A film believed to be inspired by the Harshad Mehta story starting in the late eighties of the last century. The Big Bull movie review…
There is no doubt that Harshad was the original Big Bull of Stock markets in India and who knows if he would have been left to his tools, he could not only have been the first billionaire from India but could also have been in company of Warren Buffett for all we know.
The movie Big Bull is now streaming on Disney Hotstar. This one can be given a skip, no offense meant to Abhishek fans, he has tried really hard to put in his best. Enough about the man because the story digresses from the topic several times in the movie it seems that the director though wanted to tell Harshad’s story but in the same breath also tries to distance away from it.
That’s the reason why the names and many incidents in the story have been tweaked and some have totally been glossed over like the RBI Governor’s role in the scam investigation. The Journo who caught the Big Bull by its horns here is played by Ileana D’Cruz ‘s Meera Rao.
The story runs as a flashback in the movie as Ileana is seen narrating the events of that period to a motley group of audience in an uninterested, matter of fact manner. Talking about comparisons, as you all know that a few months back there was a series on the same subject by the name of Scam 1992 on Sony Liv app. Hence drawing the comparison becomes imperative, no doubt that was a 10 part series which means much more on screen time but it touched the topics in depth and brought about the real story behind the scam, here I will praise that series director Hansal Mehta for taking us through the nuances of what had actually happened.
However in the movie The Big Bull which is supposed to be a reflection of what really happened, this movie instead focuses on Abhishek Bachchan’s personality rather than that of the actual character, it seems to us as if Abhishek was the Big Bull. It seems the movie was made to glorify him rather then to explore the subject, still to the credit of the script, it was made amply clear how the scam was perpetrated and also the protagonist’s vision about Indian economy which can be collaborated with many an interview of Harshad available in digital space.
The movie harps on the fact that the Big Bull throws a challenge at the system to get its act together or he will keep milking it. One would agree with me in wondering, why on earth whenever he is doing any autobiographical role Abhishek wears an odd smirk on his face like he did in Guru and a sinister laugh whenever he achieves something in the movie. Though we can give full marks to him for looking quite fresh and dapper and over eager as if trying to fit in the character which was not cut for him.
Ileana was ok, here again comparison comes to fore as her performance was not even a shadow of what Shreya Dhanwanthary did to her Journo’s character in Scam 1992. Soham Shah who was brilliant in Tumbad has been relegated to being Abhishek’s sidekick. What was Saurabh Shukla doing in a minuscule underdeveloped role? There is nothing to talk about others like Supriya Pathak and Mahesh Manjrekar who were utterly wasted.
The film’s end does pose the question if in fact the Big Bull may have actually been killed and not died of heart attack as perceived. He had unabashedly fluttered quite a few feathers and that too in quite higher up circles of our society and many would have liked to see his back. The music, the screenplay and the direction were quite weak. There were several unexplained fast-forwards in the story. Every person born in that era has the Harshad saga etched in their psyche as it was touted as the biggest scam of the century in India. (Running time 154 minutes)
Though many people have divergent views in the matter as to whether Harshad Mehta was a thief or the one who actually bought about the spirit of investment and exploring the Stock market in many a minds and bought out the focus on enterprise value of a company and also professing the value unlocking principles to the closely held company.
A fallen hero or the Villain of the piece, the jury is still out 20 years after his death.
– Review by PAWAN GUPTA
Cast of The Big Bull:
Abhishek Bachchan as Hemant Shah (Stockbroker)
Ileana D’Cruz as Meera Rao (Business Journalist)
Nikita Dutta as Priya Patil Shah (Hemant’s wife)
Sohum Shah as Viren Shah (Hemant’s brother)
Lekha Prajapati as Tara (Viren’s wife)
Supriya Pathak at Hemant’s mother
Sumit Vats as Hari Vyas
Mahesh Manjrekar as Rana Sawant
Ram Kapoor as Ashok Mirchandani, Hemant’s lawyer
Saurabh Shukla as Mannu Malpani (Chairman, Bombay Stock Exchange)
Credits of The Big Bull:
Production Companies – Ajay Devgn Films, Anand Pandit Motion Pictures
Produced by Ajay Devgn, Anand Pandit, Vikrant Sharma, Kumar Mangat Pathak
Directed by Kookie Gulati
Story – Kookie Gulati, Arjun Dhawan
Dialogues – Ritesh Shah
Screenplay – Kookie Gulati, Arjun Dhawan
Music by Sandeep Shirodkar
Cinematography – Vishnu Rao
Edited by Dharmendra Sharma
BOLLYWOOD RETRO GEMS: MAUSAM appears here in the Retro Gems section due to the sheer sensitivity and the on-screen treatment of a mature subject and also due to the stellar performances by the lead actors Sanjeev Kumar and especially Sharmila Tagore who went on to win the Silver Lotus award at the National Awards that year for her role in the movie. It is Gulzar’s ode of love, he has been credited for writing and directing some of the most sensitive movies of Hindi cinema. Mausam is a work of art.