Verdict: Harish Verma tries hard to induce life into an ordinary con story.
The greed for money makes even the innocent people do things which are in complete contrast to their personality. Most people wish to attain riches overnight and subsequently take shortcuts to climb the ladder of success. However, when they experience the harsh realities of life, it hits them like a ton of bricks. Mukesh Vohra’s Thug Life talks loud of the rise and fall of a group of friends who are out to fool the world and make easy money. Does this interesting concept translate into entertaining cinema? Yes, but in parts.
Thug Life is a story of three boys, MLA (Harish Verma), Jass (Jass Bajwa) and Paali (Rajiv Thakur) and a girl Ruchi (Ihaana Dhillon), who plan to blackmail reputed people in order to extort money from them, in a pursuit of success and financial freedom. However, they soon stumble upon a conspiracy that could harm a lot of people. In their attempt to save the people, the boys find themselves amidst a series of problems, which leads to them being labeled as terrorists. The boys then set out to prove their innocence and to bring the conspirators to justice.
Thug Life has two contrasting halves. While the first hour is a little slow, with most of the time dedicated to introducing the characters and their families, it’s the second hour where the drama unfolds. MLA and Jass are touted as carefree young boys and money is never a priority for them. Suddenly, they dream about making millions and with ease, they are able to convince Paali and Ruchi to become a part of the fraud they are going to pursue. They effortlessly blackmail and extract money out of influential people making the viewer think that it’s child play to follow this route to earn money. Lastly, the Karamjit Anmol-Vrijesh Hirjee track is bizarrely forced into the screenplay, adding no value to the core story. The first half is leaves us wishing for more.
But the movie changes gears in the second half. As the four youngsters increase the level of risk, viewer gets excited to see their next prey. The story has several poignant and enjoyable moments in this hour that catches the viewer by complete surprise. The camaraderie between MLA, Jass and Paali keeps the viewer hooked on to the proceedings. The way the protagonists experience the not-so-rosy picture of making easy money is beautifully showcased. The pre-climax is a bit far stretched, but the story has an apt culmination.
Thug Life belongs to the three main leads of the film, Harish Verma, Jass Bajwa and Rajiv Thakur. The performances of all the three are absolutely competitive and not once do you feel that one is overpowering the other. Although Harish Verma and Rajiv Thakur are far more experienced actors than Jass, he still stands tall on his feet. The film would’ve fallen flat had these three not delivered towering performances. Ihana Dhillon has the potential to do good work if she hones her skills – dialogue delivery and facial expressions. Karamjit Anmol and Vrijesh Hirjee have small roles.
Director Mukesh Vohra takes a path not often taken in Punjabi cinema. He has written the movie himself and gets brownie points for choosing a subject like this. Although he has taken a lot of cinematic liberties, he manages to make a decent film. Music (Jatinder Shah) is plain average. Putt Kaputt is lyrically rich. Manish More’s editing is crisp.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Watch Thug Life to experience a story not often tried in Punjabi cinema. The movie has confident performances of Harish Verma, Jass Bajwa and Rajiv Thakur, and instances where these three alongwith Ihana push the envelope to thug the influential people of Punjab.
-By Gurlove Singh