There is clearly place for a number of retellings of a narrative so long as it’s achieved properly. In this case, it simply wasn’t.
On the floor, The Big Bull and SonyLIV’s 2020 present Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story are on the identical topic – the rags-to-riches-to-jail journey of the Mumbai stockbroker who was on the centre of a multi-crore securities rip-off within the early ’90s. And that’s the place all of the similarities start and finish.
While the Hansal Mehta and Jai Mehta-directed collection is an official display adaptation of The Scam: Who Won, Who Lost, Who Got Away by Debashis Basu and Sucheta Dalal, Kookie Gulati’s movie begins with the disclaimer – “this film is somewhat inspired by true events and is a fictional piece of work.” This implies that Gulati and Arjun Dhawan, who’ve written the screenplay, have invented a brand new id – Hemant Shah (Abhishek Bachchan) – for his or her anti-hero however observe the identical beats of the lifetime of the notorious stockbroker millionaire.
The Bachchan-starrer can not escape from the lengthy shadow solid by what’s undoubtedly among the best Indian net collection made lately. It is sort of unattainable to not evaluate, and The Big Bull comes off badly whereas Scam 1992 was a career-defining work by Mehta, who combined simply digestible technical jargon with human drama to inform this gripping story of economic fraud.
Truth vs “somewhat” impressed
While the present catapulted its leads Pratik Gandhi (who performed Mehta) and Shreya Dhanwanthary (who performed journalist Sucheta Dalal) on to the massive stage, the movie wastes its gifted solid. And that is no solid to be scoffed at – other than Bachchan Jr, the movie additionally stars Ileana D’Cruz (taking part in Meera Rao, a stand-in for Dalal), Ram Kapoor (Ram Jethmalani stand-in), and Sohum Shah (Viren, the protagonist’s youthful brother).
Bollywood vs long-form format
The Big Bull was meant to be a theatrical launch, which implies that the story has been Bollywoodised. There is a love angle full with pals organising the couple, parental opposition, and a soulful love music set in Delhi. There can also be a union chief who’s surrounded by gun-toting henchmen and a back-stabbing brother to throw in some household drama. Do not get me incorrect. None of this may have been a foul factor by itself and if achieved properly, however when in comparison with the eye that has been given to element on the collection, the catastrophe that’s the movie is magnified.
Like the Mehtas of Scam 1992, the Shahs are clearly Gujarati however you’d be hard-pressed to seek out any references aside from the scene the place the wives are making theplas earlier than the household sits down watch to Mahabharat. And that’s simply one of many issues that remind one in every of dangerous Bollywood fare – the template is all the time North Indian.
Lack of element apart, the tropes are additionally straight out of 1990s Bollywood, making the movie look jaded and like a relic from a previous greatest forgotten.
For instance, as a result of the director needs to emphasize that Bachchan’s character has evil shades, he has him cackling very similar to the demon Betaal from the Vikram-Betaal tales. It is all simply supremely cheesy, and if that was not sufficient, you will have an ear-splitting rap observe with lyrics like “dikhne mein sundar ye kaante wale phool, phool se bhara dekh mera pool, tum hoge yahan ke principal, Par primary hoon poora school’ that performs over a montage of Shah’s transformation from a daily office-goer to a much-revered dealer.
(Also learn: ‘If Ajay Devgn requires a movie, I do know loads of care has gone into deciding on it,’ says Abhishek Bachchan on signing The Big Bull)
Glorified messiah vs full-blown character
Scam 1992, which has the luxurious of time (the 10-episode collection runs to virtually 9 hours), paints Gandhi’s Mehta as each a charismatic scamster and a high-profile sufferer. Gulati, alternatively, chooses to romanticise Mehta’s legacy with Meera even declaring, “Maybe he taught a country how to dream”. Even his critics crown him the ‘one and only Big Bull’ whereas singing his praises for triggering financial increase in a rustic that was getting ready to chapter. There isn’t any point out of the lakhs of small traders whose lives had been destroyed by his manipulations and the next rip-off. Instead, he’s painted as a Robin Hood-esque determine who was pushed by his love for the nation and took on the entire political system that was rigged towards him.
Journalist vs only a narrator
The different major protagonist within the real-life story of Mehta is the monetary journalist who doggedly pursued the story, uncovering little particulars that in the end turned the largest story of her profession. The Big Bull, whereas utterly erasing Debashish Basu’s contribution to exposing the rip-off, additionally reduces Meera to being little extra than simply the narrator of the story. Bollywood virtually by no means will get journalism and journalists proper so it’s not stunning that this movie doesn’t both, however the newsroom within the movie and Meera’s strategies are simply laughable. Unlike Scam 1992, the place one will get a way of Dalal’s journalistic integrity, the necessity for on-record proof and newsroom politics, within the movie Meera simply walks into the audit room in a financial institution and goes by way of their books.
It just isn’t unprecedented to have a number of display diversifications of the identical story. In Hollywood, ‘twin movies’ is now a longtime custom. Danny Boyle’s collection Trust and Ridley Scott’s movie All The Money within the World had been each primarily based on the Getty kidnapping. Winston Churchill was the topic of Darkest Hour and Churchill, that launched in the identical 12 months. In 2012, Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down had been motion thrillers set in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There can also be Zodiac and The Zodiac, Coco Chanel, and Coco Before Chanel, Jobs, and Steve Jobs. Closer house, in 2002 three Bhagat Singh biopics – Shaheed-E-Azam, 23 March 1931: Shaheed, and The Legend of Bhagat Singh hit theatres inside weeks. Interestingly the latter starred Ajay Devgn, who’s a co-producer of The Big Bull.
(Also learn: Ahead of The Big Bull, evaluating Ajay Devgn’s file as a producer, from Parched to Bhuj: The Pride of India)
There is clearly place for a number of retellings of a narrative so long as it’s achieved properly. In this case, it simply was not.
The Big Bull is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar Multiplex.