One thing that really works in The Big Bull is the sheer pace in the narrative that lasts two and a half hours. The film opens with a bang, has a superb interval point and then shocks you at the end. In fact one of the promos pretty much proclaimed that the end of The Big Bull will shock you. Well yes, it indeed does. It shows you that aspect of the protagonist’s life journey that was hitherto unknown. That itself is one aspect of the Ajay Devgn and Anand Pandit production which deserves brownie points.
Though it is stated right at the beginning of the film that it is based on certain true events but not quite based on the life of one individual, it is more than apparent that the film tells the story of the life and times of Harshad Mehta. What you get to see are those 5-6 years in the life of the man who rose from a chawl, started signing cheques worth crores, and then had as quick an exit from the stock market as the meteoric rise that he had seen.
Abhishek Bachchan eats up the Gujarati character big time and doesn’t mind acting with his physicality in practically every scene. No, he doesn’t develop a paunch at that stage of his life when he puts his palm in the kurta and currency notes fly into the sea from his penthouse apartment, it’s there much before too when he was taking a walk in the chawl while being bewildered by the fact that the neighbor next door (Nikita Dutta) too likes him as much as he does. He does have his ‘Men will be men’ moment for a second when he tried to suck his paunch in, but then gives up soon. After all, what can’t be done with true love and a jewellery set worth Rs. 10000.
Turns out that jewellery set reaches another destination, the corrupt Manager of a national bank, who is willing to let banking loopholes work in the favour of ‘Gurubhai’ from the late 80s/early 90s and overlooks the frauds being committed so that he could wish his wife a very happy anniversary. Meanwhile, Abhishek wins over his better half as well, though for a brief moment she does try to wake up his conscience as he sips an expensive scotch for the first time ever in a ‘Dilli ke neta ji’s’ party!
Well, live life king size, else don’t do that!
This is where Abhishek plays it all quite well. It is remarkable to see how it changes his entire tonality of dialogue delivery and starts stressing on the key letters as he grows richer and richer. The whole mannerism shift that happens from being a downtrodden to ultra wealthy is not just demonstrated through raja-suits, it is also done through the manner in which he brings in sarcasm and evasive answers to all the questions.
Well, paisa ho toh kya nahi ho sakta , though that maniacal laughter that comes on screen three times over could have been avoided at least twice.
What could also have been better is the frequent jump that the narrative takes, especially in the first 30-40 minutes when the episodes move on way too fast. So much so that it seems more jerky than rapid at certain places, something that could have been taken care of had there been additional scenes in the film to keep it all fluid. After all, there is so much fun happening in those two and a half hours that one wouldn’t have minded a three hour film either.
Moreover, certain ‘scene skips’ make one yearn for more. There is such an excellent build up to the whole Prime Minister saga but it all gets diluted with the narrative that just skips two years ahead with a mere one mine mention on the screen. As for the end, it is shocking indeed though it would have had all the more impact had that been a series of proper scenes than just a montage,
Nonetheless, what works as a whole is the fact that director Kookie Gulati has made a crisp affair that delivers good entertainment which keeps you engrossed right though. Moreover, the choice of actors works as well, be it Ileana D’Cruz who narrates the story to the MBA grads or Soham Shah who plays the ever-scared younger brother or Saurabh Shukla who plays the regulator or Mahesh Manjrekar who impresses so much in his solitary scene as the union leader.
All in all, The Big Bull turns out to be a cinematic experience for those who have been missing a proper movie experience for a while now. While playing on OTT, it does make for a good weekend watch.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2