‘THE BIG BULL’ | 8 April, 2021

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Ajay Devgn Ffilms and Anand Pandit Motion Pictures’ The Big Bull is based on the life of stock broker Harshad Mehta, also known as the Big Bull.

Hemant Shah (Abhishek Bachchan) belongs to a lower middle class family but he dreams big, very big. He is in a hurry to become a rich man. He has a brother, Viren Shah (Sohum Shah). By chance, he finds that the way to multiply one’s money is to invest in shares. He starts doing that, becomes a sub-broker in the Bombay stock exchange, then a broker. His company flourishes and there’s no looking back. He starts exploiting the loopholes in the banking system and grows at supersonic speed. Simultaneously, he shows family-run business houses how to make money in the stock market. He soon becomes the uncrowned king of the share bazaar. He also makes the common man understand investment in the share market, because of which lakhs of people earn money. In a way, therefore, he becomes very popular among the masses too. In his personal life, he loves a girl, Priya Patil (Nikita Dutta), whose father won’t dream of marrying his daughter to a share broker.

There’s a journalist, Meera Rao (Ileana D’Cruz), who writes articles critical of Hemant Shah’s ways of conducting business. Then, one day, law catches up with Hemant Shah. He is arrested and finally, he dies of a heart attack in jail.

Kookie Gulati and Arjun Dhawan have written a wonderfully interesting story and screenplay, which keep the audience involved and engrossed. For one, the story and screenplay transport the viewers to the era in which they are set and they also make them feel as if they are a part of the unfolding drama. Although, by its very nature, the film talks about technicalities (bank receipts, share bazaar, etc.), it does not make the proceedings boring for the ones who don’t understand technical terms. For, to people who do not understand technicalities, the drama is still comprehensible. In other words, the technically-challenged audiences too would understand that Hemant Shah is exploiting the loopholes to make fast money — and that’s all that’s needed to be comprehended to keep one’s interest alive. Kudos to the two writers for scripting a difficult subject in such an easy-going style. Ritesh Shah’s dialogues are excellent at many places. The dialogues of satire, especially, are outstanding.

Abhishek Bachchan, it seems, was born to play Hemant Shah. He plays the Gujarati stock broker with elan. His way of talking, walking, his arrogance, his pride, his self-confidence, his expressions and his body language, all are to die for. It shouldn’t be a surprise if Abhishek picked up awards for acting for his absolutely brilliant performance. Ileana D’Cruz is first-rate as the investigative journalist, Meera Rao, who exposes Hemant Shah time and again. Sohum Shah does a wonderful job as Hemant’s brother, Viren Shah. He expresses his fears from time to time very beautifully. Nikita Dutta has a brief role, comparatively speaking, but she does the fullest justice to the character of Priya Patil. Mahesh Manjrekar stands his own in a tiny role as trade union leader Rana Samant. Supriya Pathak Kapur leaves a mark as Hemant and Viren Shah’s mother, Amiben. Ram Kapoor shines as lawyer Ashok Mirchandani. Saurabh Shukla leaves a very fine mark as Mannu Malpani. Kanan Arunachalam is terrific in the role of Venkateshwar. Shishir Sharma provides effective support as Meera Rao’s boss. Samir Soni is very impactful as Sanjeev Kohli. Sumit Vats (as Hari Vyas), Abhijit Lahiri (as Baldev), Pankaj Vishnu (as CBI’s Dheeraj), Rohit Tiwari (as Rakesh, joint secretary, ministry of finance), Sanjiv Jotangia (as Priya Patil’s father), Arjav Trivedi (as Priya Patil’s fiancé), Rio Kapadia (as NCC managing director), Durgesh Kumar (as the liftman), Vijay Rajoria (as Raman, boss of Venkateshwar), Akhil Vaid (as businessman Vikram Solanki) and Lekha Prajapati (as Tara) lend lovely support. Others are adequate.

Kookie Gulati’s direction is praiseworthy. He has been able to narrate a technically complicated story in a lucid and effective style, and that’s his biggest victory. Thenuse of close-up shots is less but that’s a minor aberration. Music (Gourov Dasgupta, Mehul Vyas and Will Frenzy) is good. The rap sng (composed by Will Frenzy, written by Carry Minati) is already very popular. The romantic song is also appealing. Lyrics (Kunwar Juneja, Anil Verma and Carry Minati) go well with the mood of the film. Choreography (Ranju Varghese) is appropriate. Sandeep Shirodkar’s background music is very impactful. Vishnu Rao’s cinematography is superb. R.P. Yadav’s action and stunt scenes are realistic. Durgaprasad Mahapatra’s production designing is terrific. Dharmendra Sharma’s editing is super-sharp.

On the whole, The Big Bull is an engaging and entertaining family entertainer and will be liked by the audience. Had it been released in the cinemas in better times, it would’ve definitely done very good business at the box-office.

Released on 8-4-’21 on Disney+ Hotstar.