
Went in with lowered expectations based on the negative reviews but found myself entertained and somewhat baffled, at least until the intermission.
Baffled because contrary to what I was expecting, Aamir did not come across as a desi caricature of Jack Sparrow, Big B did not look comical playing such a role at his age, the plot, although unoriginal, was neither illogical nor confusing, the VFX, while inconsistent, was not "competing with playstation 2" and the pacing was rather swift. Entertained because the set and sound design were epic, at least by Bollywood standards, the somewhat corny but emotional scenes and dialogues were satisfying and the action sequences were convincingly choreographed.
Having said this, the movie has it's flaws and takes a bit of a nose dive in the second half. Character development, in such a lengthy movie, is lacking and the sloppy editing in the second half of the movie takes a toll on the viewers. Some inexplicable annoyances such as the Britisher's torturous accents, the Falcon's refusal to once land on Big B's forearm (lol) and the casting director's decision to include a very dull and unlikable actor such as Zeeshan Ayyub take away from an otherwise entertaining package. Katrina, who ain't no Smita Patil when it comes to actings chops, plays the eye candy role well, in all but the 2.5 times we get to see her. Big B, while too wooden most of the times, bar when he abruptly becomes light-footed after a drink, carries his role with aplomb and is believable as a loyal battle worn, very very very old angry man. Aamir Khan, while overshadowed by Big B many a times, grows on you and is both likeable and charming. I personally did not find Fatima impressive. She could not pull off the dilemma of having to portray the role of a young revenge-seeking, perma-seething warrior and the potential love interest of Aamir Khan. Could not shake off the feeling that something aint right about this pairing, right after Dangal.
Hyper bashing big budget movies, especially Khan movies, is a recent trend amongst critics and social media pundits. Keeping in mind the cast and the budget, yes it could have been a lot better, perhaps were it helmed by a more adept director. But do yourself a favour and go watch this movie with lowered expectations and there are good chances that you too will come out entertained and slightly baffled at the negative reviews plaguing this movie.
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