Let us clarify something at the very beginning – Karan Malhotra’s ‘Agneepath’ is not an outright remake of Mukul S. Anand’s Agneepath. Yes, the names of the films are same and so is the central plot and the characters but that is about it. Karan Johar’s Agneepath can be called an adaptation of the original cult classic, homage or a loosely inspired remake but not a remake in its entirety. There are numerous reasons to establish that fact.
Firstly, Hrithik Roshan is not a 36 year old Vijay Dinanath Chauhan as was the case when Amitabh Bachchan played the iconic character. On the same route Hrithik’s Vijay and Big B’s Vijay have only got the revenge drama and history in common. Neither do we see any trademark of the iconic Vijay nor is there any resemblance (physical, behavioral or implicational). Yes, both are angry young men, actually the former was an angry middle aged man and the latter is actually a young man filled with angst. Thankfully, Hrithik puts an entirely different flavor to Vijay Dinanath Chauhan which does not let us feel remotely close to comparing him with Big B.
Secondly, Sanjay Dutt is not the sleek, subtle and glitz lover Kancha Cheema as was the case when Danny Denzongpa played the baddie back in 1990. Quite to the contrary, Sanjay’s Kancha is all bulked up, cunning even through his eyes, on the face, loud and self obsessed. He does not don suits like Danny and stay all geared up for a game of poker or ride around his estate in a Benz but remains clad in black attire amidst the dark world of Mandwa, which is his kingdom.
Thirdly, the loved Krishna Iyer M.A. played by Mithun Chakraborty is not missed since Rishi Kapoor as Rauf Lala more than makes up for it. He is in charge of Mumbai’s underbelly and is extensively involved in trafficking – drugs and human (primarily women). Rishi Kapoor is deliciously bad as Mithun was endearingly sweet and admirable.
There are more differences in the new Agneepath – Vijay Dinanath Chauhan does not have an army at his disposal but is more of a one man army against the mighty Kancha Cheema, he does not travel standing on the deck on a speed boat in Malaysian waters while heading to meet his arch enemy and does not have the almighty aura of the character played by Senior Bachchan.
Interestingly, Hrithik is an underdog who is filled with emotions, regret, angst and virtues. He breaks down emotionally, breaks his enemies’ backs ruthlessly and he does all that with his eyes set to avenge his father’s death. Full marks to Hrithik for shedding his glam boy image completely and getting into the skin of a guy next door with a mission in life! He is a treat throughout the movie.
Sanjay Dutt makes a fantastic baddie and his role would be counted among his finest performances till date. He makes himself invulnerable and omnipotent which makes for a fitting climax. His evil nature oozes out profusely through his sheer presence every time he comes on screen. Rishi Kapoor is the surprise package with surma in his eyes, a devilish smile, foul language and layered personality. Priyanka Chopra, Zarina Wahab and Om Puri are just the supporting cast and the script does not permit them much room to do anything and they are there to cater to the little that they are asked to do.
The movie as a whole is an all out entertainer with action, song and dance and festivals. It is not a run off the mill of the present generation movies but a genre that thrived luxuriously in the last century.
The review would be an injustice if we do not talk about the wonderful job Karan Malhotra has accomplished in his debut directorial. He has managed to pack in great punches in the screenplay, shot Mumbai in its best hue and has gone to the dark shades when the drama shifts to Mandwa. The action sequences are brutal and mighty. Cinematographers Ravi K. Chandran and Kiran Deohans have done a fabulous job and a lot has gone into the post production to make the finished product a treat for the audience. Ajay and Atul Gogavale have managed to put up a very apt show with their chords and instruments. The music numbers may not be the best on the charts but in the film, the background score and the songs are a perfect sync. Oh yes, Chikni Chameli does make you smile and it is one of the very few instants when you tend to let yourself a little loose during the course of the film. The compact action packed narrative does not live you much spare time to relax. The editor could have been a little stringent with the half baked romance sequences of Hrithik and Priyanka but perhaps Karans (Johar and Malhotra) wanted it that way.
The spoilers, if any, happen to be its run time which is a little long for an action movie which has a very simple revenge story as its central plot. But such spoilers are masterly compensated by Piyush Mishra who delivers yet again with powerful dialogues and some great punch lines that would leave you utterly pleased.
Releasing on 26th January 2012 (Republic Day) and with the long weekend coming up, Agneepath is certainly staring at a box office collection in excess of the magical 100 crores. With shows across cities and hundreds of screens at the multiplexes being booked out well in advance, Bollywood has the first blockbuster of the year. Karan Malhotra would be one sought after director henceforth and this is a welcome change for Hrithik Roshan and Sanjay Dutt to have come up with brilliant performances.
Rating – 3.5/5