A middle class Gujarati man with skyscraper like dreams and accelerated manoeuvre playing with the loopholes of the Indian banking system, dominating the stock market in style and executing the biggest scam in India’s history. What’s the first name that comes to your mind when you hear this simple yet larger than life story? Yes, Harshad Mehta it is! But it takes special talent to make such a dramatic life into such a snooze-fest of a movie, which writer-director Kookie Gulati just somehow manages with mind-numbing effect. The Big Bull, made with a splendid star cast, reaches nowhere to even the contour of Pratik Gandhi starrer Hansal Mehta’s Scam 1992. This loosely-crafted two-and-half hour film fails miserably.
It starts off with a very mediocre scene where journalist Meera Rao is at book launch narrating the state of a doomed Indian economy in 1990s. The whole country is in turmoil and so is Hemant Shah, an ordinary working-class man with a family of three and a girlfriend’s father to impress. He is resolute at having a lavish lifestyle and thus sets his foot in the stock market along with brother Viren Shah. First getting in the good books of a local politician Rana Sawant, he quickly starts grabbing attention of those placed high in the market.
Stubborn as a mule and as quick as a flash he soon begins living the life he ever dreamt of, but with arrogance getting into his head.
Now, the problem with the film lies here... It seems Kookie expected the audience to have watched the web show beforehand and connect the missing dots. For instance, when Hemant Shah, in retaliation to Meera Rao’s article defaming him, gets a front pager in the newspapers with the message ‘Hemant Shah is a liar’, the assumption that the audience must have a knowledge of what that message meant and how it made Shah even more impactful is a big, big fault at the writers’ end.
The film is too hasty for its own good – at one moment you would try to get a hold of it and decipher what’s happening while at other you would wish for it to end soon. Abhishek Bachchan’s ear splitting laughs at three different points in the film make you cringe.
Bachchan’s act reminds you of Mani Ratnam’s 2007 blockbuster Guru but makes you acutely aware of how a director impact an actor's performance. At it's best, you call this a sasta version of Guru!
Sohum Shah as Viren too is wasted. Viren’s wife played by Nikita Dutta seems to be a rather bad choice as she looks too young for the part and theres zero chemistry between the two. Ram Kapoor as Hemant’s lawyer, despite of having very few scenes, delivers.
Actors like Ileana D’Cruz, Saurabh Shukla, Supriya Pathak could have been deployed in a more potent manner but it seems the director wanted this to be a one-man show. Again pointing out at the writing, it has many cracks and a very laid back treatment that turns this robust and a thrilling story into a damp squib.
Title: The Big Bull
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Ileana D’Cruz, Saurabh Shukla, Sohum Shah, Nikita Dutta, Ram Kapoor, Supriya Pathak, Mahesh Manjrekar
Director: Kookie Gulati
Rating: 2.5 stars