Feature Name: The Big Bull
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Ileana D’Cruz, Nikita Dutta, Sumit Vats, Mahesh Manjrekar, Ram Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla
Director: Kookie Gulati
Run Time: 154 minutes
The Big Bull chronicles the story based on the securities scam of 1992.
It is said to be loosely based on stockbroker Harshad Mehta’s life and his involvement in financial crimes over a period of 10 years, from 1980 to 1990.
The two-and-a-half hour runtime of Kookie Gulati’s The Big Bull aims to give us a sneak peek into the life and times of the scamster.
Hemant Shah‘s (played by Abhishek Bachchan) eyes light up every time he talks money. He wants to make it big and do it in record time. The ambitious broker who aims to be India’s first billionaire is clearly modelled on Harshad Mehta but, for some reason, is never named so.
Mehta’s terrific rise, the multi-crore scam that made headlines, manipulating the stock market, and his eventual but inevitable tragic fall… the familiarity to the arc and predictability in the telling keep the proceedings jaded.
Trapped by the requirements of formula filmmaking, The Big Bull starts overstating the case from the very first scene itself. Ileana D’Cruz as the journalist who unearthed the truth is seen addressing an audience with two tacky strands of white hair framing her model face.
It’s 2020, and her character Meera Rao is recalling the events which occurred almost two decades ago, but apart from the white ‘reverse antennas’, it appears that age has been pretty kind to her .
Then we are taken to the past in 1987 a young Hemant Shah is listening, wide-eyed, to the secret to making a fortune at the stock market. Decidedly captivated, Hemant, along with his younger brother Viren (Sohum Shah) begins to learn the ropes.
One cannot help but compare it with, which, unlike this movie, didn’t have the luxury of using fictitious names for familiar characters, to stitch together a radically-altered narrative. And yet, the sheer difference in writing for both the pieces stand out in their stark differences in quality.
Taking about the performance, Abhishek Bachchan plays a crooked stock broker and he does justice to his role. On social media is he highly appreciated for his performance in the film and definitely a man to watch on screen.
On the other hand, Nikita Dutta as Hemant’s love interest has a few scenes along with a badly placed song that strikes a discordant note bang in the middle of the film. Sohum Shah, playing the younger brother, who is at odds with Hemant’s nefarious ways, is mostly reduced to sharing the frame as an agitated bystander allowed only a couple of lines. Supriya Pathak, Mahesh Manjrekar, Ram Kapoor, Shishir Sharma, Samir Soni, and Saurabh Shukla also get to make an appearance but exist solely to prop up Abhishek Bachchan. It’s understandable Hemant Shah is obviously the hero of the story, but by reducing everyone else to cardboard cut-outs the impact gets completely diluted.
The Big Bull is a decent attempt to tell a dramatic story of one of India’s biggest financial scams, orchestrated by a man, who seemed more like a common man than a con man. Watch it if you’re an Abhishek Bachchan fan, but don’t let the stock of your expectations rise too high.
We with all our heart give the film 3 stars. For more updates from the world of Bollywood stay tuned to UrbanAsian.