Pura Review: Agneepath

If you remember a few months ago, I complained and ranted about how much I detested remakes and sequels. It just makes zero sense to me. Are our filmmakers incompetent of making original films? In a country of over one billion, are we incapable of stirring up innovative plots? But what does anyone care about what I say. A lot of the time, what filmmakers deem a “remake” is actually an adaptation. And that is exactly what Karan Johar’s Agneepath is. So now because it is a variation of the original, it would be totally unfair to make comparisons be it the performances or script. In all honesty, I was completely skeptical of Agneepath in 2012. How on earth anyone could want to recreate an epic cult film? More importantly, why?

This is why.

The film is not as different yet slightly altered from the original. Vijay Chauhan (Hrithik Roshan) is just another regular boy from Mandwa whose father, the village master, lives by rules of karma and dharma. However, when he is framed and hung to death by the local ravaan Kancha (Sanjay Dutt), Vijay finds himself devoid of any of his father’s teachings as he promises to take revenge. His family moves to Mumbai where he is taken under the wing of one Rauf Lala (Rishi Kapoor). Over time, he grows to become a man who is eager to get revenge but not through Lala; solo. He schemes to take down his godfather’s family and reign as he moves to the top only to kill Kancha. In between, he seeks solace in the arms of his childhood friend, Kaali (Priyanka Chopra) who supports, marries and loves him to death.

Agneepath in 2012 is the 1990 version, only refined. It has every component of a nineties film—revenge, love, action. It puts you in a modern time capsule for three hours as it correctly attacks every emotion which makes the average Indian viewer tear via the mother-son discord and love story.

As a film, Agneepath is fabulously executed and filmed. You are pulled into a world which is filled with love and hate, retribution and justice, chaos and peace. Every scene of the film is shot beautifully, be it the chawls and slums of Mumbai or the island of Mandwa. Karan Malhotra’s vision and implementation of the film and stars too, is impeccable. His version of Agneepath is original and yet pays great respect to the Amitabh version. But what comes across very clearly is how he has cleverly adapted his film to the current rage of over-the-top melodrama films with the dialogues and action sequences. Look beyond the superficial surface, and Agneepath is filled with great nuances too. The reference to the Ramayana comes across instantly as Mandwa is painted a dark hell, Mumbai is bright, filled with life and love followed by the good over evil track. Malhotra knows this well and is definitely an aficionado the masala genre.

Agneepath belongs to Hrithik Roshan. We often connote great acting with dialogues and drama. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, Hrithik speaks perhaps all of three pages of the script. However, his acting comes through the flaring of his nostrils, his blood shot teared eyes, his intensity, his body language and yes, through his delivery of the character. Add to that how that he is still as hot as they get, and boom, he wins with Agneepath. There is no long hauled dialogue for him neither is his drunk scene one that will go down in history but you will walk out of the cinema calling Agneepath one of his best performances ever. There is also, no mimicking of Bachchan Senior. This is his interpretation of the character.

And then there is Rishi Kapoor who scores as Rauf Lala. He works the evil into the character so darn well. A phenomenal performance. Sanjay Dutt is flawless as Kancha. He’s ugly, dark, grey and dirty just as you would expect him to be. He takes the cake when it comes to dialogues in the film and works Kancha into a great villain. Om Puri is as usual awesome and deserves a mention because he is rarely appreciated. Priyanka Chopra is apt but hams slightly in her small role which in my opinion could have been played by any other small actress. However, marketing works well in Bollywood. By adding Chopra to the film, the star power of the film increases.

So where does the film falter? Tomato ketchup. The gore and blood flows from beginning to end which makes you wonder how much ketchup was used. While the film excels in the first half, it falls a tad bit in the second; at some points it seems hurried. The music is also a letdown. Yes, Chikni Chameli is fantabulous as well as the Ganesh number. The rest is average minus the background music which is haunting but loud. And then there is the length—it’s too freakin’ long. Too long. So much so that it’s slightly exhausting.

In the end, Agneepath is a good watch because of Roshan. He packs a punch and works it. In fact, you almost cannot imagine anyone else playing Chauhan in this version of the film. I have to hand it to KJo, whom I normally hate on, with this one, he's redeemed himself. But only slightly. Agneepath is the old stuff in new fancy glossy packaging. This, guys and dolls, is exactly how you do a remake.

Footnote: Here's the deal for 2012. Films that are wicked, will get a Pura Review while the useless ones will get a mere 100 Word Review. Fair, na? 

1 comment:

Rachit said...

haven't watched the movie yet.. halls were packed to fullest.. but after reading your narration it seems Agni will keep me busy next weekend.

Weakest LINK


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