Friday, January 27, 2012


Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt, Rishi Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra
Director: Karan Malhotra

Karan Johar was running short of new stories. Karan Malhotra wanted to make his mark in the industry. They went through old DVDs of some cult classics and came up with Mukul Anand's Agneepath. It seems. But with a strong creative team. The writers are puzzled, particularly with the dialogues, to write a new Ramayan or a Mahabharata. And end up scripting the old tale of "baap ka badla." We are convinced that it is not a remake but adaptation. Bollywood remains Bollywood. Cliched remains cliched.

Vijay and his mother moves to Mumbai after Master Dinanath Chauhan (Chetan Pandit) is strangled to death by Kancha Cheena (the villain who speaks with humor and reads Gita in spare time, subtly played by Sanjay Dutt) in Mandwa. Vijay now has a newborn sister Shiksha as soon as they arrive in their new dwelling chawl. Rauf Lala (brilliantly played by Rishi Kapoor), the flesh trader, drug dealer, gangster and Kancha's rival, notices this new 12 year old boy. Vijay acts smart to gain some power under this gangster and get back his Mandwa. We are now expected to know Vijay's character and the story is moved 15 years later to see a fresh yet raw, full of emotions and vengeance, Vijay Dinanath Chauhan portrayed by Hrithik Roshan with six pack abs. Stellar performance.

The game is still on. Almost nothing has changed even after 15 years. Vijay is still preparing himself for the revenge by getting into Lala's shoes. Quite literally. Kaali (Priyanka Chopra) becomes the heroine of the chawl who runs chinese beauty parlour and is Vijay's love interest. And all this, the sequence right from Vijay winning Lala's heart and killing of Mazhar (Lala's son) on his wedding with a qawalli song inter-mediating, goes predictable but with a crisp. Excitement is robustly developed among the audience before intermission and fizzes out in parts as we enter loosely edited and loopholes of second half. As a viewer, you would probably find yourself waiting for the steaming hot Katrina Kaif's item song Chikni Chameli, finely choreographed by Ganesh Acharya. Later in this part, spare some fine moments like Vijay when agrees to tie the knot with Kaali.

Ajay-Atul's spirit lifting background score is what raises the film sequences to a new level. Arts, lights, camera work and the appealing rawness remains intact. No characters other than Vijay, Kancha, Rauf and Dinanath had enough rooting to depth that makes you think that characters like Vijay's mother (Zareena Wahab), Azhar (Deven Bhojani) and Mazhar (Rajesh Tandon) are just handy tools or simply wasted.

But as said, cliched bollywood of '90s remains, you don't expect brain-storming story-telling but drama overdone by melodrama, and the hero who blows off opponents lair with bombs, finally bashes him up with a mere stone. But who cares? And thus, an idea of a remake is killed under such big banners but nearly saved by the creatives, carrying it off in crude manner rather than posh as in original Agneepath, and by the director who added a new dimension via another villain Rauf Lala.

Keeping critical lenses aside, and getting carried away with the performances and entertainment it delivers, I would like to go with genuine 3 stars out of 5. 

inputs by Akshay Bhalekar

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