What are the disadvantages of making a film based on a well-known story? The response is self-evident: it will be judged at any turn, with no mercy. You’re in for some harsh comparisons, particularly after an acclaimed web series that can undeniably tick all the boxes for being the best show of 2020. And while working on Kookie Gulati’s The Big Bull, Abhishek Bachchan was well aware of it. Despite the actor’s strong performance, the film, which is a fictionalized and Bollywoodized version of the story of the notorious stockbroker Harshad Mehta, falls short of Hansal Mehta’s web series Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story, at several points.
So the story begins in 2020, when journalist Meera Rao (played by Ileana D’Cruz) tells the story of Hemant Shah (played by Abhishek Bachchan), who revolutionized the stock market in the 1980s and 1990s, at the launch of her book The Big Bull. He takes on the existing structure with his brother Viren Shah (Sohum Shah) and a trusted aide (Sumit Vats), becoming one of the wealthiest people in the country in a very short span of time and assisting many others in making money in the stock market.
Then we see Hemant Shah rapidly ascending the success ladder. Before we’ve had time to adapt to Shah’s life in the chawl, we see him already making money in the stock market and meeting some of the industry’s hotshots. It’s difficult to absorb the transition and align yourself with the story because it happens so quickly. Is, however, the film’s momentum maintained throughout? No, no, and no. When Bollywood is introduced, the film slows down to allow for suspense and emotional upheaval, which makes the viewing experience tedious.