Celebrating the Real Thugs of Hindostan: The Folks Who Gave Us Demonetisation


Celebrating the Real Thugs of Hindostan: The Folks Who Gave Us Demonetisation

Illustration: Ahmed Sikander

Thugs of Hindostan 2 is releasing on November 8, and we can’t wait to find out if it will live up to the hype of its prequel, which released two years prior on exactly the same night. Will the new Thugs be as successful in getting rid of the British, as the old thugs were in disposing of 500 and 1000-rupee notes? Can Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan pull off that on-screen chemistry that matches that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah? Only time will tell.  

The super-slow RBI printing machines took 18 months to share the box-office collection tally of 2016 sleeper hit, Thugs of Hindostan – The Demonetisation Edition. Trade analysts think that it should take only another week, before they get a clearer idea of what the sequel stands to make.

Well-known trade analyst Arun Tadarsh, who has given the new film a two-star rating based on its trailer alone, has bleak expectations. “With due respect to the work Yash Raj has done with his revamped PlayStation 1 graphics, this movie just won’t be as profitable as the first one was for the Govt of India,” Tadarsh said. “Don’t forget the Prime Minister’s 30-minute address on that night ended up giving the country ten thousand crores of white money…

“Now while it still missed the expected target of three lakh crore by a whisker, it was enough money to make a few statues,” Tadarsh said. “How can this movie come close to making that much money after spending ₹300 crore of its budget only on stealing clothes from Johnny Depp’s house?”

But as we all know, it’s not just about box office collections. Who can forget the impact the first Thugs had on the psyche and culture of this country? Thousands of people stood in long queues for hours, some even sacrificed their lives desh ke khatir to catch the show.  

“I don’t remember seeing queues like that even after the release of Sholay or Deewar,” said Varun Mehta, a watchman who works at Liberty cinema, next to HDFC bank in Mumbai. “Even two years later, we still remember Thugs part 1 every time we use our colourful new currency notes.”

“Well I do hate black money,” said a bystander, when asked which of the two movies he’d prefer. “But I also like Katrina Kaif. So let’s see.”