The Big Bull Review: Should your expectations be bullish too?
Created on 10 Apr 2021
Wraps up in 4 Min
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With the sudden uprising of Netflix, Prime, Hostar or other OTT platforms, the concept of storytelling seems to have changed. OTT platforms have become sources of easy entertainment, with hundreds and even thousands of different stories being told through multi-part series or movies. Yes, movies and serials have been existent for decades, but the format of storytelling has evolved with the dawn of the internet. Stories have shifted their centre from fictional, masala content to real-life events, biopics, docuseries, and more intense and realistic dramas. This has led to a blurring of the lines between the classic protagonist and the antagonist.
After Pablo Escobar, Adolf Hitler, serial killers like Charles Shobhraj and Ted Bundy, the stories of many such real-life controversial characters have attracted the interest and fascination of millions of viewers worldwide. Continuing on the same lines, India saw a similar webseries climb the high ladder of success. This story was Scam 1992, which depicted the life story of India’s renowned ex-billionaire and conman, Harshad Mehta.
And the next in line to depict this real-life action-packed story is a big Bollywood movie starring the man who is highly praised for his abilities to portray sharp-minded business tycoons through movies like Guru and Sarkar. The Big-Bull starring Abhishek Bacchan is directed by Kookie Gulati and also features other big actors such as Illeana DCruz, Sohum Shah, Ram Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla, Mahesh Manjarekar and Nikita Dutta.
Contrary to its blockbuster web series counterpart Scam 1992, The Big Bull claims to have been “somewhat inspired by true events”, which makes it all the more clear that the audience should not watch the movie with the expectations of peeking into the actual story of the fallen stock market star.
Glorifying a Controversial Figure
The movie tells the story about Hemant Shah, a middle-class Gujarati man living in Bombay in the 1980s with dreams of making it big and dragging himself out of the middle-class life to the high-standard and rich Bombay life through his witty practices in the stock market. And he does achieve this goal by taking unfair advantage of the loopholes in the stock market and the Indian banking system and turning it to his favour. His greed-driven ideology ultimately leads to his own downfall.
While the basic plotline does ring a bell reminding about Harshad Mehta true story, the movie seemed to have justified the wrong-doings of a rather selfish man whose acts led to all kinds of sadness and atrocities on hundreds and thousands of people.
Also, the storyline failed to align the audience with those elements of the stock market, which were more or less the leading heroes in Harshad Mehta’s story. Concepts like BR were left unexplained and to audiences who will watch this story for the first time, well, you might get lost trying to understand what actually led Mehta to become the market’s “Big Bull” and why.
Underutilization of Brilliant Actors
Coming back, since the movie is “loosely based on real-life events, all the characters have made-up names, and by the looks of it, most of them had “made-up stories” as well. For instance, Sucheta Dalal’s character portrayed by Illeana D’Cruz was called Rao, which couldn’t even come close to justifying Dalal’s real role in exposing the scam; rather, it seemed like a mere ornamental representation of a female character. The same goes with Sohum Shah’s character, who plays Abhishek’s brother in the film. All these characters are completely dependent on the main character and are thus overshadowed by Bacchan in the film, who also, despite trying his best, couldn’t do much to save the film.
Again, Bacchan’s romance with Natasha Dutta in the movie seemed forced and over-dramatized. The movie also featured polished actors like Ram Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla and Supriya Pathak; however, their tea-spoon-like screen-time didn’t give them a chance to portray much.
So, was the Scam 1992 a better portrayal and should you even watch The Big Bull?
Well, in all senses, it would be totally unjustified to compare “The Big Bull” to the “Scam 1992”, as one is a 2.5hr movie and the other is a prolonged, 10-part series. So naturally, the latter had more time to depict all the events in detail and precisely. So, the lack of detail and accuracy can be justified to a certain extent.
Still, there is no denying that “The Big Bull” is a poorly written account that tried to glorify and even justify the life of a rather notorious criminal who was responsible for the ill-fate of thousands. So in all fairness, the actors in the, who tried to perform their best (irrespective of how underutilized they were), cannot be blamed much for the disappointment.
So, one can watch the two and a half-hour long movie if they want to get a rather filmy insight into the life of Harshad Mehta; however, we would suggest leaving expectations and some of your reasonings out the door!
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