Jan 28, 2012

'Agneepath' is doused fire!

First things first! I believe every film deserves to be evaluated in its own light. Even remakes and sequels should be 'complete', unique and well rounded themselves. Too much of nostalgia can do injustice to the makers of the film in question. Hence, here I will not compare director Karan Malhotra's Agneepath (2012) with Mukul Anand's Agneepath (1990). Also, the film in question here is way too different from its predecessor with only 'Mandwa, Kancha, Vijay' and the underlying theme of revenge being the connecting links.

In fact, if I act rude and blunt, the 2012 remake has very few things worth comparing to the original cult classic. But, the fact that Karan Malhotra's film has very few merits of its own, makes the viewing experience more disappointing and the prospects of comparison meaningless. Agneepath is a tragically long film that forces you into the sleep mode post interval. However, it is the acting bravado of three male leads- Hrithik Roshan (as Vijay Chauhan), Sanjay Dutt (as Kancha Cheena) and Rishi Kapoor (as Rauf Lala) that saves the film from being an utter disappointment.

The story line of the film revolves around Vijay Chauhan's quest to seek revenge from Kancha who killed his righteous school-master father. In his bid to topple Kancha's empire in Mandva village, Vijay takes shelter at the doorsteps of cunning Rauf Lala. Later on, Vijay checkmates Lala and his gang, and launches a final assault at Kancha's fortress. Not to forget, the three women who impact Vijay's life- his love interest Kaali (Priyanka Chopra), a jolly Marathi slum girl who runs a 'Chinese beauty parlour', his mother played by Zarina Wahab and his sister Siksha played by Kanika Tiwari.

The length of the film (more than three hours) is its biggest undoing. While the film starts on a very promising note with first half hour being enthralling, the subsequent reels start to bore you. To be fair to director Malhotra, the film does pack a few punches till interval, but fails to ignite much fire later on. Hrithik's much-anticipated homecoming to Mandwa in the second half is surprisingly lacklustre and fails to ignite emotion in the viewer. In fact, there are many scenes in the film that fail to register a strong emotional impact despite their supposed high melodramatic scope. The scene where Vijay's mother invites him for dinner fails to make an impact with only Hrithik's food binging with left hand leaving a bit of mark on memory and heart.

Hrithik's chemistry with both his mother and beloved lacks substance. Shiksha, his sister, gets undue importance throughout the film without impressing too much. Priyanka Chopra gets very little scope throughout the film, however she plays her part pretty well. The child actor (Arish Bhinwandiwala) playing young Vijay Chauhan is terrific. Om Puri gets too much importance in the role of Commissioner Gaitonde. He looks very tired and out of place, hardly the kind of cop a menacing Kancha or a cunning Lala would fear.

Hrithik Roshan deserves credit for being 'himself' as Vijay Dinanath Chauhan. He does not get carried away by the sheer weight of Big B's iconic portrayal of Vijay in 1990. He brings his own poise, style and signature to the lead character. The marked difference in the way Hrithik approaches Vijay's character is well displayed by the fact that he is not always grumpy like Big B of Old Agneepath. Sanjay Dutt as Kancha looks deadly and fearsome. This act will surely flood him with offers of negative roles, all over again. Rishi Kapoor is refreshingly in command of a negative character that has shades of white. He looks sufficiently shrewd and cunning as Rauf Lala.

To put it metaphorically, director Karan Malhotra makes a mess of the delicious food platter on offer. He seems confused about the volume of significance he should have attached to various characters. Hrithik's wedding to Priyanka towards the end is pointless as far as the progession of the story goes. The sequence seemed to be a deliberate attempt to get rid of Priyanka's character. The final showdown between Kancha and Vijay lacks the ultimate fervor and punch. Hrithik is beaten black and blue by Dutt only to miraculously rise while casting a ghostly look towards the Banyan tree. And yes, there is this running commentary on 'Dharma-Karma' from Kancha and also some moments when Vijay and his father together recite 'agneepath' verse! Hmmph, all of this is very irritating!

The film boasts of good background music. In fact, it is the high point of the film along with the music (Ajay Atul). 'Chikni Chameli' (Katrina sizzles!), the Ganesha song and the Qawali number leave you spellbound. You feel happy looking at the screen. The overall production value (including cinematography) seems very rich and glossy, with impressive sets, specially the somewhat 'haunted' Mandva village.

All in all, the film lacks the captivating screenplay, emotional connect and most importantly a good decent editor! I will go with Two and Half Stars (**1/2- average) and a 'scissor' for director Karan Malhotra's Agneepath. It is a 'bloody' long revenge saga that demands extraordinary patience from the viewer!

P.S.- This film review is a tribute to noted film critic Nikhat Kazmi, who passed away on Jan 21.


  1. Though I somewhat disagree with your views but I respect your way of putting up your whole points. I did not Sanjay Dutt and Chikni Chameli irritates the shit outta me.

    And yes, Runtime is 178 minutes to be precise. :P

    I agree with your point that Karma and Geeta quotes were unwanted and irritating. Overall, the movie left a good impression on me.

    I haven't seen the original Agneepath and I can never watch it. :)

    Aur vaise bhi...mast likhte ho bhai. :D

  2. Thanks Naman. I corrected the length after u pointed it out. May be I took the interval and ads into account. :) Thanks for reading!

  3. *Did not like Sanjay Dutt. #Typo. :P